Define your Efforts: Social Web Recruitment Funnel

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Facebook, Flickr, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Social Media, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web, YouTube, Zinch | Posted on 13-05-2009-05-2008


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.

Final Thoughts

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).

Are you ready to Ignite the Fuego and work with BlueFuego on your strategy? Contact us today.
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Buzzable: Ask your Higher Ed Questions here!

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Blogging, Campus Safety, Facebook, Higher Education, Marketing, Research, Social Media, Strategy, Technology, Thoughts, Twitter, Web, Zinch | Posted on 02-03-2009-05-2008


picture-2This weekend I noticed a new site called in the news and set up a group for Higher Ed at

How does it work?  First, you login at the top using your Twitter login credentials. Buzzable says your password is encrypted and will never be shared!

Then, go to and join the group. When you post a question here, it also posts it to your twitter account with a link to the Buzzable group.  Any responses that are made to your question from the Buzzable group are threaded as a conversation, making it extremely easy to keep track of everything being said.  You’ll likely even find new people to follow out of the 40+ who have already joined the group!

To keep track of everything being said in the Buzzable group without having to login, you can also follow @higheredbuzz, where all tweets are being aggregated.  But responding to @higheredbuzz or just responding in general won’t add your comment to the thread; you have to go through Buzzable to do that.

Click here to check out Higher Ed on Buzzable today.

NACAC08: Day 1

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Conferences, Recruitment, Social Media, Web, Zinch | Posted on 24-09-2008-05-2008


I have arrived in Seattle for NACAC08, and while I feel like I should be heading to bed soon, we’re going out to eat and then head to Safeco Field for a Mariners game.

Today was essentially travel + meeting the team and helping them set up their booth.  I also ran in to Steve Kappler who is now with ACT, and also chatted with the YouniversityTV and FireEngineRed crews.

YouniversityTV gave me a sneak peek of their new site, which they will soft launch tomorrow and go public with next week.  The facelift is a great change from the current site, although still flash based for the most part.  There will be additional features such as user generated content, submitted videos by students and schools, ratings and comments, and more.  It’ll be good.  Another site to monitor, but the more the merrier.. right? :)

Monster also announced today a revamp of  It gets a big FAIL so far from me since the comment feature is broken. NRCCUA has something up their sleeve in the admissions/high school student world as well, and I’ll share what I find out about their revamped site.

Big shout-out to Pauline from The C-Word, who I linked in this post. She’s a student at a college in the area and emailed me, so we’re going to get together and pick each other’s brains and learn more from each other.  Very excited about that.

Here are some pics from the trip so far.  To see them all, check out my Flickr group and submit yours too!

Carleton College: Come visit, on us.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Free, Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Thoughts, Zinch | Posted on 09-09-2008-05-2008


While I am still trying to get some measly gas cards to give out, Carleton College in Northfield, MN is giving away all-expenses paid trips to come visit their college.

Nancy, a high school student who contributes to the blog at, writes:

I got a small pamphlet-like letter in the mail late last week from Carleton College inviting me to enter a sort of contest where about 50 kids from under-represented groups get an all-expenses paid trip (YES, THAT INCLUDES AIR-FARE!) to spend three days on their campus. My initial reaction was: “WHATTTTT?! THIS IS AWESOME!!! *runs around house screaming*”

I think it’s safe to say that she feels special, selected, impressed, lucky, excited… you name it.

Head over to the Zinch Blog to read the rest of the blog post.

I had a chance to meet Matthew Ryan, the Associate Director of Web Communications and Development at Carleton during our flight delay after eduWeb.  They’ve got a lot of great stuff on their site, like this student-produced video about Carleton.

And I’ll leave you with one more quote from Nancy:

A piece of advice to all other colleges: If you want students to get more interested in your school, just offer them free trips! Please learn from the almighty, glorious, and benevolent Carleton College!

Try this one on your boss.

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Web, Zinch | Posted on 12-02-2008-05-2008


So I’ve been using Zinch for nearly 7 months now, but I’ve never really commented on it here for 2 reasons: Read the rest of this entry »