Tag Archives: social media

Technology and International Student Recruiting Meet-Up #3

logo_821Tech & Int’l Student Recruiting Meetup #3 was held this evening at Suffolk University and there was a lot to cover after last month’s cancellation due to heavy snow. However, April showers did not hinder the dedicated from showing up tonight.

It was great to hear from the admissions recruiter and social media specialist from Bentley University on how they are integrating social media in int’l student recruiting. Search Marketing Specialist from iProspect shared valuable insight about establishing a strategy to measure SM initiatives.  And we discussed process mapping to gain a better understanding of where prospective students and their parents are living on the web and how to engage with them more effectively with social media tools.

Thanks to everyone who came despite the rain, hope to see you all next month. Big thanks also to George Comeau and Suffolk University for providing a great location and space for us to meet.

Very much looking forward to seeing you all Monday, May 18th for Tech & Int’l Student Recruiting #4.

Links from April 6th discussion:
BlueFuego – The Web in Higher Education: What’s Different?
Stanford University YouTube Channel
SXSW Education thread on Twitter #SXSWED

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You Don’t Have to Use it Yet; Just Be Open to Social Media

I was at the Social Media Club – Boston event last night where the topic of conversation was “Change dot Gov”.  The panel included Brad Blake, the Director of New Media Strategy for the commonwealth of Massachusetts, Matt Viser, a political reporter for the Globe, Brian Reich, a consultant, author, blogger and State Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan.

While listening to the panel, I was struck by how similar the rhetoric used by State Senator  Jennifer Flanagan was to some of the admissions offices I talk to.  Senator Flanagan, while having a constituency that includes an older demographic argued that she receives enough e-mails, talks to enough people while out and about in her community and through the use of her website and blog views Social Media as yet another tool that requires too much time without providing enough benefit for her constituents.

I think her argument can transition well into the international student recruiting space.  Like Senator Flanagan some of our offices may be concentrating our recruiting efforts in countries where students don’t have the same kind of access to the internet or high bandwidth as the developed nations.  This means we don’t need to start using certain tools of social media  just yet because let’s face it, we will be wasting our time.  However this barrier to using social media by developing nations will soon be knocked down.

So how should this affect the way our offices embrace social media?  We need to stay on top of what’s available and how it works. Our prospective students are only becoming more knowledgeable digital natives meaning they have grown up using all this great Internet technology, especially web 2.0 technology.   While next year and the year after prospective students may not require you to engage them exclusively through social media there will come a time where that will be the only way to effectively recruit.

Twitter for example may in fact be the worst tool to recruit international students right now but as it’s global popularity grows, agents in developing nations will begin to pick it up, potential university partners will pick it up, prospective students and so on.  So jump on Twitter and get used to how it works.  Understand how it can be used as a viral tool.  Understand how you can meet new people and develop relationships using it.

My recommendation to admissions offices is not to worry too much about using all the tools right now but to keep up with what’s out there and more importantly how these tools work!

Photo by David Ohmer

Social Media is not a Waste of your Admissions Office’s Time

Not only is our interaction with students via social networks going to grow but the fact of the matter is that it is much more effective to interact with students via social networks and here’s why…

Many admissions recruiters have this idea that social media (web 2.0) is not a productive use of time.  One example of this is the apprehension admissions offices have of setting up a Facebook page.  Some of the offices I have spoken with feel that if they run a Facebook page they will be wasting time having to moderate slanderous comments left by visitors or even have to interact with more prospective students.

Rather than worrying about having to respond to all these comments positive or negative we should realize that these interactions are a great opportunity for us to reach tens, hundreds even thousands of prospective students!

Let’s imagine we are in New Delhi giving a presentation about our school to a group of 100 prospective international students.  100 students are sitting, listening attentively to how our school offers international students a life changing experience.  We talk about how our school is connected to job opportunities in various fields like, the sciences, engineering and finance.  We talk about how easy it is to get involved in the current international student community.  We talk about how many great international student events and student groups there are.

As we wrap up the presentation we ask if anyone has any questions.  One student raises their hand and asks ‘I want to know what I can do to improve my chances of being accepted to your school.  What kind of extracurricular activities do you like to see?  Which test scores do you look at closely?  What range of scores would give me the best chance of being accepted?’

As we prepare to answer this question we think if it would be easier to talk to the student one on one after the presentation or if we should answer the student right there and then?  This decision is a very important one!!!

If we decide to answer this question right there and then, 100 people get to hear our answer.  That is 99 more than if we answer the students question after the presentation!  Remember how our teachers in school would tell us not to be afraid to ask a question because 10 other people in the class probably have the same question? Well the same goes here, there are many other students with similar questions who might be afraid to ask so it is always important to answer as many questions as we can in front of as many people as we can.

So how does this relate to social media (web 2.0)?  Say on our Facebook page someone writes a comment on our wall asking the same question as above.  Or consider someone posts a comment about our school that is false and we now have to take a few minutes to share the truth.  By answering the question or the comment on our wall (not a private message or e-mail) it is as if we are answering that question in front of a large audience like in New Delhi.  Just because we are responding to one student doesn’t mean that tens, hundreds, even thousands of other students aren’t reading our answer!

Think about that for a minute.  Any time we respond to a comment left on one of our photos, videos, wall, etc. there is a possibility that there are tens, hundreds, even thousands of people who are reading what we write!

