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Recruiting Intelligence

EdTech Goes Collaborative: Social Learning Platforms

First Marketing Question Today: Making better decisions based on gathered and distilled information -- Isn’t that the skill education is seeking to instill in all of us as we grow and advance through life?
 
Second Marketing Question Today: To whom do you turn for help with important decisions? Put another way, who are your influencers?
 
Main Message Today: You don't want to be that institution that gets the comment, "Huh! We don't have that," when all the students are home on break.
 
After recognizing the opportunities in EdTech, Unibuddy has grabbed the reigns and created a program that allows current students to discuss the merits of their universities with prospective students. The benefit: students in the college-seeking process are able to authentically hear the pros and cons of different universities from their peers and are able to make an informed decision.
 
Peer-to-peer support is an essential part of the human experience. Peers, colleagues and mentors
provide support in many forms today and it is increasingly digital. Sure, the shared cup of coffee and conversation at a table in some quiet corner has its draw and advantages. But really, digital has taken over the advice department.
 
In our continuing series exploring EdTech, we are looking into social learning platforms
and how they are providing your students (and you) with new ways to move forward. It is the power of collective wisdom.
 
This is going to be good!
 
We touched on these highly-visible resources in this blog in March, discussing learning
management systems (LMS) and social learning platforms.
 
We’re pretty confident you’ve already checked in on at least one social media platform today before even reading this. As you know, your students are spending their days Snapchatting, Instagraming, WhatsApping, WeChatting, (and some even Facebooking! - they might admit that one grudgingly ; -), in an effort to stay connected. Most of their interactions on their device of choice is peer-to-peer. Social learning platforms provide the same type of connection, but the focus is on students, teachers, parents, and alumni interacting to learn, collaborate and get creative with a goal in mind...less mindless, more directed.
 
What’s all this mean to you and your institution? What does it mean for student recruitment and student retention? (Read on...)
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#NewDigitalTools: Will the TikTok Craze Continue?

Remember Farmville? This one game grew to $200M USD in revenue! Now, not so much.

Remember Google Vine as short-form video? Kinda faded away with the advent of Instagram video.

So now, we consider TikTok and wonder, how long will this one last? This one is sophisticated and is already valued at more than $1B USD. This new marketing channel is powerful as long as you have the creative talent to use it.

The rule is: creative content rules. Period.

And the reason we are talking about it is that your target audience is spending a bunch of time there right now. The image above is captured from my 17-year-old niece's TikTok account. She is a content creator there and she and her friends have a great deal of fun (and spend way too much time) in and on TikTok. 

So, about TikTok...in May, we wrote about the growth of Chinese EdTech and what opportunities that presented. As of last year, Chinese startups received over 50 percent of all global capital invested in EdTech. This year, of the top six EdTech unicorns—private companies worth more than $1 billion—all but one was Chinese.

With the largest population in the world, China is automatically the greatest educational market. With a population of over 1.4 billion, there’s a market of more than 283 million students. With 17 million new babies born a year in China, this pattern isn’t slowing down.

Outside of the educational realm, tech is still booming in China, and one platform from China is now the most valuable startup in the world. What might this have to do with connecting you to those potential students in China—or anywhere for that matter?

Read on…

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Engaging Parents of International Students on Social Media

In many countries where you are currently recruiting, parents and families are an important part of the study abroad decision-making process. In some European and Asian countries, parents play an especially vital role in helping their children decide where to study - especially at the boarding high school and undergraduate levels. And they play a pretty influential role at the graduate level as well (though the students would have you believe otherwise).

Though it may be a bit more challenging to reach parents with your marketing, this influencing audience is so important. Facebook, live chats and online forums are great places to engage parents and bring them into the decision-making process. Of course, China needs a different approach. China always needs a different approach!

Bottom Line: We discuss segmentation a lot. By demographics, geographics, programs of interest. Academic marketers segment their student audience in many ways. Parents are another segment of your overall recruiting plan that you should be considering. They need specific messaging about safety, quality of academic programs, job prospects (outcomes) and other factors when deciding to send their child abroad. And, Pro Tip 1: they like institutions that are close to large international airports with major metropolis shopping nearby. Pro Tip 2: local language (nuf said!).

Finding online communities where parents are active is a great way to make sure your influential messaging gets to them.

Meet us in D.C.! Intead is off again to AIEA in Washington, D.C., next week from February 20-22. We’ll be participating in a presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 5pm: Harnessing Language Schools as University Pathways. Niagra University and Salem State University will share their plans to take their language instruction programs to the next level and we will offer our perspective on how to align global marketing plans with language program recruiting efforts. We would love a chance to speak with you one-on-one! Let us know if you will be there.

