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Recruitment service harnesses social media

Education institutions can seem like out-of-touch parents when it comes to recruiting students through social media channels. However, a new social media monitoring service has been launched to provide some added insight.

Genius Recruiter's International 'Student world map based on tweets', charts interest in study destinations expressed in Twittersphere

"We’re filling a gap in the market"

Genius Recruiter, the brainchild of former international student Danny Newman, enables universities to monitor what students are saying about them on social networks such as Twitter, public Facebook, blogs and YouTube, then reach out and turn these into recruitment leads.

“We send the message and the student’s username to the school that makes a good match…” said Newman. “Students appreciate the personalised approach since they get to trade questions back and forth with the recruiter. It’s all public, so it’s not like the schools are invading a student’s privacy on their Facebook page,”

The Canada-based site joins other lead-generation sites such as Hobsons and Education Dynamics, but claims to be more up-to-date in its technology and lower cost. The company charges US$199 per month for both its social media monitoring package and its student leads package.

It is initially working with under a dozen universities in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK, but wants to expand. “In terms of competitors, we’re filling a gap in the market that the big players haven’t jumped into yet. QS and IDP are physically in international markets, but their missing out on the virtual space.”

“Within hours, I saw comments made by students in many Asian countries”

The service also doubles as a PR tool to let universities see what they are “doing right and what needs to be fixed” – this can include tracking student complaints about campus services and fees, or bigger study abroad concerns. Newman gives the example of the fallout after the Boxing Day shooting of Anuj Bidve in Salford, UK, which the company tracked as the news spread “virally” across the social web.

“Within hours, I saw comments made by students in many Asian countries to the effect of ‘I don’t want to study in the UK if racism is going to be a problem.’ It goes to show you that even an isolated incident like the one in Salford can have huge repercussions on international recruitment.”

Through all of this, Newman hopes to offer universities a way around traditional methods of reaching students such as student fairs, online marketing and agents, through the growing power of the internet.

Predicting the future of the internet is easy: anything it hasn’t yet dramatically transformed, it will.

“You can already see it happening. Nearly 100% of universities are using social media in some form or another… Predicting the future of the internet is easy: anything it hasn’t yet dramatically transformed, it will. Student recruitment is no exception,” he said.

See Genius Recruiter’s global map charting study abroad trends through Tweets here.

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