That is the power of social media (web 2.0).  Even though we aren’t aware of all the people who are reading what we write on Facebook, the effect of our communication via that medium is much more effective than writing e-mails or private messages in response to each individual student’s question or comment.

Consider this thought:

E-mail response = 1 person hearing the answer to a question

Social media response = tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people hearing the answer to a question!

Which do you prefer?

Photo by Hoong Wei Long

Social Media Jungle Boston

Today I spent my afternoon at Social Media Jungle in Waltham, Ma.  As a first timer you can never really know what you are getting yourself into when you go to one of these events, especially when the title includes the word ‘Jungle’ in it.   The title was fitting!

The morning session’s speakers included the event producer, Jeff Pulver, who spoke about the need to sometimes be vulnerable, as we learned it is not nearly as easy as it should be.  A bit later Steve Garfield spoke about ‘New Media Tools you can use to tell your story RIGHT NOW’.  I was not actually there for either of these presentations, but I was able to catch most of the conversation by tracking the #smjbos tag on my twitter feed.

I brought my Casio Exilim  ex-s10 camera along and thought I would share some of the presentations from the afternoon.

Chris Penn on the important numbers and how we should be thinking about the metrics.

FinancialAidPodcast.com

Steven Dill on “Social Media Lessons Learned: From the perspective of a skeptical Online Marketer”

Steven’s Blog

Leslie Poston on ”Bringing Generations Together For Success In The New Millennium”

Leslie’s Website

Maria Thurrell & Alexa Scordato on “Social Media: Make new friends but keep the old ones.”

Maria’s website

Alexa’s Blog

Nice head fake!  You had the audience thinking this was about friendship when all the while it was really all about marketing and what genuine human interaction  can bring to a brand.

Other speakers in the afternoon session included Matthew Mamet on Video 2.0 and Mike Lanford on “The evolution of conversation.” Overall there was a interesting mix of perspectives shared on how social media is changing the way we work and live.   There is a jungle of options to choose from when we look at the social media landscape today.  The takeaway: try many, know that not all will work for you, determine what does work and go with it!

Create Effective Recruiting Media On The Fringes

In my conversation with Paula David of Clark University, she talked about hiring a ‘Director of Wow’. Her idea is to create content that will draw some sense of shock or emotion from her target audience.

Seth Godin, marketing guru, constantly preaches the idea of creating at the fringes.  Being safe is boring, those who push the envelope are the ones who draw attention and create remarkable content.

While visiting several admissions and marketing personnel this past week there seemed to be a common theme when talking about creating rich media… If we create rich media our target audience will undoubtedly want to watch it and will be enamored with it.

While this train of thought may have worked a few years ago I am of the mind that our target audience is no longer ooh’ed and ahh’ed simply by seeing a school’s rich media content.  The fact of the matter is that we not only need to ooh and ahh our target audience, we now need them to talk about it with their friends.

So what does it take to create on the fringes?  Here is a flow chart from Wired Magazine on our typical thought process when deciding whether or not to forward an e-mail.  If you look at what it takes, just to get someone to forward an e-mail you will realize why creating rich media for the sake of having it on your school’s admissions website is a waste of your time.

Click to see full size

To find inspiration on what works, look at some of the most talked about shows on television, Family Guy, Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live.  These shows might not be the most popular but they are definitely some of the most talked about.  The material that these shows use is controversial, it isn’t safe and therefore we are more likely to remark about it.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

Saturday Night’s Wii Guys

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Hulu – Saturday Night Live: Wii Guys“, posted with vodpod

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Now you might disagree with some of the content but this is what it takes to get generation y to share with their friends.  So be creative and find shocking ways to stimulate your target audience.

Photo by Hizonic

Participation Is the Best Publicity for you College or University

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!

Photo By: Mikael Altemark

What is your Admissions Office’s Listening Strategy?

At the “Technology and International Student Recruiting” meet-up this past month, George Comeau, the managing director at Suffolk University and an educational technology management consultant talked about how at Suffolk they had developed a listening strategy.  I really liked the term listening strategy because listening is exactly what we need to do in order to effectively employ our social media initiatives.

One method in which you can begin to listen to fellow admissions offices and experts in the higher education industry is to read their blogs.  There are many great blogs being written about the subject of employing social media and here is a way in which you can begin to listen more effectively.

Google Reader, I love it!  Google Reader in a nutshell is an aggregator of blogs you subscribe to, listed in headline format so that you can easily pick and choose the ones you are interested in reading.

(TechCrunch, ‘the weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies’ selected Google Reader as the winner of the ‘Best Application or Service Award‘ at this year’s Crunchies Awards)

So for example I have a list of 15 blogs that I really enjoy to read.  Every time I open my Google Reader account all the most recent headlines from each of those blogs is presented in a nice list so that I can see which blog entry I want to read.

The great part about Google Reader is I only have to go to one location to see all of the blog entries from my favorite bloggers.  For example, today I found a very interesting entry on the GlobalHigherEd blog about the economic impact of ‘export education‘ as well as kept up on the latest from Chris Brogan and his thoughts on social media.

To get involved with Google Reader make sure you have a Google account.   Don’t worry it’s free.  If you don’t have an account simply go to http://www.google.com/reader and sign up.

RSS Feed Button

After you have your Google account go to your favorite blogs and click on the RSS feed button.  You should be asked where you want the feed to be read.  Click on the Google button and then choose, ‘add to Google Reader’ and voi la your Google Reader account has it’s first blog.

Now get out there and find blogs that you find informative about employing social media and add them to your Google Reader account.