Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research recently completed its annual study on the usage of social media by US colleges and universities. A proportional sample of schools in all 50 states are included and with public (28%) and private institutions (72%) ranging in size from 4 to over 54,000 undergraduates. Tuition (without fees) ranged from $1,700 to over $53,000.
In this latest study, 100% of colleges and universities studied are using some form of social media.
- Facebook is the most common form of social networking being used with 98% of colleges and universities reporting having a Facebook page (up from 87% last year).
- Eighty-four percent have a school Twitter account (up from 59%) and 66% have a blog (up from 51%). Podcasting has risen from 22% to 41% in just one year.
- Admissions professionals are flocking to LinkedIn with 47% on the professional networking site, up from 16% last year.
- Foursquare and You Tube were included in the study for the first time and are being used by 20% and 86% respectively.
- The use of message boards and video blogging have remained at approximately the same level as last year (37% and 47% respectively).
Blogging continues to be embraced by colleges and universities. While other sectors are reporting a leveling off of blogging (i.e., Fortune 500, Forbes Top Charities) higher ed adoption has grown significantly in the past year.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogging and podcasting are the tools of choice for US institutions of higher education. All of them have realized double-digit increases in adoption in the past year. Video continues to be strong with 41% using it. YouTube made its first appearance in this new study and debuted at 86% using the relatively new tools. It is interesting to note that podcasting now highlights faculty, students, lecture series etc. to create the experience of being on their campus. Even relatively new tools such as the location based Foursquare are being utilized by 20% of the schools studied in an attempt to bring prospective students to the campus.
If you look are your alma mater and other schools to see how they’re doing social media, you’ll find a varierty of blogs from students and faculty, interactive maps with embedded video, easy links for Facebook, and RSS feeds. Some even have interactive ‘how to find your major’ tools. Prospective students can now access all of the college’s information and tools from their smart phones.
The question for the college marketing team is: Are you thinking enough about how all this social media activity ties into recruitment and development activities, or are you just doing it becasue everybody else is?
Social media is an essential piece of the inbound marketing process. Used effectively, it can be tracked and measured to determine ROI. It can increase student enrollment and college funding. Are you using social media effectively to garner interest in your institution from prospective students and donors?