Leveraging Social Media for Enrollment Gains

Problem: A Common Misconception

Like many colleges, this particular client’s social media strategy was guided by a common misconception: that the size of the fan base — the number of “likes” — translated to increased enrollment. In fact, the college had a healthy social media presence, but it was not attracting new students. Why? Because fans on a Facebook page have already been recruited — they tend to be current students, alumni, or prospective students who are already in the admissions funnel. Asking them to apply is like “preaching to the choir.”

Still, the administration wanted to know how they could leverage social media to build enrollment.

The Solution

We knew a thriving social media presence in and of itself would not increase enrollment, but it does present specific opportunities to reach prospective students and entice engagement. The key is to get beyond the fan base; in fact, get to your fans online friends.

Calculate approached the college with:

  • A new understanding of how social media could benefit their efforts
  • A specific strategy to expand beyond their own fan base
  • Options for targeted marketing on their most popular social media platforms that would offer conversion opportunities

Next, we:

  • Analyzed existing social media platforms to determine where the college’s ideal audience(s) spent time
  • Developed a team of content creators: staff and students to post on a regular basis. This tactic builds a rich stream of content that broadcasts multiple messages on an array of topics (academic highlights, social events, athletics, etc.) reaching farther than any one staff member could.
  • Trained the team on messaging, including:
    • Writing content that conveys the college’s unique story and selling points
    • Ways to strategically use photos and videos
    • Tactics on connecting to other relevant online conversations
    • Setting a schedule of posts

Results: The (Indirect) Power of Social Media

  • In the first 8 months, the college experienced:
    • 86% increase in average monthly engagement
    • 128% increase in average monthly new Page Likes
    • 40% increase in average monthly organic reach
  • Because of the social media team’s success, the college was able to take the time and money saved and apply it toward targeted digital marketing on the platforms where they had an expanded presence.
  • At the end of the recruitment cycle, the college reported that 37% of all applicants came through digital strategies, including social media marketing and web site engagement forms

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