EducationUSA HEI Webinar: Engaging with Social Media to Recruit International Students

Good morning my name is Erica Burman I’m a
program officer at the State Department working on the Education USA team good
morning everyone my name is Katie Stasa I work at the Institute of International
Education on the Education USA program I manage the flagship accounts and other
communications great
we want to welcome you this morning to this webinar on social media resources
for higher education institutions through best practices and
communications web social media for recruiting international students we want to start this morning by just
giving you a quick overview about Education USA this series of webinars
covering best practices and resources for the U.S. higher ed community a
series of 12 Educating USA who are we Education USA has three main goals
one is to promote U.S. higher ed and connect international students with US
institutions we’re also trying to support U.S. higher education community
members in internationalizing their campuses helping them with their
recruitment and retention plans an important point to note is that we
promote all accredited U.S. institutions equally finally we also engage with
foreign institutions and governments talking about student mobility and to
facilitate that on the third important thing is to know is that we really are
committed to helping students and institutions find the best fit we want
students to be successful when they come to the United States and that’s our
goals Education USA it’s a network you can see from the slide we have 426
advising centers in 178 countries we are global some of our
centers are located in US embassies and consulates others are in bi-national
centers and Fulbright Commission’s we have partners NGOs and AMIDEAST
American councils we also have advising centers and
universities around the world libraries and other types of institutions so we’re
very diverse network our advising network globally is supported by 14 we
call REACs regional education advising coordinators those REACs are experts in
international education international student mobility they support our
advising centers and our core of about 550 advisors globally so I’ll give you a little bit of the big
picture and how social media works with the Education USA Network the first things to know is our website this is our home base and it should be the first
place you look to for information about Education USA the website is
mobile-friendly it has translation in 90 languages important thing to know is
that each advising Center each of those 436 advising centers has a page
dedicated on our website that provides information about the location of that
Center their operating hours different ways to contact them a description of
their activities and most importantly for this webinar it lists the social
media accounts connected to that advising center Education USA maintains a number of
flagship account these are global accounts they’re run by my colleague
Katie you can see the different places where you can find Education USA please
seek out those accounts and follow them it’s a great way to stay connected and
apprised of what Education USA is doing one of the things that we do
particularly on our Facebook student audience
Facebook account is interactive webinars for students
these are hosted here in Washington DC we do them six times per year we try to
cover the five steps to studying in the U.S. these are studio produced programs
they’re streamed on our Facebook live and then are recorded and are later put
onto our YouTube channel this is an opportunity for institutions
to if you’re you’re always looking for diverse representation of institutions
to be guests on these webinars so it’s something to keep in mind and get
further information on our website about important thing to do is to like and
follow our Facebook page for US higher education professionals again you know
that information there is really targeted to our higher ed colleagues and
it’s a great place to serve stay apprised again of what is happening in
our network the important thing to seek out is look for that groups item on the
Left tab we have a series that we have several Facebook groups tied to our hei
page that are private that are for particularly for for you and like
currently there’s one for Africa Middle East and North Africa and sort of
North America so like the page and join those coming out a little bit further
our Education USA network it’s quite large
I’m just looking at Facebook we have a 151 branded Facebook accounts many of
them are verified and more are in process for that over 250 accounts do
regularly carry and push out Education USA content some of those are like US
Embassy accounts around the world taking a look at Instagram which is of course a
growing demographic for the arts or target audiences we already have over 40
brand in Instagram accounts so that’s another platform to seek out one of the
things we’re working on is to have a comprehensive listing with all of those accounts that don’t make it more easy
for you to find our accounts so how it works
advising centers run their own social media accounts so we have our flagship
accounts here in Washington DC but around the world our advising centers
based on their judgment on what sort of outreach it’s most effective establish
and run their own social media accounts some have a dedicated social media
person who is very knowledgeable and savvy about social media but some of our
centers don’t necessarily have a dedicated person and people are doing
advisors are doing social media in addition to their advising duties so
there’s a great range of sort of knowledge about social media EducationUSA here in Washington we provide weekly sort of baseline content
we try to model best practices you can see on the slide one of the things we’ve
used for some of our conferences it’s like a social media scavenger hunt
encourage our advisors when they’re attending us conferences to engage on
social media well Education USA Russia took this idea and has adapted it for
students who are coming to the United States which i think is a great idea so
