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Internet Marketing and Web Development in Higher Education and other tidbits…

Retain Students with Social Media and… Viral Emails?

24 Oct 2012

written by Kaitlyn Ytterberg

Retain Students with Social Media and… Viral Emails?

Are you looking for ways to start recruiting students for your school through social media? Attracting applicants to your college through emails and social media is bound to become an important part of your strategy if you expect to grow your enrollment in the coming years. Students are taking a more active part in the decision-making process when it comes to comparing and applying to multiple universities. As they undertake this journey, they are attentive to the schools that connect with them using the latest methods. Recruiting students for your school through social media demonstrates that you “speak their language” and offer a progressive learning environment.

Why is it so important that universities adopt innovative approaches to recruitment? It has been estimated that almost half of American college students will find themselves working in a field or at an occupation that did not exist when those same students were high school freshmen. The rapid advance of technology has created a situation where new skills will be necessary for virtually everyone who hopes to succeed in the global economy. Attracting applicants to your college through emails and social media shows that you have a fast-paced learning environment that can truly help students become prepared for the challenges of the future.

Some Uses of Social Media for Enticing and Recruiting the Students You Want

1) Create Social Media Pages for Departments

Each college and each department within your university should have a dedicated manager for the dissemination of social media messages. Social media needs to be used frequently to avoid the appearance of being “stale” — as a result, it’s important to have someone who is always thinking socially and keeping information updated. That person should be capable of committing to social media exchanges and conversations with students who ask questions through Twitter, Facebook, and so on.

2) Give Courses a Social Media Presence

Many professors are already used to maintaining basic online sites for their courses. These course pages typically include a syllabus, recommended reading, and some information on the professor. However, much more can be done. Creating a dynamic social media dialogue through a course page could mean asking trivia questions, hinting at the contents of upcoming quizzes, or sharing other resources and news pertinent to the subject of the class. This can also save time during the class period.

3) Build Your Brand Through Dynamic Thinking

Your social media effort can strike a balance between prospective and current students. Both types of student appreciate the opportunity to be involved with an institution where they can speak up and be heard. Many different campus organizations can benefit from social media. Your study-abroad office can use it to acquaint students with life in other countries. Your residence halls can each have a social media page that your student activities staff can use to announce future events. In every case, it is possible to encourage feedback, awareness, and involvement by asking students what they want.

4) Consider the Power of Viral Emails

“Viral” messages offer extraordinary exposure and positive press to the institutions that manage them well. A message goes “viral” when the audience it is directed to decides spontaneously that the content of the message is worth sharing. Naturally, you can encourage this by ensuring that sharing buttons for various social media sites are embedded in the message itself. However, the real key to harnessing the power of social media exposure is creating content that is directed to the needs and style of your students. Online videos are enormously popular among young people. Contests also give you a way to encourage active participation and engagement. Any of these approaches and many others will help you make sure your messages are read and shared rather than trashed.

As time goes on, social media will become more and more important to the business of student recruitment. University websites must work toward providing students with items of genuine interest to them — rendered in an authentic voice that makes use of social media, mobile technology, and other important trends for the college student of today and tomorrow [Add ‘tomorrow’ because article speaks about the future too?].

Photo Credit: Thoughts on College Student Retention by tsand

The content of this post is licensed: The post is released under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license

About the author

Kaitlyn Ytterberg

Kaitlyn Ytterberg is a writer for Officite, a leading provider of websites and online marketing for the medical community. Officite's services span from SEO and social media to reputation management, blogging and mobile websites. Learn more at

This post was written by Kaitlyn Ytterberg

  • mrwpants

    can you give an example of a successfully ‘viral’ email? We have found that very few people click on the social icons in our emails

  • amir

    Can you have any video of this.If you have then plzz share this.

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