Generating inquiries.

Generating ideas.

Online since 1996.
June 2009 
Marketing versus Recruiting...
and the Facebook Phenomenon

Lately we've been fielding a lot of questions from colleagues about whether or not Facebook works for international student recruitment. Our answer is, it depends.

The effectiveness of Facebook for incoming students really depends on your objective. Social media has forced me to define the difference between marketing and recruiting. To me, marketing is what you do to generate initial inquiries about your campus. Recruiting is what you do to convert those leads to actual enrollees. Marketing on Facebook (and similar social media) hasn't produced tangible results for us (at least so far, in countries like Japan and Korea). Recruiting, however, has been quite effective for a whole host of U.S. campuses. has deliberately resisted creating profiles on Facebook / MySpace / Twitter / Hi5... because we generate initial inquiries: We market, and leave it up to the campus to recruit. We do, however, piggy-back on like-minded sites with significant social media presences, which routinely mention our family of multi-lingual sites as excellent resources for students who want to study in the USA.

Side note: I had a similar eureka moment in another lifetime, when I worked for the sales and marketing publications department within the South Carolina State Ports Authority in Charleston. There I learned the difference between marketing and public relations: Our editor decided to showcase a gorgeous pic of our longshoremen and stevedores (in their bright yellow raincoats) working at the docks in the rain. At the time, Charleston was the only port on the east coast whose unions continued to work during inclement weather, which was an enormous selling point in terms of productivity. Our PR director was livid. She said the pic conjured up images of Hurricane Hugo, which caused some pretty serious damage in Charleston. From her public relations perspective, the sun always shines in Charleston.

I've always preferred marketing to public relations.

To be successful in marketing to qualified international students, you need to figure out which forms of social media work in the countries / regions you're targeting. As we've said before, mass broadcasting is out; narrow-casting (or precision marketing) is in.

To discuss further, contact

Cross Promotions

FPP Media is one of the largest student recruitment organizations in Latin America, and is expanding into other geographic markets as well. Upcoming events:

  • Brazil Roadshow
    17th FPP Edu-Media EXPOs Brazil Roadshow - Sept 2009
  • High School Roadshow
    1st FPP Edu-Media EXPOs High School Roadshow - Sept / Oct 2009
  • Latin America Roadshow
    17th FPP Edu-Media EXPOs Latin America Roadshow - Sept /Oct 2009
  • Europe Roadshow
    5th FPP Edu-Media EXPOs Europe Roadshow - Oct 2009

Learn more:

Cheryl's Autumn Itinerary

* 2-5 November, Springfield, Massachusetts
NAFSA Bi-Regional (X and XI):

* 6-8 December, Miami, Florida
ICEF North America Workshop: Your source for translations in 17 languages

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