5 Questions on Digital Media and Admissions with Scott Jones of Wooster

Scott_Jones_CroppedNew ways to communicate with digital media are being explored every day in the recruiting world, and Scott Jones of the College of Wooster is determined to make sure that he and his team stay ahead of the curve.  Scott has incorporated digital media into the foundation of Wooster admissions, even setting aside a portion of Wooster’s homepage for its social media feeds.  By focusing efforts on essential digital platforms, most importantly Facebook and college search sites, Scott has found surprising success connecting with prospective students and getting them to join the dialogue about Wooster.

Q1. What are the latest social media or mobile tools Wooster admissions is using and why?

We wanted to be very deliberate with our social media presence and avoid jumping haphazardly into everything available.  So, we laid down the groundwork and devised a plan that would limit which tools we would use to reach out to students.  Ultimately, we wanted to use fewer social media platforms, but use them precisely and to their full potential instead of diluting our efforts across the Web.

This discussion led to us narrowing down our major efforts to Facebook and Twitter, which are pretty much the hubs of the social media scene. With our concentrated efforts we can really do it right and aim for consistency, making sure that even if a prospective student finds us through Facebook, or Twitter, or the official school website, we’re giving the same message.  So, our main focus at this time is Facebook and Twitter.

Q2.  How can “Facebook-ing” be done more deliberately to engage prospective students?

Before we even started posting from our Wooster Facebook page, we had to decide if we should make a separate Wooster admissions page apart from the community institution page. Eventually we chose to drive all traffic to one location, so our page’s audience is everyone from prospective and enrolled students, to alumni, family and parents.

As for posting to our page, we outlined the percentages of the different types of posts we thought would be the most powerful. The majority of our Facebook posts are questions that inspire conversation.  We like to give a bit of information while asking questions, but also allow room for the community to respond. This shows prospective students what alumni have to say and also gives prospective students the opportunity to ask questions and interact.

Many times, we drive our posts around Wooster’s Capstone Experience, our independent study program.  Alumni talk about their experience with the program and prospective students can get a well-rounded perspective of Wooster right from their computer.

Q3.  Are there other digital tools that you use, and how do you feel they complement what you’re doing on Facebook?

Again, it’s about using digital media not to spread your resources too thin, but to really target the audience you want to engage. College search sites make that part of my admissions job much easier to manage. With sites, like Cappex, we have the option to be very specific with the information we provide and target it to the specific students we want to reach. By far, though, the best aspect of college search tools is the follow up.  If a student is interested in a Wooster campaign, the follow up is crucial because that’s really where you can connect with them and drive them to our different sites.  To my initial surprise, a large number of enrolled students came from the online college search.

Q4. Do you think these tools help further the conversation, start the conversation, or help with yield?

All of the above! We focus in on a couple of tools, like Facebook, and really drive them home.  If schools put in the time, the tools will help them find the students, communicate with students, build relationships, and help with yield.  If you use these tools to their full potential they can help with the entire funnel: initial inquiry all the way through enrollment and keeping them engaged as alumni.

Q5. What do you think is the most important thing about digital media that admissions officers need to hear?

These platforms are great yield tools.  They encourage an organic conversation between prospective students, current students and alumni that never really could happen before.  It’s one thing for prospective students to hear good things about Wooster from admissions people, but it’s a completely different thing to hear from people who are simply expressing joy about their experience in college.  This happened a lot last year, and it paid off.  We enrolled one of the largest classes in Wooster history.

You can see how the College of Wooster has integrated social media into their site at: http://www.wooster.edu/

Original Post Date: March 15th, 2011

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