ESM Digital's Higher Ed Marketing Blog

What’s New in Social Media Usage?

If you hope to recruit that next cohort of college freshman to your online and on-campus programs, get off Facebook!

Just kidding.

As much as you may have heard that the 18-24 year-old demographic is fleeing the platform for other channels, the truth is that 80 percent of those post millennial users are still on Facebook. Sure, they’re also on YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. But from a marketing perspective, Facebook remains a force to be reckoned with. Especially when you consider that more and more of your target’s parents are also on Facebook. You want to hit your target—and those who have the most influence on them if you want to recruit college students. And according to the most recent information from the Pew Research Center, Facebook has a lot of company. The survey of Social Media Use in 2018 looked at variety of social media use, frequency and reciprocity, noting that there is a lot of overlap of channels. That means a multichannel approach to marketing is more important than ever. But before we talk marketing strategy, let’s look at some of the data from the report.

American Adult Users are on:

  • Facebook 68%
  • YouTube 73%
  • Instagram 35%
  • Pinterest 29%
  • Snapchat 27%
  • LinkedIn 25%
  • Twitter 24%
  • WhatsApp 22%

Demographic 18-24 year-olds

  • YouTube 94%
  • Snapchat 78%
  • Instagram 71%
  • Twitter 45%

Users visit the site daily

  • Facebook 74%
  • Snapchat 63%
  • Instagram 60%
  • Twitter 46%
  • YouTube 45%

Interesting to note:

  • Pinterest remains more popular with women (41% use the site) than with men (16%).
  • LinkedIn is more popular among college graduates (50%) than those with just a high school diploma or less (9%).
  • WhatsApp is popular among international audiences and those in Latin America, but also with Latinos in the U.S. (49%).

Also of interest is that reciprocity.  The average American uses three of the eight major social media platforms that the report considered. If you take an integrated marketing approach, this is important to note as you need to know where your target spends its time. For example, if you’re trying to attract someone to an MBA program, LinkedIn is a good choice, but if you expect to stay on their radar, you’ll want to consider the other channels they visit. That’s why it’s good to note that 90 percent of LinkedIn users are also on Facebook. Overlap occurs across channels. Nearly the same amount of Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest users are also on Facebook. If you’re trying to recruit international students, it’s good to understand that more than 90 percent of WhatsApp users are on YouTube and 85 percent are on Facebook.

Social media data are hugely valuable for higher education marketing. But if it seems a bit complicated to you, it’s not to us. We live and breathe this stuff. Contact us today to discuss how you can best use social media for student recruitment.

~Linda Emma