Connecting communities: A case study of social media recruitment at three community colleges
Coble, Jessalyn Elizabeth
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In addition to recruitment pressures felt by all in higher education, community colleges have the unique challenge of communicating with students of all ages, interests, and academic levels, and doing so with limited staff and resources. Many recruiters have turned to social media as an important tool for reaching potential students. However, for community colleges with few staff, social media communication can be difficult and time-consuming. This study explores how community college administrators are using social media as a recruitment tool, and how this use aligns with students' needs and expectations. This two-part study employs uses and gratifications theory to guide qualitative interviews with the social media administrators at three Virginia community colleges and focus groups with current students at each of the colleges. This study takes a unique approach to theory by comparing the uses and gratifications of both the message creator and user. Social media administrators at the community colleges were found to use social media to gratify their awareness, recruitment, and reach/engagement needs. Students thinking about the recruitment process were found to expect community colleges' social media content to gratify their needs for socialization, discovery, and access. Administrators are meeting many of the students' reported social media recruitment needs but could use the data provided in this study to improve their social media efforts in a few emerging areas.
- Masters Theses