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Recruiting Intelligence

Your Quick Hit Index to Worldwide Social Media

If social media isn’t part of your student recruitment strategy, then, uhm, we need to talk.

[crickets]

Ok, good! Because of course social media is part of your strategy. Now, knowing which platform(s) makes the most sense and how much to invest for which audience segment in which part of the world, that’s just a bit trickier. We’ll give you that.

A useful tool for you would be a list of the major global social channels with key user stats and other perspectives to help you scan the options and focus quickly on what matters. Funny you should ask for that…

The Intead team (with special tip of the hat to our international student interns) offer you the next in our Intead Index series: Virtual Worldwide Channels Cheat Sheet.

You’ll definitely want to download this one right now to support your team as you develop your international social media marketing plans. In a week, we will restrict access to this download to only our Intead Plus members.

Our Worldwide Social Media index provides a high-level view of the 15 most popular social media channels that boast the clearest paths for organic and paid marketing (sorry BeReal, maybe you’ll be marketing-ready for our next index).


Just about your LAST CHANCE to Come with Questions and Leave with a Plan.

If you are attending the AIRC or ICEF Conferences - here is a huge plus opportunity.  

The Intead/San Diego State University One-Day Workshop on December 13th will be a hands-on opportunity to learn from an awe-inspiring international student recruitment faculty.

  • A full day of international student recruitment strategy and execution discussion
  • Two luminary keynotes
    • Luncheon on Social Justice with Dr. Jewell Winn and Dr. Adrienne Fusek
    • Dinner on Chinese Student Influencers with Dr. Yingyi Ma and Brad Farnsworth
  • At $350 for the day (inclusive of all meals), this learning opportunity is a steal.

Join Intead Plus and your team can access this newest index and all our other Intead Index student recruitment essentials any time the need arises. Helpful as training and reference materials for your enrollment and recruiting team.

Ready to download your free copy of our Virtual Worldwide Channels index? Read on…

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Getting Started with Snapchat Marketing for Universities

In an era where most social media platforms focus on curating an aesthetic feed, Snapchat stands out. It launched in 2012 as an app where messages “self-destruct” within seconds and has since added a variety of formats and filters. The platform quickly attracted young teens.

We published tips for academic institutions to make the most of this social tool back in 2016 (we waited to see if their ad platform was going to stick around). Since then, a lot has changed. You've noticed that too, we bet ; -)

Important to note, this social channel has a history of trend setting. SnapChat developed one of the original AR (augmented reality) filters and they continue to lead in many aspects. This is their lane and universities and private high schools using the platform should keep in mind that SnapChat tends to set the trend periodically in this area. Good to watch and learn here.

Overall, Snapchat's impermanent nature nurtures casual, free-flowing conversation, making it an enticing way to connect with students. Done well, it’s your ticket to getting in on prospective students’ conversations. And that’s precisely where you want to be.

Snapchat is where you show off your culture -- the feel of your campus as opposed to the specific features (programs).

Why your institution should be on Snapchat:

  • It’s young. 59% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 24 use Snapchat.
  • It’s global. 58% of Snapchat daily active users are based outside of North America, with India, France, and the UK leading the pack.
  • It’s growing. In Q2 of 2022, Snapchat had 347 million daily active users worldwide, a 22% growth year-over-year. Almost of all of that growth has been in international users while US users have remained fairly steady.
  • It’s unique. Not many high schools or universities are using Snapchat (yet), making it a way to stand out to prospective students.
  • It’s authentic. Snapchat offers a personalized way to share content and interact with students.

Ready to snap it? If so, read on to learn how you can incorporate this popular platform into your recruitment game plan and differentiate your institution. Be where your audience is.

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Getting Started with TikTok Marketing for Ed Institutions

Marketing Rule No. 1: Be where your target demographic is. If your audience skews toward ages 16 to 24, then your audience is on TikTok. Know anyone focused on this market? We thought so.

TikTok is no longer exclusively a place for teens to post cutesy dance videos. When done correctly, this A-list short-form video platform is the perfect way for institutions to connect with prospective and current students in a format that makes sense to them. There’s a reason, after all, why TikTok is the first non-Facebook app to achieve 3 billion global downloads.

Your job: it’s all about getting the user experience right. If your university or private high school is not already on TikTok, we have to ask, why not?

Wait, we can probably answer that! Is it staffing shortages? (That's another blog post altogether).

We’ll go further out on the limb and suggest you may be struggling with developing a strategy for the platform (what behaviors are you trying to push?) and the challenge of creative execution (who has time to create all that fun stuff?). You know this already: TikTok is no place for drab, factual, instructional content.

You probably know this as well (or at least have sense of it): TikTok has 1 billion monthly active users, making it one of the fastest-growing social networks globally. It also has 50 million daily active users in the US, meaning 18.68% of Americans log into TikTok every day.

