I’ve had this thought bouncing around in my head that came out of a client visit/strategy session… a visualization of the traditional recruitment funnel in terms of the social web. This is what I came up with.
(Click Photo to Enlarge)
*NOTE* – This chart is by no means inclusive of all sites or tools available. This chart is meant as a visualization of strategy to help you think about a framework for your recruitment efforts. This chart is meant to be thought about, modified to fit, and executed as resources are available.
The Social Web Recruitment Funnel
The Funnel resembles a traditional recruitment funnel (suspects -> prospects -> applicants -> admits -> enrolled), and is designed to dissect 3 areas of recruitment: Seek, Engage and Retain.
The students are not always going to look for you. Traditional methods such as name buys, print and email still hold a place in your marketing/recruitment arsenal. But take a good look at web-based tools and sites, for example: Zinch, CollegeBoard and Cappex. Facebook might also be a method of seeking potential applicants and this platform can be leveraged as a great place for prospective student Q&A. Use email and print to reinforce your message and to drive students to your social web efforts. Your .edu website is still important and things such as ‘Get more info’ need to be prominent and easy to find/fill out.
This is where it gets fun. Build your social web presence to start engaging and interacting with these prospective students. Think outside of the box. Never before have we had access to so many opportunities to connect and utilize free tools, but approach with caution and don’t overwhelm your audience. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s easier to make your web presence bigger. It’s much harder to shrink your web presence and cut connections and friendships with others on a platform you decide to no longer utilize or maintain. Allow them the opportunity to engage with you from the moment they show interest to the moment they step on campus.
After the applications come in, your pool has decreased significantly in size. Take the opportunity to create community with these students and allow them to interact with each other. Host the conversation or set up a Facebook group for them to interact. Promote it heavily through traditional methods such as email and print, but drive them to the conversation. If possible, scale back your efforts to a smaller collection of tools for this select group and focus on community management and getting them excited about your school and brand. Outside of the social web, continue interactions via yielding events and personal phone calls. Use the web to enhance these connections and to network the students together.
These thoughts are from the 30,000 ft. view and hundreds of other decisions and ideas would go into each effort. A well-defined strategy would incorporate many, but not all, of these social web tools. The most important thing is to know where your audience is and cater to them.
If you have any thoughts or comments, leave a message below or shoot me a message on Twitter (@bradjward).
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