Hear it from the experts: social media is the future of student recruitment

Social Media Student Recruitment

At GKP, we’ve spent the good part of a year sharing our knowledge, tips and expertise of social media marketing with you, helping you boost your institutions’ online productivity and rein in the students. Whether you’ve chosen to listen to our advice is another matter. We acknowledge you’re all pretty clued up with rising fees, student unrest and the looming uncertainty of Brexit.

But if you’ve chosen not to listen to us, then perhaps the academics are able to convince you…

A recent study suggests that universities with a strong social media presence elicit greater loyalty from current and prospective students. The study, which looked into the Facebook activity of more than 200 users of Eastern Mediterranean University Facebook page, found that a strong social media presence was related to the “identification with the university community and the university brand which in turn are related to trust and loyalty”*.  Higher loyalty was associated with an “increased contribution” from current students to the universities overall mission, thus helping to “improve the educational experience and engagement”. Therefore, supporting the proposition that social media platforms are an effective tool in student recruitment and retention. 

It doesn’t stop there. Raziye Nevzat, co-author of the study, added that universities with a strong presence on social media platforms that also provided “instant interaction” prompt greater trust and loyalty among current and prospective students.  

“Rather than being busy with telephone calls or emails, [applicants] will write to us and get an instant response,” says Ms Nevzat. “Digital natives’ attention span is about 10 to 12 seconds, if you don’t answer [quickly] they tend to click on another page. But if you answer them instantly they stay with you.”

Building on the findings, Ms Nevzat suggests that “every HEI should apply social media management to their higher administration, as part of a marketing tool or public relations”. 

We couldn’t have said it any better. 

* Nevzat, Raziye, Amca, Yilmaz, Tanova, Cem, Amca, Hasan, “Role of social media community in strengthening trust and loyalty for a university", Computers in Human Behaviour, (2016)

Gerard Kelly & Partners (GKP) is a communications consultancy specialising in education PR, social media, marketing and communications management for UK schools, universities and business.