Due to its eerily intelligent algorithm pushing content onto its “For You” discovery feed (the page you see when you fire up the app), it’s easier than you may think for new viewers (aka prospective students) to discover your institution’s account. To boot, content created for TikTok can be repurposed for Instagram Reels, Twitter, and other platforms, making it a time-effective investment.

Read on to learn how your enrollment marketing team can develop and execute a savvy TikTok strategy that will get you noticed and help boost your enrollment…

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Getting Started With Building an Audience

In the higher education space, your institution is competing with so many options that prospective students have. We know that most students attend a university within 50 miles of their home while large state institutions and the elite options have a stronger draw from coast to coast and beyond.

With these realities in mind, today we consider a foundational marketing goal: building a receptive audience so you can nurture prospective students from the point of awareness and inquiry to enrollment, no matter where they reside.

To state the obvious: virtual tours and informational webinars have taken on a bigger role (fewer campus visits), so a robust and engaging digital presence has never been more important to your recruitment process. Has your team evaluated and adjusted your approach to the student journey? Meeting them where they are in each step of their decision-making process?

We’ve offered a number of educational posts on student journey mapping processes you may want to read (for reference: our recent series Tracing the Student Journey Part 1 and Part 2).

We'll be talking about these enrollment management and student recruiting approaches and so much more at #NAFSA22 in just a few weeks. Let us know if you'd like to schedule a coffee with one of our team. We are leading 4 NAFSA sessions this year and one of them received the honor of being selected for live broadcast. Watch this space for details and we hope you can join us.

For now, read on for our top recommendations on how to build an audience online.

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So That’s Your Strategy?

People look smart when they reference strategy. It elevates any discussion to greater importance as soon as the word strategy enters. Often, it gets others in the room thinking, “Right, maybe I’m not thinking about this strategically.” Followed by the thought, “What exactly would a strategic version of this discussion look like?”

The idea of strategy is often misunderstood. I fully admit, it really can be difficult. I can’t tell you how many discussions I’ve been in where people describe their tactical execution plan as the strategy. 

A simple example of why folks get confused, and I’ll use what we know best, the world of marketing: Your marketing strategy to enroll more students requires great marketing content. Content is a tactic you will employ to achieve your strategic goal. Yet, you will need a content strategy to be successful. So, content is not a tactic. It is a strategy, right? No, it is a tactic in this scenario. A tactic that needs its own strategy.

Oy vey.

Our team, of course, lives in the world of marketing strategy, planning, and execution. Today's post shares some insights into how to simplify the discussion and confirm when you are employing a strategy vs. discussing the tactical execution of any given initiative.

Read on and maybe we can shed some light on how to actually be smart in the discussion, not just look smart.

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Harnessing the Influence of Your Brand Ambassadors

Let’s start with a cool stat: Google searches for “Influencer marketing" grew 1500% in the last three years. In 2019, the term "Marketing influencer" was searched 70,000 times a month! This according to Savica Dimitrieska and Tanja Efremova in their article, “The Effectiveness of the Influencer Marketing” published through Southwest University in Bulgaria.

Think YouTubers and TikTokers – content creators who are generating significant followings and translating that work into cash as they promote various products.

The question is: can this concept work for academia?

Our answer: yes, IF you can achieve true authenticity. If not, no. Full stop.

Academic administrators around the globe may be leaving a gap in their marketing strategy: the power of an influencer, but in the case of education, we are really talking about brand ambassadors who have influence with your target audience. In our view, true influencer marketing, which is growing globally, is a risky bet for the education market. But the concept, if adapted, has merit.

What we are saying is, recognize that you are not marketing alcohol, luxury vacations, apparel, or cosmetics and adjust the concept of “influencer marketing” accordingly. If that is unclear, give us a call.

When it comes to advertising and building trust, gone are the days of faceless testimonials and promotional brochures promising the ultimate educational experience. Generation Z values the opinions of social media influencers and bases their decisions on whether people they can relate to on YouTube give it a thumbs up or down.

A note of caution: marketing today is lightning fast and fickle. Your campus can be in the limelight one second, and culture canceled the next. 

Read on for a few more relevant stats and perspective on how to make brand ambassador marketing part of your approach to student recruitment.

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Online and on LINE: Japanese Social Media Platforms

There are a lot of things at Intead that excite us: new developments in EdTech, tracking the latest student mobility trends, watching our marketing predictions come to fruition, or better yet, watching our digital campaigns for our clients convert leads into enrolled students … And, one of our absolute favorite things is hearing from you, our blog readers.

Back in 2014, we wrote a piece about Japanese social media platforms to help with your international student recruitment. Remember 2014? (sigh).  Well, recently a reader, who is a digital marketing specialist in Japan, got in touch with us about updated insights that may change how you target potential Japanese students.

