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Which Is More Effective for Student Recruitment?

Social media is kind of a big deal these days. It seeps into pretty much all aspects of our lives, and for high schoolers, that could mean the difference in attending one university over another.

I was curious to see what the best, most-effective type of social media is for colleges and universities for student recruitment after I worked on a White Paper on the subject. So I did some research, starting with comparing Snapchat and Instagram. And the result was a resounding …

I’m not really sure which one is better.

They both have their pros and cons for student recruitment but the consensus seems to be that they — along with other types of social media — are proving very useful in recruiting potential students and keeping them engaged before, during and after they attend.

I don’t remember receiving my college acceptance. I obviously got one because I completed four years and got a bachelor’s degree from a university, but the acceptance notice itself doesn’t leave a lasting impression. I’m sure I was excited, but because it was a little before the Facebook era, I didn’t share it anywhere or take a picture to keep for posterity.

That’s not the case with today’s young people. More and more high school seniors are posting photos — usually on Instagram — of themselves with their acceptance letters from their chosen university, tagging the school and using relevant hashtags.

Snapchat has taken that idea and turned it a little more on its head. For example, in 2016, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay told students they were accepted to the school via Snapchat. They still received the physical letter, but Snapchat allowed for a faster, newer and maybe even cooler way to learn you’re going to the college you chose.

Since Instagram recently has adopted the Snapchat-like Stories, it further muddies the waters as to which one is “better.” Both are beneficial, albeit in some different ways. But the overall bonus of both is the increase in brand awareness they give the university. Both offer a look at the school that won’t be shown — isn’t able to be shown — in its viewbook or other marketing materials. They both offer a chance to see a real person at the university, not the more formal “office.”

Instagram may have a slight edge when it comes to engagement, because you can use hashtags and tag the school and interact more, while Snapchat is more useful on campus. A recent article on better illustrates the benefit of each, but the Internet as a whole seems to be inconclusive on which is better.

One thing is for sure, social media is a key part of student recruitment efforts these days and it doesn’t seem to be going away.

By Laura Hagan, Communications Specialist, Capture Higher Ed

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