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Schools Use Facebook Places to Recruit Students

Lori Johnston | November 9, 2010

I’ve been noticing more and more college students updating Facebook by letting their friends know whether they’re at a local Mexican restaurant, a certain campus building, or elsewhere around town.

It turns out that one college is promoting the use of Facebook Places on campus, and it’s not just because it wants friends to hang out together.

Instead, the University of Kentucky wants students to check in to spots on campus in hopes that the name of the school will keep popping up on the Facebook news feeds of friends and family members in high schools, a school official told Advertising Age. The school has placed wooden pointer signs, resembling the tab in the Facebook Places logo, on campus to encourage students to check in.

The school’s Facebook Places info page also focuses on how it wants to protect students’ privacy and shows students how to adjust their settings to that only friends know. The privacy issue has some students and even groups like the ACLU concerned, however.

University of Kentucky student Kelsey Hayes, vice president of the student body, says: “I think the way UK is promoting Places is pretty cool. It’s unique, and it will hopefully get students, especially freshmen and those new to campus, to engage with each other. It’s also a great way to help get them acquainted with campus.”

You have to give University of Kentucky credit for noticing another Facebook trend and trying to use it to reach out to potential students. The main question is: Will seeing a school’s name on your Facebook news feed make you more curious about the university of college?

–Lori Johnston

Lori Johnston

Lori Johnston is a freelance writer based in Athens, Ga. She is a former Associated Press reporter and has contributed to many publications, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle, and People magazine. A 1995 graduate of the University of Georgia, Johnston also serves as an adjunct professor in the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • “Will seeing a school’s name on your Facebook news feed make you more curious about the university?” The goal is not just to get people to notice the page but to get people talking about what UK is doing. Just by my commenting on it, I for one, am already engaged and when someone else sees my comment they will be also. That’s the power of social media marketing at work.