Facebook: Usage in the Middle East Opportunities in Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention For Higher Education

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US Educational Group & Al Jamiat session presented at Boston OACAC 2010. Facebook research & data presentation for the Middle East - social media and its usage in higher education recruitment.
www.usegtours.com

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  • Intro, useg – recruiting company, consult on marketing to students in the middle east, work with clients on improving their overall brand in the region
  • We’re really going to mostly concentrate on the Middle East, so jordan, saudi, kuwait, bahrain, oman, uae, even though we do work in north africa & central asia.
  • Style of marketing today is tremendously different from what it was 5 years ago. You were a school on the cutting edge if you had an online application. That doesn’t cut it anymore. The students you meet in the middle east today, are extremely different from those from 10-15 years ago. They have a lot more access, a lot of marketing thrown at them – but of course not to the level of the domestic us student.
  • So what is your campus currently doing to recruit domestic students? Should we be on facebook and twitter? Well its not really about where you want to be, its not about the platform, its about WHERE IS YOUR AUDIENCE? 2 years ago, if we were sitting here, I would tell you “if you’re a community college, get onto myspace – that’s where your audience is”.
  • At this point, there was still little to no engagement by internaitonal admissions offices with the students in the MENA region on facebook or any social media outlet honestly. We’re talking about facebook today, but truthfully, this is not about a particular platform, its about engaging the students where they live and play.
  • From 6.2MM to 40MM users in Saudi Arabia , Lebanon , Jordan Egypt Kuwait Morocco United Arab Emirates Bahrain Palestine Qatar Tunisia Iraq Oman Turkey Syria Sudan Yemen Algeria Libya Azerbaijan Georgie Uzbekistan Kazakhstan
  • Style of marketing today is tremendously different from what it was 5 years ago. You were a school on the cutting edge if you had an online application. That doesn’t cut it anymore. The students you meet in the middle east today, are extremely different from those from 10-15 years ago. They have a lot more access, a lot of marketing thrown at them – but of course not to the level of the domestic us student.
  • Population of lebanon is 4MM – and 1MM are on facebook. That’s market penetration.
  • I left Egypt & Turkey off, because with a growth from 22million to XXX it throws
  • Style of marketing today is tremendously different from what it was 5 years ago. You were a school on the cutting edge if you had an online application. That doesn’t cut it anymore. The students you meet in the middle east today, are extremely different from those from 10-15 years ago. They have a lot more access, a lot of marketing thrown at them – but of course not to the level of the domestic us student.
  • Your target audience is on facebook – TODAY are you still mailing them viewbooks? are you waiting for your social media plan? are you concerned about losing control?
  • Ok, now what? Facebook is not your goal, its not your strategy. Its just part of the pie.
  • Your audience is there, Ultra targeted ads, Easy to control costs, Stay within budget, Measureable path
  • Create a FB page, make buy in, have students and admissions using the page, answering questions, etc. OR you just use it as a marketing tool, a website that you can generate leads from, have eyeballs at.
  • This data is based on an ad campaign in November of 2009
  • Target the Intensive English/ESL program Rewrite for each language – focus on main items students will find most appealing Keep sites in HTML/text for search engines to find Arabic search engine optimization & adwords purchases MUCH easier/cheaper than English Optimize landing page to create student engagement & leads
  • Student Bloggers – an invaluable tool in building emotional connection for international students Facebook Page aimed at incoming students, require all staff access to answer questions and build discussions Encourage students to write articles for magazines aimed at international students College visits and tours are the best way to clinch the student and connect them to your school.”
  • Understanding Use current trends to create emotional connection Expect you to care about them as an individual Market by understanding culture
  • Facebook: Usage in the Middle East Opportunities in Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention For Higher Education

