Hundreds of freshmen at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay learned last year they had been accepted to the school via a “snap” or notification from the popular mobile phone app Snapchat. When students applied online to the college, a survey gave them an option to include their Snapchat handle to be notified through the app... UW-Green Bay’s snaps included fun photos from around campus, usually with the school’s Phoenix mascot, and messages ranging from “Welcome to the Phoenix family” to “We can’t wait to see you in fall.” Students often replied with an excited selfie or thank you text. “More students want an interpersonal feel, as in ‘I’m talking to you, you’re talking to me,’” said Katelyn Santy, UWGB student recruitment and enrolment coordinator. “That’s incredibly difficult for a large institute to achieve. This is one way to do that.”

The best social media channel depends on your target audience and the message you want to communicate, but would you include Snapchat in your top choice of options?When a US University gave new applicants the chance to be notified by email, mail or Snapchat, over 10% chose the latter. And I would expect that figure to rise. Research shows that millennials have moved to Instagram and Snapchat, leaving Facebook and Twitter to their parents.  And Universities that target their messaging on those channels accordingly are having the greatest success.As well as formal communication from the organisations we deal with, we increasingly expect a more human and personal connection.  

Here at Agilyx, we have noticed that our social updates - the team going out to breakfast together, the view across the harbour from our office on a sunny day - gain as much or more interest as our thought leadership pieces.  

By sharing virtual tours of the campus, providing frequent ongoing contact between acceptance and the start of term, and a platform for current students to share their experiences of everyday campus life, some universities are tapping into our basic human need to connect with each other and thereby drive up both engagement and recruitment. 


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