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International students are using social media to choose UK universities

Press release   •   Sep 30, 2019 07:00 UTC

PARIS, Sept.30, 2019 -- Leading social media marketing suite, Mention has released its latest eBook Definitive Guide to Social Media Management for Higher Education Institutions which compares the relationship between a student’s motivation to choose a university, and the engagement level of administration to build trust through social media. In Mention’s UK Higher Education Social Media Index, 14 UK universities were tracked collecting over 60,000 mentions to determine trends in conversations around institutions' top priorities; admissions and recruitment, international presence and the clearing process.

This year a record fo 40, 720 students from outside the EU have accepted offers to UK universities, a 6 per cent increase compared to 2018 (30, 350). These figures are steadily growing each year making non-EU student recruitment increasingly competitive for universities looking to attract overseas freshers. For students not able to attend open-house days, social media serves as their main form of intel to compare UK universities they’re interested in. These prospective students are paying close attention to the social content shared by current students, unions, and administration. In fact, nearly 83% of students are using social media to help make their university selection, according to the 2017 International Student Survey (ISS). Thus, making it evident that social media capital is one of the most valuable resources not only for prospects but for administrators to gain valuable insights about students’ motivation to accept a university offer.

Today’s Gen Z applicants are digital natives, they often look to social media as their preferred method of communication to collect more personal and authentic information about the student experience. These prospective students engage on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Blogs, Forum, and Twitter to observe and ask questions that help shape their choices. Universities that are actively listening to online conversations about their institution are better equipped to communicate on social media. Therefore, beginning to foster a relationship with students during the clearing process. Leveraging social media during recruitment can lead to improved online brand awareness, and improve offline reputation attracting more domestic and international students.

Ai Addyson-Zhang an education expert, Digital Learning Consultant and Founder of Classroom Without Walls believes that a strong social media strategy can shape how prospective students perceive different universities, and says “we need to start encouraging user-generated content on social media; from students, professors and professionals. That is what will build your school’s reputation, and remain competitive when it comes to academic merit and student experience.”

Key Findings in the UK Social Media Index:

Clearing Process: Blogs (17.3%) are the second most popular channel for conversations about the clearing process. Blogs surpassed Facebook and Instagram when it came to conversations about the clearing process

International Presence: Top 3 universities dominating international conversations across Twitter are Cambridge University, Cardiff University, and Northampton University. They had the highest reach of mentions compared to other institutions monitored.

Admissions & Recruitment: Top 5 countries where conversations about admissions and recruitment took place were: United States, Germany, India, France, and Canada

Methodology:

Data was collected via Mention platform between August 10th and September 10th, 2019, universities included in the analysis of the report are: Cambridge University, Oxford University, University of St Andrews, Imperial College of London, University of Reading, Cardiff University, Newcastle University, Liverpool University, University of Sheffield, Solent University, University of Sunderland, University of Northampton, University of Bolton, and Suffolk University. 

Mention is a social media management suite enabling brands and agencies to compare and analyze important conversations online to plan and schedule social media posts; create content based on relevant insights, and manage your social media calendar wherever you are. Our all-in-one social media management suite offers superior listening capabilities, social media publishing, and community management. We’ve helped over 4,000 enterprise clients and over 750,000 users worldwide improve their communications and marketing strategies.

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