we try to model best practices and then we also offer ongoing training our REACs
constantly in the field doing regional and national training social medias
always a part of that Education USA staff also myself trying to provide
guidance and training and also advisers within sort of the advisor course and
often our mentoring and providing support and advice to their colleagues
my colleagues in Russia conducted a survey earlier this year they made of
excellent presentation at NAFSA 2019 and it had over 30 countries respond to
that survey on the use of social media one of clear messages is that you know
we are on a lot of different platforms and of course it varies from country to
country each region overwhelmingly Facebook is
sort of big big platform no surprise there
Instagram it’s also very strong and you can see sort of a variety of some of the
other platforms that Education USA is using to engage students one of the tips
to get more to get more information on what sort of the social media landscape
is in a particular region or even country is to check out the annual
Education USA Global Guide the new one will be coming out shortly it provides
in-depth information this is a document that’s written by our REACs and program
officers and it really gives a most comprehensive information about
Education USA services trends opportunities best times to visit social
media that’s prevalent it’s a really great resource it’s available on the
Education USA website if you just go to the higher ed professionals of action
look for recruitment resources and you’ll see a tab for global guide all
right now I’m going to share a few tips that I’ve learned while managing these
social media accounts we’re going to get down to a more micro level on the ground
sort of what you can do to use your social media presence so what we’ve
learned over these past few months is that students really love information
about scholarships obviously so anytime that you have an international student
scholarships something of that sort be sure to post it promote it let Education
USA know it’s something that looking to us and our counseling love to cross
promote and help you guys out as well students also love seeing other students
succeed they like to view themselves in those shoes so find some international
students on your campus reach out to them get their story post on social
media so some feedback about materials that
we received from higher education institutions the best thing is to do
something more interactive really engaging students love seeing videos
Facebook lives do a campus tour try to make the graphics more appealing if you
have too many words if your dislike posting up a flyer on your Facebook page
people don’t want to read that pull out the key messages make a beautiful
graphic or do a video images also matters so on the left you can see a
very nice stock image of the sky it’s branded while it has good lighting but
actually the one on the right performs better because it’s real life people it
talks to the your soul when you see it instead of just a stock image that you
can’t really relate to additionally students are a great resource I’m sure
that you all have heard that generation Z is the generation of influencers they
want to see themselves on camera they want to be part of companies that they
love and help create that content so if you can try and some international
students on your campus they’re great way to cross-promote your university so
these are just some examples these are two students attending higher education
institutions they have hundreds of thousands of subscribers on their pages
versus the actual institution social media pages which just gets a few
thousand subscribers so if you can promote your content on the students
pages maybe have like an Instagram takeover or something like that that’s a
great way to get more exposure for your University like I mentioned encourage
huge user-generated content it always performs the best it helps the students
feel like they’re doing something to help you out they love seeing their face
up there other students have seen the success something that we’ve really been
pushing for our students that are coming to the U.S. to study this fall is
using the hashtag my Education USA as mentioned I am in charge of all of the
flagship accounts so I look at every single post that has that hashtag if it
works for our brand our content I will repost it we like to see what our
students are doing so encourage your students
your international sister agent using that hashtag as well this was an awesome
post Education USA elated it’s a student who did an Instagram take over it’s a
compelling picture cross branded with Education USA and the University of
Wisconsin so this is something that you can think about doing it as well if you
have a student from a certain country reach out to that Education USA office
maybe they can help you get an Instagram take over in place additionally I know that every single
region is looking for real live authentic pictures from on the ground at
the University so for example we had a recent promotion for the faces of NEAP
we were lacking representation from the North East Asia Pacific region so they
were looking for Australian students you know many students don’t really look
internationally wouldn’t seem like they’re the face of diversity so they’re
not highlighted or even photographed but we know that they play a huge role in
the American education system so if you have students from any region be sure to
share those pictures on your social accounts with the different regions
where those students come from we want to help promote and share these stories another thing that I’ve learned while
managing the social media accounts is posting when should you post when you’re
working with a global market so my recommendation to you guys would
be to target which market you’re really going after be Brazil China India go
off of those times so don’t post during your normal eight
to five hours try to post know maybe 3 a.m. or midnight see what works best but
that being said it’s important to note that many social media platforms are
going more towards a logarithm based content feed rather than time so
