International student recruitment strategies are focused more on the social media and social networking space.
A little more than half of the respondents indicated that they recruit using social media because almost all (91% of those responding) believe prospects are using it. The most used social media platforms are Facebook (95%), Twitter (54%) and Youtube (43%). The main reason social media is not being used was indicated as lack of staff resources.
Two thirds of the research respondents (66%) indicated that their website was the most important channel for their outreach programs with online advertising a far second at 18%. However, the largest allocation of the marketing budget is for printed materials, accounting for 11-25% of annual budgets. Not surprisingly, the two greatest challenges for recruiters in achieving their international enrollment goals were the availability of financial aid (37%) and travel budget concerns (34%).
How do recruiters of international students link efforts with value, or cost with return in using a social media model?
It's a given that using social media is an extremely low cost way to market to students, because in most cases, the most prized audience is already using the medium you wish to use.
But do you spend money on advertising, or just recruit other students to blog and post your recruitment efforts in the right space?
My general impression of advertising is that the audience for advertising is cynical of advertising unless it is interactive. I think WES is on to something positive here with the effort it's pushing to to interactive webinars and chats online.
StraighterLine CEO Burck Smith, not affiliated with WES as far as I am aware, is delivering low-cost high-quality schooling on the internet. This generation uses almost nothing but the internet.