The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 22, 2008

DACC recruits through social networking

DANVILLE — Danville Area Community College — along with other institutions — face a dilemma with the youngest group of prospective college students — they don’t trust anything.

At least not marketing or advertising messages, anyway.

Most teens and young adults, according to marketing research, tend to follow friends’ advice on everything from fashion to iPods — and even where to go to school, rather than advertising or marketing messages.

So this summer, Danville Area Community College Marketing Director Lara Conklin decided to meet prospective DACC students where they spend a lot of their time — on social networking pages.

DACC now has its own facebook.com and myspace.com sites.

The pages seem to be working.

DACC, a male, single, 61-year-old Virgo, has 65 friends, according to Myspace. Facebook lists more than 200 friends, Conklin said.

The DACC accounts were added to the social networking sites a little over a month ago, so any direct marketing success as a result has yet to be determined.

“This is an ongoing campaign,” she explained.

For now, she’d like to use the site as a way to let 18-year-olds know the college is available — and useful — to them.

Myspace users who link up with DACC might get curious enough about the school to check out the school’s official Web site, which is a tool young adults do trust, Conklin said.

“People really trust a school’s Web site,” she said.

The DACC message is even better distributed peer-to-peer, she added.

In fact, most DACC “friends” sent requests to DACC to be friends just because their friends were already linked up.

Conklin is in charge of the site for now.

She fields many questions — some from young people wanting to know about the school, others from students who want to know when the bookstore opens this year.

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