engagement is more important than the time that you post make sure that your
content has a picture or video is engaging has hashtags that’s more
important than a specific time another important thing if you don’t have the
ability to translate all of your contents which I know that many of you
don’t either do be the great thing is to use what’s called global English so
global English avoids idioms and jargons you break texts up into smaller
paragraphs you use simple tenses you can also test the readability of your
content using these amazing websites Google has one which I use often so if
you don’t have time to translate this is a great alternative additionally I’m sure that many of you
are familiar with the you are welcome to your campaign students one of their
biggest concerns and their parents biggest concerns is the safety when
they’re overseas it’s scary for anyone to travel that far away so promoting the
you are welcome here campaigning let students know that they truly are
welcome here they have a place here we want them as much as they want to come
here so check out this campaign start using this hashtag we have this amazing
graphic that you’re welcome to use put it on your website showcase the
diversity inclusion of your University make that the forefront of your
international student admissions page or your social media pages also be sure to show off your diverse
student body if you have some sort of organization at your school where we get
an international student organization try to get them to send you pictures
post them to your flagship accounts so this one is an example from Columbia
University that they did for International Day of friendship which is
actually coming up on July 30th so think of a post that you could do through that
reach out to some of your international students one of the tips that I always give all
higher education institutions is to tag Education USA and any sort of content
that you think that we could repost I love looking for content from
universities and from students I like to do a good mix of stuff that I create
which you can see on the left side and stuff that I repost from universities so
be sure to tag us if you have an amazing student story additionally be sure to
follow our social media accounts especially our Instagram there’s lots
of good stuff there postable content that you can use so it’s just a broad
picture of everything that we’ve covered everything that we can do connect with
an Education USA advising center in a country that you’re interested in serve
as an expert for outreach and virtual programs so a lot of our advising
centers reach out to each HEIs to help with webinars for these students that’s
a great way to get exposure for your university you should also be attending
the Education USA forum and the regional forums so our forum in Washington DC is
actually happening next week so if you have the time you would love to have you
there so what you can expect at our forum is to meet with every single REACs
in all 14 areas where we have them we have advisors from over 45 countries
coming we have a global showcase we can talk to them one-on-one we also have
advising hours but the different countries you’ll get to meet with
Department of state employees as well as other higher education representatives
so that’s a great opportunity we also have two regional forums every year so
our last one was in Morocco which was a great success
this coming one is in Cambodia it’s in September we’re gonna go a little bit
more into that in the next slide but that’s a great opportunity if you’re
interested in recruiting more in East Asia and Pacific a little bit more so
send us your recruitment materials I’m like I mentioned I’m always
looking to promote higher education universities so if you have a
scholarship or something interesting going on send it to me and if it works
with our social strategy I’ll be sure to include it engage with your alumni your
international student alumni they’re usually great resources
that’s something great to post on your social media accounts also participate
on our fairs and our virtual affairs in your country of interest so that ties
back to reaching out to the Education USA advising center in the country of
interest they will help lead you in the right direction and then lastly be sure
to create a profile on our website and from there you can submit content any
news articles or scholarships that you might have so I sort of teased this up
before but this is our upcoming Regional Forum in September in Cambodia 18th
through 20th it’s going to be a great time in a beautiful country and you see
you all there and this is our contact information if you have any sort of
questions or need assistance of any sort you can always reach us here I would
like to draw your attention to my email address if your university has an
amazing international student story or a news article about an international
event the scholarship season that stuff directly to my email address um and like
I said if it fits with our social strategy I will be sure to post it great we’re gonna turn now to some of the
questions that have come in what do our best to give you great answers so the
first question Doug would like to know I’ve seen a few advising centers ask for
social media content what are possible examples that would best fit the
interests of these centers how to submit share great question yeah so yes adviser
centers do want the social media content so the best thing to do would be to
reach out directly to that adviser so after you create a profile on the
Education USA. website you can hop on over to a country’s advising
center page and from there there’s some contact information so HEIs have access to an email that students don’t have access to so you can
send it directly via that email as Erica mentioned a lot of the centers have
robust social media pages so you can always direct message them on there and
they can lead each of the right way the right avenue to share your content right
next question is Chris asks what are the preferred methods to deliver
Education USA print and digital collateral cross-promotion both globally
and region specific yeah I think it’s really important to targeted in your
