Most schools are by now engaging in some form of social media. Others still remain skeptical of how effective tweeting and pinning actually is for the bottom line. We examine the issue.
Social Media Game Changer
Calculating an exact ROI with social media is a fuzzy issue. But a new study on social media in higher ed came out this week that has received a lot of attention. The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research has been analyzing social media trends at US universities and colleges since 2007. Their latest study revealed the following statistics:
- Schools report 33% less spent on printing, 24% less spent on newspaper ads and 17% less spent on radio and TV ads.
- 92% of undergraduate admissions officers agree that social media is worth the investment they make in it and 86% plan to increase their investment in social media in the next year.
- The most useful tools for recruiting undergraduates include Facebook (94%), YouTube (81%), Twitter (69%) and Downloadable Mobile Apps (51%).
- 78% report that these tools have changed the way they recruit.
Bottom line: Admissions directors report that social media is more efficient than traditional media and schools are planning to increase investments in social media initiatives.
Case Study: Southwestern College
A recent article in the Huffington Post describes how social media has reaped immense rewards for one small American college. Once skeptical of all things digital, Dr. James Michael Nolan now calls social media an enormously powerful, relevant, and serious tool for success in higher education. He explains how social media enables his small institution to compete with bigger schools when it comes to recruiting students. Social media is credited for breaking every enrollment record this year and Nolan calls it the biggest paradigm shift in his lifetime.
“Prospective students now show up routinely, saying ‘I feel like I know you guys already from your videos and blogs and Facebook page … I’ve been following you for months…’”