Popular opinion among many college coaches is revolving around the idea that because prospects love to spend time on social media, they’ll want to see a lot of content from you if they’re going to pick your program.
True. Kind of.
More than any other medium you can deliver a recruiting message through, social media might be the most misunderstood and under-utilized by college recruiters. Most coaches don’t understand the place it has in the overall message you put in front of a prospects. The result? Many coaches are growing increasingly frustrated about the good connections they feel like they’re making with their prospects on social media, only to see those prospects choose a different program in the end.
The answer might not be as complicated as you think.
What we find, year after year, is that your prospects have a very specific view of how social media should be used in recruiting. In other words, in their mind, social media has a very specific function in the process. It fills a very specific void for them.
Social media allows them to experience what it will feel like competing for you, and going to your college.
By default, that also tells us what social media should not be used for in the process, right? It all goes to this overall idea that we’ve started to understand that each method of recruiting communication has a specific purpose and place, according to how your prospect takes in that message you want them to receive.
For example, on the idea that today’s recruit uses social media to get a ‘feel’ for your program and your campus, it all has to do with how the media is consumed: If I tried to ‘experience’ your campus through a recruiting letter or email written to me as a prospect, it would fall flat. Why? Because you’re trying to use words to paint a picture, which is something incredibly hard to do. Great writers are few and far between, and it’s likely that you don’t fall into that category with those abilities.
That’s where social media comes in. According to the recruits we study, social media’s ability to take us on campus, hear your voice coaching, see the way your team interacts together, and where it all happens. It creates an emotional feeling that helps put them into the mental ‘what if’ they were a part of what they were seeing. Because of that, when it comes to the message your recruits see from you on your social media accounts, focus on those aspects: What will it feel like competing for you, and what it will be like to go to your college. That means highlighting normal, everyday moments that you may now be taking for granted…daily life, all the regular scenes around campus, a view inside the dorms, video from the van ride home from an away game…all of that is what your prospect craves, and what their mind needs, in order to allow them to feel ready to decide that you and your program are the one.
Focus on that narrow storyline, while doing it with visuals, is the best way to connect with your prospect and prove that you’re going to be the best option. Are there things you should avoid highlighting on social media for prospects? Absolutely. But you can clear most of the hurdles, and see benefits from that shift in strategy, if you implement that focus when it comes to your program’s social media accounts.
Need help creating a better overall recruiting message approach that incorporates the right mix of communication elements for your prospects? Hundreds of college coaches around the country have teamed with Tudor Collegiate Strategies as clients, allowing the experts at TCS to conduct specific research with your team and then developing a comprehensive recruiting communication plan to send out to your prospects. We have a 15+ year history of proven results. Click here for details, and then contact us to have us put together options for you and your program to consider.