outreach you know think about what markets what countries you are really
focusing on I think that’s I think always the best approach it’s important
to create an Education USA log in to our website once you do that you create a
login it gives you access there’s a page that has the information about our
REACs and contact information we don’t sort of put that publicly facing or sort
of privacy reasons but if you have a login you can go in see our REACs and
their contact information reach out to them there that’s one for sure they are
experts on their regions and of course are in constant communication with the
advising centers that volunteer they’re also reach out to specific centers
the again there’s a contact field on our website for the different centers or
just like if there you see them on social media for example Facebook
Education USA Russia just an instant message them a lot of them have if you
go to the about page it would have information about the website and an
email address sometimes also so reach out directly there that is I mean I
think the most effective way and it just like tagging again content if you know
give a student a profile of the students from Ukraine tag education you say
Education USA Ukraine that’s going to come to the attention of the advising
team in Ukraine I think Katie is already sort of covered in terms of global how
to connect with you have resources that we think might be a fit for some of our
global accounts Katie her email is at the end of the
presentation it’s important to remember that we do are committed to representing
all 4,700 plus US accredited institutions and there’s only 365 days a
year there’s a you know a limited amount of sort of space I would say on on
social media accounts so and we try to be equitable in providing opportunities
for multiple institutions to sort of be put before the Education USA audience so
please keep that in mind um you know we cannot promise that we will share your
content but we will do our best to direct it appropriately next question is
how do I create an account or log in again if you go to Education and I often tell people just scroll down to the footer there’s a
field of login once you’re there it should be fairly clear
provide your email address of institutional email address they don’t
give us your Yahoo or Google so that we know that you are in fact a U.S. higher ed
representative and go through the steps there of creating a login so a new question that we have from Doug
is how do we find out which social media platforms are unique to specific
countries and regions for instance is that might not be a viable platform in
one country but prominent one in another so this goes back to what Erika was
saying what’s coming is a PDF of every Center social media accounts and it can
be tricky to find out which Center has what sort of things but also like Erika
mentioned in the beginning of the presentation if you go to the Education website go to a specific Center at the bottom of the
page it will have the little social media icons you can click on those it
will take you directly to their social media accounts and again the global
guide is a which is coming out very shortly um have sort of a snapshot for
different regions because as the questioner points out for example
Facebook is not allowable China China has its own you know platforms so the
global guide often provides information about sort of social media landscape in
that region sub region and even specific countries if my U.S. college or
university has a scholarship or opportunity to the U.S. education you
know it’s a network what is the best way to do so again it comes back to
creating a login on our Education USA website Education
create that login once you have been approved there is a information on how
to submit a financial aid or other sort of opportunity for example if you have a
reduced tuition or you have your waiving application fees create a login submit a
financial aid those are reviewed Katie looks through those and often she will
create a social media post highlighting that opportunity and she said
scholarships and that’s he that’s probably the most popular information
that we provide so it’s a great way to get in front of our audience our next
question comes from Jim and he asks regarding content does Education USA
prefer English or is it okay for institutions to send
content in the language of the country so personally managing the flagship
accounts I wouldn’t post anything unless it’s in English because I am marketing
to every single country if you do want to submit content in a specific language
I would suggest to mean it to that country but if you want something on the
flagship account make sure it’s in English yeah I would say if you have
again our advisors are all while working in English and serve our professional
capacity and and they often can translate content but again if you have
content and you know like I’m really trying to recruit some students from
Turkey and you have I mean I think sometimes that content is is really
valuable particularly for example videos because it’s not just a decision that
the student themselves is making but oftentimes parents are depending on the
market parents can be a pivotal audience in the decision of whether a student is
studying abroad or not so having materials or videos you know with that
in mind is not a bad strategy our next question from Glee says would you
recommend to pay social media platforms to boost your post and I would say that
depends what exactly are you trying to promote is a new scholarship do you want
students to be interested in in which case absolutely go ahead and promote it
on test it out on a few different platforms it’s social media is all about
testing what works for it one person will not work for the next find the
platform that works best for you find the content that you think would be most
your stable something that is really engaging something that I like to do
when I’m boosting a post is I look back and see which opposed to mine had the
most engagement why did it have the most engagements maybe boost that post or
create a post that’s similar to that and then boost it I would also add if a post
