September 18, 2013

Will High School Students Get LinkedIn?

Sep. 18, 2013 at 07:00 AM | By Chris Fait | Comment Count

Last week, LinkedIn launched the latest component to their successful professional networking platform, University Pages. According to LinkedIn, University Pages exist for the sole purpose of helping students transition from high school into fulfilling careers. Of course this is all made possible through LinkedIn’s interconnected realm of resumes, executive influencers, professional groups, and job postings. Seems exciting right?

There’s no denying that - for students, parents, and institutions alike - the idea of another career mapping network where students can cultivate budding relationships with admissions reps and alumni is tempting. The hook however, as Arik Hanson of Communications Conversations put it first, “ . . . even the best tool isn’t worth much if the kids don’t show up.”

Quantcast, a media measurement service for advertisers, reports that LinkedIn’s current users are male and middle-aged. In fact, roughly 65 per cent of all LinkedIn members are between the ages of 25 and 54. So how does LinkedIn plan to uproot the average 17 year-old from their preferred social network/s?

Social Network Users By Age - Pew Research

This brings to mind a few questions concerning the future of University Pages. Doesn’t the world already have this with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest? Yep. Will students take the bait? I’m not sure. Most importantly, can students understand the value of being active on LinkedIn when many 30, 40, and 50 year-olds don’t? Admit it. Who hasn’t seen the occasional mysterious profile – no picture, no work experience, just a massive list of randomly useless skills?

the Pros and Cons of testing out Linkedin’s shiny new toy.

Pros

  • Admissions and enrollment management staff should be very familiar with the layout and using LinkedIn. If not, here’s an overview of how University Pages will work.
  • Today, students build resumes and secure internships earlier than in years past. Networking in a professional space can only help students learn the value of cultivating strategic relationships as well as learn about industry pundits making waves in their desired career fields.
  • University Pages might be a more appropriate platform to introduce professors, current students, admissions, and alumni already active on Linkedin to prospects and parents.
  • Students and parents can gain access to information that might not exist on the institution’s website or other social networks. For instance, general job placement stats of alumni.

 

Cons

  • Easy. Traditionally aged high school students aren't using LinkedIn.
  • How much bandwidth do students have for social media?
  • Will LinkedIn allow for competitor schools to advertise on other University Pages?
  • Will this continue to dilute the already noisy college search field? How can students zero in on the information that is most relevant and important to them?
  • How can will colleges and universities track their ROI?

 

Can schools find success on LinkedIn if students aren’t there yet?

It’s all about having a plan. Before creating a University Page ask yourself:

  • How does this fit into my overarching communications strategy?
  • Is my audience here. If not, how can I attract them and is it worth the extra effort?
  • What resources will I need to launch and maintain this initiative?
  • What type of content will we create, repurpose, or curate?
  • What metrics will I use to evaluate my success?
  • How will I communicate my wins and losses to stakeholders?

Lately, the buzz in admissions and enrollment marketing has definitely been centered around using University Pages for prospecting. Not only are University Pages another resource to connect students with your institution but, most importantly, they represent a golden opportunity for students to begin thinking about their career interests and goals sooner and more substantively. 

We want to know. Is your school interested in building a University Page on LinkedIn? Comment below or subscribe to Hobsons Education Blog by submitting your e-mail in the field above. 

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