Monthly Archives: March 2012

March 27, 2012

Colleges Interest in Pinterest

Pinterest’s popularity is skyrocketing.  According to comScore, the interest in Pinterest has helped it hit more unique monthly views faster than any standalone site.  The latest news from Ben Silbermann, the CEO of Pinterest, is that there will be redesigned profile pages and a new iPad app coming out in the near future.  With the amount of interest that is going on around Pinterest, it is no wonder why some universities and businesses are creating virtual bulletin boards for their brands.

A variety of colleges and specific departments in colleges are creating Pinterest boards to raise awareness about their school and show what it has to offer.  The most talked about college to use Pinterest is Drake University, who currently has over 1,200 followers and 400 pins.  They have a variety of boards with pins of their adorable bulldog mascot and other boards that creatively showcase their school’s studying abroad and alumni office.

Interest in PinterestDo you think schools should take the time and resources to create Pinterest boards?  If they can creatively represent their school, then I say go for it.  It is an opportunity for schools to show off the different aspects of their school that makes them unique. Pinterest can be used as an outlet for prospective students. Students can become aware of various school campuses and cultures quickly without spending the time and money to visit every campus.  There has been a disparity in opinions about whether colleges are wasting resources on Pinterest. It is definitely a possibility when Pinterest could just be a short-lived fad. Then again, it might be worth spending just ten minutes every day if it could raise awareness about your school. If the school is still overwhelmed with using Twitter and Facebook, then it probably isn’t the best idea to throw in another social media for the staff to learn and master.

Do you know of any colleges that have creative Pinterest boards besides Drake University? Leave them in the comments section below!

March 13, 2012

Colleges Using Facebook for Admissions

What do you think about universities and colleges using Facebook to search for an applicant during the admissions process?  What about checking their social media pages, or even further, going through their pictures, posts and personal information?  There is definitely a blurry line on what is acceptable and what is not for applicants and admissions officers.  After asking a variety of college students about the matter, I found the majority of responses were unpleased with the decision.  Many felt that their privacy was being violated, especially when the school did not ask permission to look at their pages. Almost everyone agreed that their Facebook or Twitter pages did not do an accurate job of portraying who they actually are, especially when there are pictures and posts from when they were younger.  However, there were a few students that I questioned that liked the idea, because they felt that their social media pages showed more about them then their GPA, transcript, or test scores could.

After a popular article about colleges and employers accessing applicants’ Facebook pages was published on the MSNBC’s Red Tape Chronicles, there was nearly 2,000 tweets about the subject, many in outrage. One of the top tweets about this article was from Dan Gillmor, the founding director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University.

According to a 2011 survey from Kaplan Test Prep, it asked 359 admissions officers from top colleges about their usage of social media in the admissions process.  Nearly 20% reported that they used Google to search for their applicants and 24% went onto the applicant’s social networking pages. Looking back at a WSJ survey from 2008, only 10% of admissions looked at an applicant’s social networking sites, which means the percentage has doubled within the past three years.  These percentages should have applicants concerned enough to contemplate what they post on the web, especially since 12% of admissions officers admitted that after searching and reviewing the applicant on the internet, it had negatively affected their chance of admission. Furthermore, US News accounted that some admissions officers would like to search online about applicants, but they just do not have the staff or time to do this. This could a big indication that the number of admissions officers looking at social media is definitely increasing, and it will most likely continue to do so.

Why else should students worry about their social media pages?

Scholarships – According to a recent Fastweb and NSPA survey, nearly a quarter of scholarship providers use the internet and social media to learn more about applicants. What is an even scarier statistic? A third of the providers have denied someone from receiving a scholarship because of the information that they found.

Jobs – A whopping 91% of employers use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to evaluate candidates.

Recruiters – Students may miss out on a huge opportunity at a job, college, or sports team simply because the recruiter did not like what they found on the student’s social media.

Sports – Many college coaches monitor their athlete’s social media pages.  If an athlete posts something offensive to the team or university, they could either be banned from using the social media outlet or even kicked off the team.

What do you think about colleges using social media in the admissions process?

Edit: Wednesday, March 27 – The House of Representatives have ruled against the proposed Facebook user protection amendment, which would have stopped employers from asking for an applicant’s username and password.  There will be no amendment added onto the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012.

March 8, 2012

Facebook Apps in Higher Education

Facebook currently has over 800 million active users making it a dynamic social media outlet that can be a really unique resource for your school’s marketing campaign.  Regardless of whether your part of the admissions department or the business faculty, you can build lasting relationships with prospective and current students if you construct your social media properly and utilize facebook apps in higher education.

Facebook Apps in Higher EducationEvery month, more than 500 million people use an application on Facebook.  Facebook applications are a simple, cheap, and effective way that schools can truly connect with their audience though a high traffic medium.  An application allows you to integrate the Facebook experience with your school and generate more traffic to your page.  This is also an excellent way to advertise and raise awareness of your school’s brand through newsfeeds and user updates.  Engagement and interaction with students and alumni through Facebook is an extremely valuable way to market because it will enable you to reward your fans, with even possibly just a coupon or sweepstake to the local book store.  Another huge benefit is that it allows you to collect names, location, and information about the potential students that view your Facebook page.  Powerful and engaging applications can place your school’s brand in a specific light and give you the competitive edge.

There are many types of applications that you can build into your Facebook page.  A contest is one of the most popular Facebook applications for a school right now, along with being my personal favorite.  It allows students to get creative and share their stories with other students that are interested or a part of your school.  To further convince you that Facebook contests should definitely be a part of your marketing strategy, view Mashable’s article from 2011.

To create an application, you must have some experience in programming algorithms, logic, and building all of the back end functionality, so that the application looks the way that you want it on the front end.  If your school wants to create a Facebook application, check out the customized applications that ZAP Solutions can do for your school.