3 Ways to Leverage Your International Recruitment Tour: Conferences, Media (Social & Print), Alumni
It’s late summer, with just about a month before that endless intercontinental flight to the tour gateway. Viewbooks, shipped. Visas, check. Immunizations, ouch! There is still time to think about how to best leverage your remaining weeks in-county to achieve your goals of building brand awareness, increasing applications and enrolling best-fit students. Here are three ways to leverage the impact of your tour and boost results:
#1 Bookend the tour: regional conferences expand connections with local counselors
The number of English-medium international schools is booming, enrolling some 4.2 million students in over 8,000 schools globally. And since many of these “host country” international schools serve students focused on foreign degrees, many of the college counseling personnel at these institutions rarely, if ever, attend U.S.-based events (IACAC, NACAC, NAFSA, AACRAO etc.) – leaving a growing number of regional conferences to fill the gap. If you are willing to get involved, these events can provide outstanding networking opportunities: International ACAC Regional Institutes (China, UK, Africa this fall); CIS-ERCOS (Thailand); IC3 Conference in Mumbai (India, Southeast Asia, Middle East) hosted by UnivAssist, and APAIE (Taiwan) are several just to name a few. Adding a conference to the beginning or end of your tour can add tremendous value to your time in the region.
#2 Remember social media is key, but print media isn’t dead yet either
Every U.S. college has amazing stories to share. Talk to your institution’s communications team and see if there are any stories that could connect to your tour countries. Of course you want to get up to speed on the social media landscape of the tour countries, but also reach out to local (print and radio) media in the region where you are traveling. India, for example saw an increase in print media newspapers and magazines in 2015, with huge subscription rates. Alternatively, you can explore various ways to get additional promotion including paid advertising or working with local firms that specialize in public relations. A promotional story can go a long way in helping you gain valuable brand awareness and result in more personal interactions during your tour.
#3 Don’t forget your best brand advocates: connect with your enrolled students and alumni
If your college has enrolled students from your tour countries, why not build on these connections to enhance your visit? After all, they are local experts and (hopefully) outstanding advocates. Treat them for coffee, ask questions and above all listen. Don’t forget to also look up any alumni with local roots and/or expats working overseas. Many institutions are discovering the value of international alumni and either have or are creating methods of staying in contact. Your ability to access this data, and these potential supporters, can make all the difference in turnout. Schedule meetings with students and alumni. There isn’t any brochure or recruiter that will make a better case for your college than a happy current or former student. Tap this valuable network!
Have other suggestions? We would love to see your comments below.