Read on for tips on how to engage international parents online...

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WhatsApp and Facebook Rule When Connecting with Kuwait

Can you imagine a country where the number of expatriates outnumbers the total number of nationals?

In Kuwait around 69% of the population is made up of expats and English-speaking schools are widespread. There are many opportunities for recruiting here; both international students and Kuwaiti nationals. And with the 6th largest oil reserves in the world, Kuwait is also among the top 5 wealthiest countries in the world by GDP per capita–meaning families have the funds to finance an education abroad.

Bottom Line: Kuwait is a small, oil-rich country with a diverse and interesting population. International education is a norm for the many wealthy families. Students and families in Kuwait are accustomed to international education systems and have financial support.

To account for the expanding expat population, the number of English-speaking schools is impressive. ExpatArrivals lists 11 international schools in this small country, and they are a great place to focus your recruiting efforts (see link below). There is also considerable governmental support for Kuwait nationals to study outside the country. Against this backdrop 9,034 students studied in the United States in the 2014/2015 school year, according to IIE Open Doors Data. In terms of digital marketing channels, WhatsApp and Facebook are where it is at in Kuwait.

Meet Us in Newport & Miami: We are at NAFSA Region XI in Newport, RI today! Our presentation at 1:30PM in the Vanderbilt Room is all about de-mystifying global digital marketing–stop by and say hello! (Slides available next week). We'll also be in Miami this December at the AIRC and ICEF conferences with global digital marketing presentations and workshops. Please be in touch if you'll be at any of these events.

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5 Ways Your Current International Students Can Help You Recruit

Did you know that, even in the digital age, the most effective marketing strategies for universities involve direct interaction with prospective students? In 2014, Hanover Research released results of a survey that showed just that. This is big news! Why? Because even with all the online and print promotion that you are doing, one-on-one connections still drive recruitment! And not only that, they really work.

Now you’re probably thinking--that one-on-one contact is really a lot of work and hard to scale! We get that. Reaching out to students one by one can take a lot of time and effort. But remember all of those international students you worked so hard to recruit and admit to your school? Hanover Research suggests “mobilizing alumni networks and current students to become your brand ambassadors.” This is just one approach to maximizing your student recruitment opportunities.

Bottom Line

You have a wealth of knowledge about and great connections with your target populations right at your fingertips. Are you wondering how you can start utilizing your resources? We’re going to introduce you to 5 ways you can use your new institutional ambassadors to spread the word about your institution, get their network talking and keep prospective international students engaged. We're certain there is someone on your staff who would value this post, so share away!

Special note: Intead is once again honored to present our latest insights at the NAFSA Region XI Conference (Newport, RI, October 18-20). Our session, A Mystery No More: Successfully Engaging Students in China and Beyond, will reveal the results of our international student mystery shopping experiments of your peer institutions. Best practices, with a focus on digital marketing, will be explained for prospective international students from initial contact through enrollment. We'll place special emphasis on social media factors that affect student recruitment in China. We would love to meet you and see if our experience can help you address the challenges you’re currently facing. 

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Snap Up Potential Recruits with Snapchat

By now we all know that teenagers come with phones permanently in the palms of their hands. They snap, chat and app like it’s their job. In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed mobile messaging usage among young people before, and the numbers are impressive. If you haven’t already, it’s time to give in to the trend because more and more social messaging apps are popping up all the time. Snapchat, the free picture and message app, although not new to young people, is starting to shape its platform to allow business and universities to reap the benefits of this app.

Pro-tip: We hope you are sharing this post with your social media team. Don't let all these great ideas and resources fade like some 10-second Snap.

Universities are starting to use Snapchat more and more to reach current and potential students alike. But is adding another social media app to your list to manage really worth it? Well, four hundred million pictures, or snaps, are shared every day via Snapchat. Yep, 400 million. And, if you think that sounds surprising, how about this? That number is larger than the number of images shared via both Instagram and Facebook. Estimates even show that the combination of images shared on Instagram (approx. 50 million) and Facebook (approx. 350 million) is about the same as those shared on Snapchat. Thinking maybe it’s time to consider using this app to get in touch with students? We do, and we’ll tell you why.

Bottom Line: According to Pew Research Center, half of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 use messaging apps. Snapchat is among the most important of these apps for student recruiting. It has around 100 million active daily users and the majority (71%) of these users are below the age of 25. Universities are using it for various purposes and share mostly positive responses. Below we can give  some specific examples of universities doing this well. If more direct engagement with your potential students is your goal, Snapchat may be the answer. 

You can find more information about messaging apps on our Virtual Communities Messaging Applications worksheet. For now, let’s dive into Snapchat and find out why “snapchatting” is a verb that might be on its way into Webster's Dictionary. Well, at least if young people have anything to say about it.

