Many schools possess the idea that if they have a mere presence on a social network like Facebook or an account on Twitter it means that they are truly employing the power of social media to help them recruit students. Unfortunately it isn’t that easy.
I always talk about this idea of the internet being a giant conversation. People are adding to the conversation in many ways whether it’s updating a Facebook status, commenting on a photo or blog, uploading a video to YouTube and so on. The trick to being successful in this medium is to listen to those whom you find informative and interesting while attracting your target audience to want to listen to you!
Let me provide an example of how participating in the conversation on the web can help you be heard by your target audience!
On goSwoop we provide colleges and universities as well as students profiles. These profiles however act very similarly to the typical College Board profile for schools or the common college application for students. So having a dynamic profile isn’t enough to reap the rewards from goSwoop. The answer is all of the other tools for conversation that colleges and universities can utilize to be heard by prospective international students.
Let’s look at this from the college and university standpoint. A school can update their profile on goSwoop to present all the information prospective international students need to know in order to get into their college, but how effective is that? A student has to sift through all the noise on goSwoop to find that information on the school’s profile and then take the time to read and review all the information provided by the school.
So the question is… What should schools be doing to break through the noise and be heard by all these prospective students starving for information on studying in the US? Voice your opinion in the conversation!
We have a section on goSwoop called the Q&A. Students can pose questions that anyone in the goSwoop community can answer. Schools have told me why would they bother answering questions on goSwoop’s Q&A when we are already answering students’ questions via e-mail?
The simple answer to this question is that the traditional ways in which schools are answering questions is in a one on one conversation and not in the more effective one to many conversation they could be having. By answering students in an environment such as goSwoop’s Q&A, it allows more students to listen to what the school is saying. Think of it this way…
When you are presenting a seminar to a group of 100 students and one student stands up to ask a question, yes, you are specifically answering that student’s question but everyone else in the room is also listening and learning the information you are providing. Now imagine you were one on one with that same student in your office and the student asks you the same question. By not being in that seminar answering the students question you miss out on having the other 99 students hearing the information you are providing.
Think of forums like goSwoop as seminars. Not only are many students listening to all of the answers you are providing when you participate in these ‘small’ conversations but you are cutting through all the noise and making it easier for students to find you. For example, take a look at what it looks like when a school answers a question on goSwoop.
Every time a school answers a question on goSwoop, no matter how long or short the answer, students first see that (in this case) Roger Williams University and Saint Mary’s College of California are potential schools to study at in the US but they can click on the school’s name to be linked back to the school’s profile where they can learn more about the school.
By participating in the conversation, colleges and universities are creating more exposure for themselves and also generating more opportunities to drive student traffic to the pages that can ultimately create the most value for the school (your website).
So ask yourself… How well is my school being heard by prospective international students? Am I an active voice in the conversations of prospective international students?
If your not, don’t be shy, jump in, we would love to hear from you!