Social Media has transformed into the buzz-phrase of the marketing world; the must-have solution to all marketing challenges. It really is cheap, fast and has reached near saturation in certain age ranges.

But utilising social media marketing – the art and science of getting your message out by using this online ecosystem – is not as easy as setting up a Facebook page. The ability to shape opinions of prospective students, current students, and alumni in this online world is essentially dependent on the social authority that your message carries. Simply put, successful social media campaigns rely on the trust the marketplaces in your messenger.

This will come as not surprising. It is the same trust process we, as admissions professionals, use whenever we visit high schools, engage college counsellors and have also had alumni-sponsored events within distant cities. The distinctions are merely the delivery channel as well as the kinds of trusted sources. For social networking, the delivery channel is web-based (via a social media site) and the trusted sources are usually students and peers, rather than adult authority figures.

Online marketing and social media have become inextricably linked, you simply cannot take part in one without engaging in the other, in the event that you hope to achieve maximum results. Yet, when you look at the zeal to chase the buck, by means of relationship building platforms like Twitter and Facebook, to call only two, many have corrupted the process. In actual fact invite failure in doing so…the website marketing type of social media marketing suicide.

It is interesting how the landscapes of the various social networking platforms have now been reshaped, even corrupted when you look at the view of numerous so that they can convert followers to dollars. In reality, it is aided by the emergence of the various marketing groups on Facebook, this indicates all but overrun by marketers, of late. The Facebook I joined, the main one I associated with my senior high school friends on, has all but disappeared and several of my high school friends alongside it. The height of irony? I happened to be just contracted by a client to complete a study regarding the feasibility of converting friends to clients for a local business on Facebook. I have personal ideas concerning the outcome, however, the study intrigues me since it is symptomatic associated with the pathology right now influencing most of the social networking…greed.

Marketing and advertising must get to its potential audience to create an improvement. To be heard you will need to meet your prospects on their turf. Social networking is the inspiration and future of modern college recruitment and marketing precisely because it is their turf. The greatest goal would be to have your messages picked-up by the market and handed down spontaneously – and sometimes exponentially – by trusted sources. You need your message to go viral! (“Going Viral” refers to when a picture, video, or a link spreads rapidly through a demographic. Such as when you’re frequently shared with a number of individuals; social media makes this sharing easy to do.)

Present social networks have exploded into an ecosystem bursting with untold thousands of fan pages, blogs and tweets. Facebook alone claims significantly more than 700 million users, with more than 50 percent of those people logging in just about every day. This growth has turned an Internet niche of obscure hobbyists into a marketer’s dream – an enormous audience of consumers that can be reached in near real-time at a really low cost.

Social networking is a particular kind of online conversation held among a group of individuals with a shared interest and it is mediated by a “reputable” source. (But remember, on Facebook, a “reputable” source could be a 17-year-old college freshman!) To comfortably take advantage of this busy realm of social media marketing, admissions officers must understand its three core components: channel, reach and credibility.

Various social networking channels work with different folks. Look at the kinds of content you want to make available and where it generates the most sense to publish it. Setting up a YouTube channel is a good option to offer a “virtual campus tour” or share a video of a unique event, like a concert. Student-generated videos can provide an even more informal glance at campus life and may often be much more effective than professionally produced marketing pieces – so long as they are thoroughly vetted and carefully selected. If you are lucky (or unlucky, with regards to the content), one of these videos may go viral and expose your campus to millions of prospective customers.

Facebook, blogging and tweeting are other methods for getting your message out and offer a range of choices for sharing information and influencing the perceptions of varied constituencies. It is possible to encourage current students to be involved in the conversation and keep topical Facebook pages dedicated to different factors of one’s school. (But make sure to stay involved and actively monitor this content.) Twitter offers you the capacity to update prospective students on approaching deadlines, send reminders and engage people in conversations about timely topics. Blogs can provide the understanding of the admission process from a counsellor or student perspective and create a forum for exchanging thoughts about admission related topics, like writing an individual essay, the utilisation of test scores or activities to do on campus.