Why does it matter? According to Open Doors data, Japan was the eighth leading sender of international students to the U.S. with over 18,100 students in the 2018/2019 school year. Despite a 3.5% drop from 2017/2018 year figures, the country’s appetite for study abroad experiences overall remained steady, especially for short and long-term English language studies.

The Japanese Association of Overseas Studies attributed this increased interest in language studies to the growing English proficiency requirements of Japanese companies looking to expand globally.

With appetites for English language studies on the rise, there's no time like the present to re-evaluate your Japan recruitment plans.

Read on to find out what is new in the Land of the Rising Sun and where you should be focusing your enrollment marketing efforts. Hmmm, do you think it might be digital/social?

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Measure What Matters: Build an Academic Metrics Dashboard

What are the Top 3 Metric Areas you should be tracking? Does your answer match ours?

Former CEO of HP, Carly Fiorina, once said, “the goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” This is the essence of analytics. It’s exactly why you are (or should be!) taking the time to track traffic on your website and social media engagement. It is all for that valuable insight that can introduce you to the student leads you want and help you understand their needs/motivations.

We know we might sound like a broken record but analytics are important. And we know how difficult it can be to get started. The good news is that it’s not as complicated as you think.

Come meet us in San Diego this weekend (a quick jaunt to the sun!?!) to learn more about metrics, tactics and other international student recruiting approaches from experts in the field at our upcoming International Student Recruitment Bootcamp. It is all about What Works Where.

Have you seen our speaker list? A range of experts, our conference faculty, will be on hand January 29-31. Today is the LAST DAY to take advantage of regular pricing. Spaces are limited and going fast. 

The Bottom Line: The key to successfully tracking analytics is to set up a system that is easy to use and accessible–your dashboard. Just like your car dashboard, a metrics dashboard stores all your “go-to” data in one place. This can help know how your digital marketing is performing. If you take the time to do this regularly, a big IF based on what most of us have time for, you will spend your marketing budget more wisely every year. If nothing else, your bosses will be proud of you for that ;-)

Trying to collect data without setting up a dashboard is like trying to make a recipe you’ve never made before without the ingredients list. You might know where to find one or two of the pieces of data you are looking for, but you need to know how to piece them together to make a tasty meal. Read on for our list of the Top 3 Metrics Areas we think you should be keeping tabs on. This is the kind of data we think should be on your dashboard to support your international student recruitment efforts.

Pro tip: this is one of those posts you’ll want to share with a select few others on your team.

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Chat, Snap or App Us: Connecting to International Students with Apps

In the international student recruitment landscape, we all know the importance of the Internet, digital marketing and connecting to your target audience (at least, we hope you do!). Part of the awe of the Internet is its ability to connect people from all over the world. And now, with more and more messaging apps, that connection can be fostered in real time.

In last week’s blog post, we discussed the importance of using social media as a virtual community. Determining which social media platforms are used in your target countries is important to reaching the students you want to recruit. The same is true for messaging apps, which can be an even quicker way to keep up with correspondence.

In today’s blog, Emily will share valuable information about these messaging apps (think WhatsApp, WeChat and others). And for a side-by-side comparison of these apps, download the worksheet below.

By the way—are you going to NAFSA in Denver? We will be presenting our latest research on how current global, economic and political events are impacting students’ plans to study abroad—you don’t want to miss this! And schedule a time to chat with us while you’re there!

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Are Facebook Users Really 3X Smarter Than Instagram Users?

We have another valuable digital marketing tool available to help you with your international student recruitment plans. Some of the statistics might be a little surprising on the surface. And we all know that statistics, on the surface, are not always what they seem.

For instance, did you know that based on Hootsuite user data, 74% of Facebook’s user base has some level of higher education while only 24% of Instagram’s user base claims that? Think about that for a second or two. How could that possibly be the case?

Our conclusion: Instagram users don’t feel the need to report their university level on their profiles. It’s just not that kind of platform. So while the statistic remains accurate, the story the data tells requires a bit more thought. Instagram users are not less intelligent. Seriously, some of our best friends are Instagram users. And we think they are quite smart! (Shhhh, we have to say that. They subscribe to this blog 😉).

With today’s blog, Emily used a Hootsuite report to develop a comparison of some of the global social media platforms by age of users, education level and global location among other key stats. The information is both thought provoking and helpful as you roll out your student recruitment social media/digital marketing strategy in key regions.

Be sure to tune in next week as well. We will share more information on virtual communities focusing on messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, and even SnapChat.

Meet Us in Denver @NAFSA 2016: Learn from our latest research on how current global economic and political events impact students’ plans to study abroad. Schedule a time to chat with us during the conference.

Please read on for the link to our downloadable Virtual Communities Worksheet…

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