    1. 1. US Educational Group & Al Jamiat Usage in the Middle East Opportunities in Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention For Higher Education
    2. 2. Regional Based Session <ul><li>Sponsored students & Government scholarships: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Saudi Arabia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Qatar </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oman </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bahrain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kuwait </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>United Arab Emirates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Iraq </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Libya </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kazakhstan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Azerbaijan </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. the recruitment game has changed
    4. 4. Social Media in Higher Education <ul><li>Tools to help you </li></ul><ul><li>Recruit ● Engage ● Retain </li></ul><ul><li>A younger audience looking for information in non-traditional spaces </li></ul>Social Media in Higher Education
    5. 5. relationships are what matter today especially in the Middle East, a culture built on relationships
    6. 6. social media usage
    7. 7. July 2009 facebook was the #1 most visited site in Lebanon & Tunisia
    8. 8. July 2010 facebook is the #1 most visited site in Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco & Indonesia
    9. 10. July 2010 facebook is the #2 most visited site in Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, Palestine, Sudan, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Libya
    10. 11. Beirut, Lebanon Beirut, Lebanon
    11. 12. 500% increase in total facebook users in the Middle East in the last 12 months
    12. 13. wow
    13. 14. 200% increase in total facebook users in just Saudi Arabia in last 12 months from 780K to 2.4Million
    14. 15. This is your target audience! 780,000 users
    15. 16. 800,000 total 2,385,740 users
    16. 19. why this sudden growth?
    17. 20. Explosive Growth <ul><li>Huge improvements in web-infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Strong investment in cell-satellites </li></ul><ul><li>Less ability for government censorship online </li></ul><ul><li>New way for separated population to interact </li></ul>
    18. 21. your future student is on facebook
    19. 24. you need a strategy
    20. 26. What is your Goal? <ul><li>Increase diversity in international student body </li></ul><ul><li>Grow students from particular part of the world </li></ul><ul><li>Reach and connect with potential students you don’t travel to </li></ul><ul><li>Brand awareness </li></ul>
    21. 28. What is your Strategy on facebook? <ul><li>Increased interaction between alumni & students </li></ul><ul><li>Engage prospective students before they are on campus </li></ul><ul><li>Foster a warm environment for incoming students </li></ul><ul><li>Generate leads </li></ul><ul><li>Increase traffic to specific program websites </li></ul><ul><li>Quantify $ spent vs. Inquiries generated </li></ul>
    22. 29. can it work?
    23. 30. Iraqi Student Outreach <ul><li>Targeted advertising & articles aimed at Iraqi students </li></ul><ul><li>Months of Search Engine Optimization and article seeding </li></ul><ul><li>Used new media to create buzz & interest </li></ul><ul><li>Small ad campaign to niche market – total cost PPC $130 </li></ul>
    24. 31. <ul><li>Facebook Page created 1 year ago </li></ul><ul><li>Targeting Iraqi students currently living in Iraq </li></ul><ul><li>Ages between 17-28 </li></ul><ul><li>Eligible for Scholarship </li></ul><ul><li>47 Engaging conversations this week </li></ul><ul><li>1 ad + Facebook Page request generated over 120 unique student leads </li></ul>Results?
    25. 32. Dates: July 27 – August 26, 2009
    26. 35. Al Jamiat Traffic Growth
    27. 36. yay
    28. 37. Great results, low dollar campaign, highly measurable, immensely successful, continued organic growth
    29. 38. Time consuming, many questions to answer, changing campaign to adjust to goals continually
    30. 39. Changing Expectations for Information <ul><li>Millenials in the Middle East are looking for </li></ul><ul><li>Engagement </li></ul><ul><li>Choice </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Personalization </li></ul>“ All the websites look the same, its confusing” - Parul K. “ I would like to see the basic information for English programs to be in Arabic” - Khaled S. “ Sometimes it doesn’t seem like the college understands what I am looking for culturally” - Mariam A. “ All the websites look the same, its confusing” - Parul K.
    31. 40. The time to reach these students is NOW <ul><li>Minimal competition for keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Audience still not immune to online marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Inexpensive ad campaigns can result in strong branding </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent partner program to physical & traditional recruiting </li></ul>
    32. 41. we want to talk to you! <ul><li>Wassan Humadi </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>614.437.9955 </li></ul><ul><li>twitter.com/aljamiat </li></ul><ul><li>facebook.com/aljamiat </li></ul>Joseph Humadi [email_address] 617.923.6024

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