is sort of trending like it seems like it has some legs and it’s trending
positively that that’s the time to boost content that’s already doing well
like boost it and it’ll go even more I mean the reality is that the social
platforms are businesses and they want are all of our money and so you know
there that’s you know a fact so I think you know testing experimenting begin with
modest boosts and see how the results work you know is is the way to go but of
course again always having engaging content is the key that’s we’re all
sort of subject to the algorithms of all these platforms which are continually
shifting so again it’s you’re always having to experiment be nimble trying to
approaches let’s see Doug would like to know what digital software tools do you
find most useful for designing and laying out effective social media posts
we won’t love canva canva is amazing and it’s relatively inexpensive I believe
it’s $15 a month and from there you’re able to upload your branded colors your
logos create beautiful posts it’s incredibly user-friendly anything good
yeah no I I would concur I mean canva has been a real game-changer I think for
our social media and I think it give me the modest cost of a pro account and
allows you to upload your constitution’s fonts colors so forth it also lets you
easily resize post so if you have a banner sort of horizontal banner and you
want to also use it for Instagram it very easily can convert an image into
different sizes for social medias which of course we all have too much to do and
not enough time so that is really helpful let’s see save a
scholarship opportunity to promote I think we’ve covered that is there a way
to send a post time early so that will go out in the middle of the night in the
United States in order to hit the Asian market yes well it depends
how much platform and it depends on if you have like a sprout social or
HootSuite a social media management tool using Facebook you can schedule and time
posts for free very easy Twitter and Instagram you will need a third
party vendor to schedule post I personally use HootSuite it’s really good I’m also
a modest cost I think that for an entire year for one user we paid a little over
$100 for it and from there you can track analytics scheduled posts it has a ton
of amazing features another question is what is the best way to interact with
Education USA if my school can’t afford to send me to Washington DC for your
forum I’d love to see you on our forum but I understand that not everyone can
attend we are doing more and more to try to reach out to again the whole swath of
US higher ed institutions the webinars are one attempt some of them will be
today we’ve done ones with sort of regional focuses so that’s a great
way to kind of get our REACs for the best information that’s current information
about recruitment and of the situation in their region we’re also doing a sort
of outreach event around the United States or sure just beginning we’ve done
one did one earlier in the year at the University of Wisconsin where we invited
institutions in that sort of region another one I believe it’s going to be
happening at the University of Alabama so that will be a chance for
institutions who are in that region to travel there and to meet with and hear
from the US State Department and let’s see so I think those are some really
great ways to connect if you don’t necessarily have all once you
sign up to our create a login on our website you also can check a box to
subscribe to our newsletter Katie and I produce a monthly newsletter with
lots of information again from our advising centers gives a sort of
compendium of all the different outreach events that are happening all the
different fairs fair tours forums all kinds of opportunities and finally we
send Education USA advisers come to the United States to attend other
professional conferences in the United States throughout the year so we’ve had
has had NAFSA that they annual NAFSA so we have a contingent from Education USA with REACs and advisers present we attend a whole alphabet soup of other
conferences NACAC and ICAC and all kinds of conferences so it’s very
possible that you’ll see Education USA represented and please go up and
introduce yourself and connect with our advisers and REACs there additionally
if you are interested in getting more connected with the advisers and other institutions we host training institutes for advisers so we invite
some advisers to come to us they spend a few days at a college campus and every
University and college is able to apply to host advisers and
again around those conferences where we bring these Education USA advisers from
around the world often beforehand or afterwards campuses are invited to host
our advisers so we will again we have next week is our big forum but you know
many of our advisers are traveling to campuses around the United States and
it’s a great way for our advisers to learn about your institution learn about
the institutions in your area we like to give them a broad exposure to you know
private institutions community colleges state universities etc and these
campuses the hosting advisors on your campus is a great way to build these
relationships so the advisers go home and they really know what your campus is
about really have a feel for it not all our advisers have actually studied in
the United States so these opportunities for campuses it’s are really really
crucial and influential in their professional development and it’s a
great opportunity for you to build awareness about resources at your
community and your nice your campus yes and just have a quick note that the
regional events that I had mentioned earlier at the Alabama State University
will be taking place in Montgomery Alabama on September 25th so again
please look out for information about that sign up for our higher ed
newsletter there will be information there and again it’s a great way to
connect with Education USA great so thank you very much for tuning
into our webinar and thank you very much yes
and our emails are up on the screen again so once again I’m Katie Stasa and
you can reach me at [email protected] thank you

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