Leveraging Social Media in Your International Recruitment Strategy

Regional variation in social media use may impact the effectiveness of your international outreach.

Aug 4, 2016

Recruitment & Marketing

Social media platforms Social media is everywhere. According to their respective sites, Facebook has more than 1 billion daily users, Twitter sees about 320 million users a month, and LinkedIn—which was recently purchased by Microsoft for a record $26 billion—has more than 400 million registered members. With such large user bases, it’s no surprise that graduate business schools around the world are investing more time and effort into their social media presence than ever before.

Data from GMAC’s 2016 mba.com Prospective Students Survey indicates that virtually all (96%) of mba.com registrants use social media at least once a week. Globally, the three most common sites business school candidates use are Facebook (78%), LinkedIn (55%), and Twitter (24%). This trend is relatively consistent across world regions with one notable exception: East and Southeast Asia. In this region, about half of prospective students use Facebook and 45 percent use QQ—an instant messaging software service. By far, more candidates use QQ in East and Southeast Asia than in any other world region. One third (32%) of candidates in this region use LinkedIn, and just 1 in 10 (11%) use Twitter. This notable variation in social media usage should be reflected in business schools’ social media outreach strategies to connect with candidates in this region. 

Social networking

But are candidates around the world interested in connecting with business schools on social media? Though most candidates report using social media to stay in touch with friends and family (76% of candidates), 2 in 3 candidates (67%) report spending time on social media for activities related to their pursuit of a graduate management education. Specifically, they use social media to: 
• Get the latest news and information on a specific program (34% of respondents);
• Learn about events/activities for a specific graduate business program (32%);
• Connect with current students (29%);
• Connect with alumni (27%); 
• Research graduate management education (25%); and 
• Connect with faculty (20%). 

A social media presence for your business school and programs has the potential to bring your brand to a broader audience. By leveraging these social media channels, you can inform prospective students about your school and create excitement around activities and events you offer. Having students, alumni, and faculty participate in your social media strategy can create a feeling of openness, connection, and authenticity that prospective students seek when choosing a program that meets their needs, desires, and goals. 

For more information on how graduate business school prospective students gather information about schools, download the 2016 mba.com Prospective Students Survey Report.