The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Driving Enrollment Through Social Media

How can you drive enrollment with social media? Seth Odell from Southern New Hampshire University held a session at #casesmc last month that focused on this question. Following Florencia Prada’s blog post on CASE SMC, I’d like to provide you with a handful of key takeaways from this session.

SHNU stories

For those of you who want to read the notes from the entire session, take a look at the blog recap by Mallory Wood from MStoner’s crew. Also make sure to check out SNHU stories for an interactive map with student testimonials that they use for promoting the university to potential students.

Here are four key takeaways from the session:

Use social media to convert those prospective students who are already considering studying at your university.

Those students who are already considering your school are more likely to apply. It’s very hard to generate leads through social media, meaning being able to attract students who have no intention to consider your university in the first place. Instead, focus on those who are already interested in your school and use social media to turn them into applicants.

Don’t be afraid to scrap certain activities to focus on what really matters.

Seth and his team looked at the most effective channels and gave up channels that didn’t perform as well. For them this meant concentrating on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and to give up Pinterest for example. If you decide to go that route, keep in mind that it is a good idea to keep the accounts on standy-by to reserve your brand name.

Involve current students to assist potential students.
Seth identified a team of current students to help with requests from prospective students. They answer questions and address concerns, mainly through Facebook. In addition to providing first hand information, it also helps new students to connect with current students on Facebook. Research on SNHU has shown that many students drop out because of social issues (not being able to integrate into social life).

Actively reach out to students on social media and turn them into brand advocates.  It matters more what others say about you, than what you say about yourself.

Embrace this principle and identify students or alumni on Twitter and engage with them. Focus on those with a large follower base!

What you post on Facebook probably won’t change a student’s experience, but how you react to what they post, can!

People are more likely to interact if you talk about something that they care about. Coming up with content that matters for people can sometimes be a challenge. While you can’t get around this, you have the unique opportunity to weigh in when someone addresses you with a concern, question, or a remark. Don’t miss this opportunity and make sure that you react to your community’s posts!

Useful links

Conference slides by session (CASE)
Blog Recaps by MStoner’s crew onEDUniverse.org
CASE’s own Storify about CASE SMC13