Lately I have been approached and in contact with numerous universities that are seeking help in their recruitment endeavours. They say that their ads, brochures and pamphlets aren’t working anymore, they want to start using “social media” as part of their recruitment efforts.
What do I say to this? Social media is not just another tool for your campaign!
Social media is something that should be a permanent part of your product (or your organization). In the case of universities, it should be integrated into the student experience (e.g. podcasts of lectures, social networks for students, wiki use for group projects, mandatory “social media” professional development for professors, etc…). I refuse to encourage my clients to use social media as part of their promotional efforts if social media is not an inherent part of their organization first. Good marketers think of 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotion). Too many self-proclaimed marketers ignore the “Product” element and their “Promotion” efforts are fruitless as a result.
Have a look a this TV ad from Kaplan University. It is the first university ad I have seen that directly responds to Michael Wesch’s incredible A Vision of Students TodayÂ video. Judging from the YouTube comments, most people seem to agree. Now my question is, does Kaplan practice what it preaches? If it doesn’t, this ad will likely see a tremendous backlash, if it does (preliminary feedback from students indicates this is the case), then this may go down as the turning point in university recruitment messaging. What are your thoughts?