For marketing and communications specialists focused on recruiting students to colleges and universities, social media has always been a conundrum. The meteoric rise in its use over the last decade has created an increasingly complex climate. According to the Pew Research Center for Internet, Science, and Technology, 12% of 18-29 year olds used social media networks in 2005, compared to 90% in 2015. That’s a sea change.
By now, institutions are beyond the initial shock of figuring out how to work with social media, but the exploding landscape of social networking opportunities complicates their approach. In 2011, Practical Ecommerce listed 74 major social media platforms. The list’s 2015 update includes 91 platforms. Certainly, some of these are more appropriate for higher education recruiting than others. Still, institutions must strike the difficult balance between being in tried-and-true places and finding new social media opportunities.