Colleges Recruit Students through Facebook, Social Marketing

Intelliworks, Inc., a leading provider of relationship management software for higher education, today announced the availability of Intelliworks Social Marketing, an innovative application connecting university admissions departments’ constituent relationship management (CRM) systems with prospective students on social network Facebook.

It’s no surprise that colleges are looking to Facebook, the world’s most trafficked social network, for recruitment and outreach. According to a recent Pew Internet & American Life Project study, 68 percent of full-time students and 71 percent of part-time students maintain social networking profiles. Additionally, another study conducted by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth found that 61% of college admissions offices use social networks to recruit students.

In spite of the well-chronicled adoption of social media tools by college admissions professionals, institutions face a number of challenges in communicating with prospects on social networks, including managing multiple identities/log-ins; having limited insight into past interactions; responding securely and privately to urgent student questions; and integrating their social networking activity with other marketing and relationship management initiatives.

“Intelliworks Social Marketing offers us the ability to leverage social networks in a profound way,” says Danny Bismark-Pettit, Director of Advancement and Administration at Eastern University’s School of Leadership and Development. “This tool helps us build community and relationships with our constituencies. It facilitates our integrated marketing approach by putting an exclamation point on our ability to connect social networking to CRM capability. By connecting with our students and alumni around the world, we are able now to sustain a learning community with them well beyond their years as students. Now we can connect, interact, track and follow our alumni and prospects where they are on the web.”

By embedding the Intelliworks Social Marketing application on an institution’s Facebook Fan page, data from fans (prospects) is seamlessly integrated into the Intelliworks relationship management platform and enables secure, private messaging between prospects and the institution. The application then tracks interactions and facilitates secure communications between the university and Facebook prospect.
Intelliworks Social Marketing helps overcome some of the current limitations of managing your social networking presence and provides institutions with:
• A central platform for managing their brand on multiple Facebook Fan Pages;
• Insight into previous interactions with students on Facebook;
• Detailed reporting and analytics of social networking activity;
• Targeted messaging of Facebook members directly from Intelliworks CRM;
• Ability to leverage social networking data across multiple communications channels;
• Customizable application interface.

“As online end-user behavior evolves, an expectation for personalized relationships will increasingly come ‘standard’ with students. In order to meet that expectation, colleges and universities must leverage multiple communications channels for connecting with prospective and current students,” said Nicole Engelbert, lead analyst, Datamonitor. “Intelliworks Social Marketing provides an innovative link between traditional CRM and social networks, such as Facebook, which are becoming an increasingly important communications channel for many colleges and universities.”

In addition to offering a public forum for students to interact with one another, Intelliworks Social Marketing enables an official communications channel between schools and prospective students. Previously, admissions departments kept separate inboxes for each of their online entities to manage student queries — a labor-intensive process that left many students’ questions on wall posts unresolved and prospects unintentionally ignored.

“My market is students from ages 17-24. Facebook is their home – it’s where they’re comfortable,” said Diane Raymond, director of admissions at New England College. “If we can develop a presence in their world, the students will wind up doing the marketing for us.” Raymond hopes Intelliworks Social Marketing will help her identify prospects and enable an open, honest dialogue with students.

Intelliworks Social Marketing simplifies outreach by compiling all messages from university Facebook Fan pages into a single dashboard, with secure private messaging so students can communicate and institutions can respond promptly.

Early adopters of Intelliworks Social Marketing include:
• University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication
• Eastern University
• Florida International University’s School of Business
• Fresno Pacific University’s Office of Continuing Education
• New England College

“I chose Intelliworks Social Marketing because my students are in an independent study program and therefore don’t have a built-in community. Facebook will allow us to build a supportive community environment for them,” said Matt Gehrett, executive director of continuing education at Fresno Pacific University.

Now, admissions professionals can manage their presence on multiple social networks, run personalized campaigns and track all interactions with their social network members directly from the Intelliworks platform.

“We realized that a majority of students, regardless of age, are on Facebook. In order to give admissions departments the tools they need to effectively communicate with their audiences, we knew we needed to connect them to social networking tools,” said Todd Gibby, CEO of Intelliworks. “Our solution will help undergraduate, graduate and continuing education institutions to better engage, market and track their interactions with their constituents.”