Nov 29, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Social media is an increasingly important communication channel, and b-schools aren’t overlooking its potential when it comes to recruiting prospective students, according to the results of a recent study by the Association of MBAs. Here’s a closer look at the findings, as recently reported by The Globe and Mail.

Reaching Students in the Digital Era

As business schools endeavor to attract more prospective students, social media is playing an increasingly central role in their efforts. Specifically, b-schools around the world are now spending $3 out of every $10 on social media advertising.

Said one b-school marketing director, “For me it always comes down to where are people’s eyeballs. You walk down the street and see people’s eyes are glued to their phones, and they’ll walk right past the bus, let alone the ad on the bus shelter.”

He continued, “We want to make sure our messaging, content and brand are in front of their eyes, and different platforms allow us to get at them in different ways. We've really integrated our social media strategy to match our recruitment strategy, and a lot of our efforts are designed to create that first touch point."

The “First Touch” Imperative

Indeed, the value of the “first touch” can’t be overstated in today’s crowded and competitive market. According to another b-school industry insider, “The war for talent amongst business schools is extremely competitive, especially when it comes to domestic candidates….first-mover advantage is critical in this market.”

In particular, LinkedIn is offering enhanced opportunities for engagement. "We have robust first-party data so we make it easier for schools to find that quality candidate that they are looking for," said Diana Luu, head of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in Canada.

This doesn’t mean that other recruitment methods have been abandoned; rather, that recruiters have a new tool in their advertising arsenal in the form of likes, tweets and shares. At least for the time being, that is. Said a b-school director of communications and external relations, "We have a presence all over North America, but if we're recruiting in India or England, the recruiting fair is a great way to tap into that audience. In the near future I still see that as part of our mix, but who knows about the distant future."



Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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