On Tuesday we looked at the use of telecounseling in admissions, today let’s talk about its companion, or perhaps its replacement, chat rooms and instant messaging. I have been a director of admissions at a couple of institutions where we made great use of chat rooms and instant messaging with our prospective students. I believe both of these methods can, and should take place in structured recruitment campaigns or as ad-hoc discussions.
In a formal structure, an admissions office may announce to prospective students, via their website or emails, that staff, faculty, parents, and/or even current students will be available for a “chat” session or “instant messaging” with prospective students during specified days and times. During those sessions the staff log into specific accounts and then respond to conversations and topics brought up by prospective students or their parents. I have had great success in scheduled chats by faculty members and financial aid officers. One very helpful hint is to have your chat or instant message sessions record back into your CRM, by doing so your admissions staff can easily follow-up with the prospective student. Not all CRM will allow this automatically, so you may need to work with your IT/IS office to set this feature up.
Are you using chat rooms or instant messaging? If so how do you structure your sessions?
I have been finding a few schools moving from a formal chat session to the use of Twitter. These schools are setting up specific twitter chat hashtags for prospective students to use 24/7 and I have also noticed some colleges and universities setting up a specific time to tweet using their twitter hashtag. Have any of you had success using a chat session on Twitter?
I want to hear about your use of chatting in any form, comment here or send me a tweet at @tammylyoung or @twgplus.