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Compelling Content for International Recruitment

Have we talked enough about telling compelling stories lately? If we haven’t, here is a friendly reminder. Compelling content is key to engaging your target audience. And as a university, your target audience happens to have some of the most tech-savvy people on the Internet today…and not because of their technical training, simply because of their age. Seems like they were all born with a cell phone in hand.

What we’re saying is, your prospective domestic and international students spend a lot of time online and on social media. They visit university pages to find out more information about academics and programs, and they visit universities’ social media pages to learn more about the culture, campus, the surrounding area and student life.

They want to know, “Will I fit in here?” and then they go online thinking, “Let’s see what their social media feeds look like.”

Here’s the Pro Tip: When they check out your social media, there better be some compelling videos: Inspiring. Clever. Goofy. Engaging. Convincing.

Let’s check in with Emily who found some excellent (totally worth the click) examples to point us in the right direction. Congratulations to both of our winners: two more universities have won the coveted Intead Award for Creative Engagement. 
(Framable certificates are on their way!)

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Are Saudi Students Key to Your Recruitment Goals?

How many mobile devices do you have? You got your cell phone, your tablet… Turns out in Saudi Arabia, a heck of a lot of people have more than one mobile device, too. We Are Social reports that the number of mobile subscriptions as a percent of total population = 173%.

Yes, More mobile subscriptions than there are people! So, we’ll ask you again, as we have in so many of our posts, is your international student recruitment content mobile friendly?

Let’s get to the point of this post: Saudi student recruitment. In the last few years, students from Saudi Arabia have certainly left their mark on international higher education. With the growth of government sponsored scholarship programs, such as the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program (KASP), the number of students from Saudi Arabia studying in the U.S. for the 2014/2015 school year jumped to just about 60,000. That's an 11.2% increase from the previous year, according to the International Institute of Education (IIE). With numbers like these, you should be paying close attention to this market.

And most of you are. Paying attention that is. In our conversations with our colleagues at many institutions, we hear concern. A strong reliance on Saudi Arabian students to help meet recruitment targets might be leaving institutions vulnerable. Not unlike the reliance many schools have on Chinese or Korean students. When the political or economic winds blow, it affects a significant swath of your international student population.

You are not alone in this vulnerability. So we asked Emily, our international blogger, to dig into the international student recruitment scene in the land of Saud and let us know where and how to focus our recruitment efforts. As usual, she did a great job and found some really interesting research.

BOTTOM LINE: Potential changes being enforced by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM), are affecting how many Saudi students are studying abroad and the funding available. However, many Saudi students are able to pay their way, independently. When recruiting in this particular market, it will be essential to brush up on your Saudi cultural knowledge and reach out to prospective students online. Mobile phone apps, YouTube content and targeted landing pages will put you ahead of the competition and help you meet your recruitment goals. There's a lot of information in this post, read on...

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Creative, Personalized, Digital Marketing, Because: Sharing

 

With digital content as the driving force behind international student recruiting, it is essential to be innovative with your content strategy. Certainly, there are challenges to this. There always seem to be new tools, digital platforms and social media options available. How to keep up?

Well, at Intead, all of this stuff is critical to our work; it's far too important to us to fall behind. That is, in part, why we write and share this blog. We all need to stay current.

So for those without the time for the amazing link at the end of this blog…

Bottom Line: Capture their interest and lead them to the deeper decision making content. This is creative digital marketing’s mantra. What do most universities do? Lead with boring emails and web pages that offer the deeper decision making content. And that makes you just one of many out there doing the same, tired thing. If all the options look the same, mostly students just hit delete.

In this weeks blog, Emily tells us why that is doubly awful. Because: sharing.

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LinkedIn University Finder: Advantage For Lesser Known Schools

In last week's post, we gave you an international student's user perspective of LinkedIn’s University Finder tool (thank you for all the positive feedback by the way). 

For those of you wanting more digital marketing perspective... Join us in Miami at the ICEF pre-conference Global Marketing Seminar for Education Institutions. We hope to see you there.

This week, we check back in with our international marine engineer, Steven, to see what is driving his decisions about graduate study. Steven is looking for international and US universities with a master’s program in engineering and project management. His LinkedIn search yielded an intriguing list of institutions. In this post, we share Steven’s thoughts on the functionality of the tool and the effectiveness of the universities’ LinkedIn pages that he visited.

Bottom Line: International students seeking to study abroad have far too many choices and need tools like LinkedIn to narrow the field and focus their decision making. Your institution needs to be represented well here to take advantage of the free marketing LinkedIn is providing. Little known universities stand to gain the most.

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