Connect with Students Through Social NetworkingAs of October 2007, hundreds of millions of young people logon to social networking sites like MySpace.com, Facebook.com and hi5.com every single day to connect with old friends, make new ones, discuss interests, share news, photos, videos, and get advice. This is where a great majority of your prospective and current students are. But how do you reach them?
By Jerry Allocca,
President of CORE Academics
By Jerry Allocca,
President of CORE Academics
Special my space Section Dedicated to Colleges & Universities
Did you know that myspace.com has a special section dedicated specifically to colleges and universities to help students find the right school? And it’s FREE! Here’s the link. Go ahead and explore it: www.myspace.com/collegesanduniversities If your college or university is not using this free space to connect and promote yourself, you are missing the simplest and most available way to let potential and current students know you are at least aware of their networks. It is correct that students show great disdain if your school attempts to be one oif them by trying to write like a college student. But this spot on myspace is there for you to use. If you need some help with it, just give me a call and I'll be glad to help.
Statistics and Growth
The three social networking sites I mentioned above are all ranked in the top 10 of the most highly trafficked sites according to www.alexa.com, the authority on the subject. As of the end of 2007, myspace.com continues to get the most traffic out of all other social networking sites. However, things move fast in the Internet world. Their closest competitor, facebook.com, is not far behind and growing at an incredible pace. From September 2006 to September 2007, facebook’s traffic ranking increased from 60th to 7th, according to Alexa.com. Here are some highly important statistics for MySpace.com—currently ranked 6th on Alexa.com. There were 106 million MySpace users as of September 2006. There were 200 million MySpace users as of September 2007. The site is currently growing at a rate of 230,000 new users per day! An average MySpace page is visited 30 times a day. And this is just myspace.com. There are others. Many others. And they are all growing, and becoming more and more important to the digital generation, every single day! And your students, current and potential are there. You should be.
What Can I Do On A Social Networking Site?
Most social networking sites enable users to communicate and collaborate in a number of different ways. You can search for friends with similar interests and get or give friend requests. You should always be building your friend list and staying in touch with friends. One way to communicate is through a community bulletin board organized by category and similar interest. Here you can listen to other people’s posts/messages, then reply with your own posts. You are a critical part of the site and your contribution to the site is what makes the experience truly interactive while keeping the content fresh and interesting. The site would have no content without other people’s contributions. People just like you! Another way to communicate is through private groups where you have a group of friends who want to privately share a common web page and message board. This becomes their private collaboration space online. You can instant message anyone in your friend list and communicate immediately. View/share photos, video clips, audio clips, and of course comment on these media items for others to see what you have to say--and then reply back to them. Take advantage of reading up-to-the-minute news stories and articles. Search classifieds or post free classified ads within the following categories: For Sale, Jobs, Housing, and more. You can also create events, public or private, to let people in your friend lists, and people in your friend’s friend lists, know about your upcoming events—as well as getting them (gladly!) on board to help organize the social gatherings. Create blogs to share your thoughts and listen to others. The amount of features and things you can do on social networking sites is burgeoning, but the keys are ease of communication and collaboration.
Niche Social Networking Sites
Suddenly, niche social networking sites are popping up. Do you like dogs? There’s now social networking for dogs: www.dogster.com allows you to create a profile for your dog complete with photos, videos and more. You can even search for other dogs that have similar interests to yours. You can probably guess that if there is a dogster, then there must be a catster too. And you’re right! www.catster.com makes social networking for cats (and cat lovers) a reality. Pets not your thing? Perhaps you’re into, ummm, I don’t know, sneakers? Try www.sneakerplay.com for those obsessed with sneakers. Whatever you’re into, I’m sure there is a social networking site out there for others just like you. And if there isn’t, why not create one yourself?
In fact, if your college has a specialization in an area of study, you could create a networking site to promote it by hosting for those interested in that area. If you are a veterinarian school, shouldn't you be posting appropriately on both dogster and catster? If you have a loarge animal vet program maybe you should create and host cowster or some other site. If you want to know if a name is available, I'll even be glad to check it for you. Just send it to me and I'll let you know.
Where Is Your School?
It all comes down to this…social networking is growing at an incredibly fast pace among young people. The technology is free and available to anyone with an internet connection. This is where your prospective and current students are spending their time. This is where your school should be. This is where your admissions reps should be. This is where your financial aid reps should be. This is where YOU should be. It takes more than just a cool website to connect with today's digital generation. You've got to tap into their social network. Listen to their thoughts. Join in the conversation. Be a part of their world.
If I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate. It will be my pleasure to help you myself.
This article was written by Jerry Allocca, President of CORE Academics, an award-winning internet solutions firm and the creator of the award and enrollment winning on-line admissions personalization application program Leadwise . CORE has been helping colleges and universities leverage new technologies to increase leads, enrollments and brands since 1998. Its Webeval college website evaluation system has been used by hundreds of schools to let them know their strengths, weaknesses and what they can do better. To get Jerry and CORE on your team, visit www.COREacademics.com send an email to Jerry@CORE.bz or call at 516-719-6235 ext 111.
The picture above of Dr. Raze Man is my facebook photo. It was created by Chris Sanna a great graphic designer who does excellent design work for colleges, business and real rappers. I recommend him most highly for any design work you may need.