Int. Education

One Bad Twitter 'Tweet' Can Cost you 30 Students

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Well….maybe not yet, but in the coming year if you are a private or international school you better be monitoring and using these new social tools to engage new students and families.

A Bloomberg report came out earlier this week titled: One Bad Twitter ‘Tweet’ Can Cost 30 Customers, Survey Shows.

A negative review or comment on the Twitter, Facebook or Youtube Web sites can lose companies as many as 30 customers, according to a survey by Convergys Corp.

Word of Mouth (WOM) is enigmatic - fairly straightforward and simple to understand yet elusive and difficult to engage, spread and sustain. Flickr ID: Intersection Consulting
Word of Mouth (WOM) is enigmatic - fairly straightforward and simple to understand yet elusive and difficult to engage, spread and sustain. Flickr ID: Intersection Consulting

Now…that’s the business world and if you work in a public school this might not affect you, unless you’re in a district that allows student choice…then it might be an issue.

But if you are a private school competing with other private schools this is an article that should have you thinking!

A customer review on one of the sites reaches an average audience of 45 people, two-thirds of whom would avoid or completely stop doing business with a company they heard bad things about, Convergys said, citing its own survey.

So let’s take an international school in, I don’t know, say Bangkok, Thailand. You start where most do at Google and do a quick search for Bangkok International Schools. Which returns you 10 results. You then click on the link that Google gives you that says “Local business results for International schools near Bangkok, Thailand” and you’re given a different list with addresses on Google Maps (Here’s the first issue…I know there are at least 50 international schools in Bangkok and only 10 show up on this list. Strike 1 for some schools).

There are no ratings, no comments, not much to go on here except links to the schools websites (missed opportunity not having comments or a rating on your Google Search results). Of course every school website looks great and can give you a broad overview of what the school is about. But as a parent, or a new student….you want more. You want to know what that schools like. So you head to YouTube, where a quick search for Bangkok International Schools, gives you a list of  5 star rated videos to watch.

One video I watch has the following comment:

Oh how I hate this school! == They’re just persauding people its not REAL!!!!

and it was left a month ago, I click on the user to find out that this is the only comment this user has made. In fact it looks like this person made the YouTube account just to leave the comment. Now…I start to worry about this school (strike 2!).

Social media is changing the way organizations communicate with their audiences. Flickr ID: Intersection Consulting
Social media is changing the way organizations communicate with their audiences. Flickr ID: Intersection Consulting

I click on another 5 star rated video that has been viewed over 1,000 times. The video is a pretty cool production by students at the school. You can watch it for yourself here. Not only that, but the comments are pretty good as well. You can tell that many were written by what I can assume to be students at the school. Now I’m liking this, students being creative and I have just narrowed down my search for a school.

Of course I’d then head to Facebook and do the same search and see what I find there, continuing to narrow down my search for international schools in Bangkok until I find what I feel is a good fit for me as a student, or for my son or daughter if I’m a parent.

Here’s what private schools and international schools who are in a competitive environment need to understand. Parents and students will come to your school website for an overview, but they are going to be influenced by what they find in social spaces as well. When I can talk directly to students at a school via Facebook, or watch a production on YouTube and read comments, that is going to play into my decision…and any administrator or school that doesn’t think it will….will find themselves, in short time, loosing students.

Take control of your online profile or someone else will!

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


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  7. Jeff Altman Reply

    Sounds to me like you’re grasping not only for straws, but the ability to believe you own hyperbole. As your audience, it’s my duty to inform you – you came up short.

    • Hi Jeff,

      I would love to hear more about why you think I missed the point. Always looking for feedback on my posts.

      My hope was to point out that social-media could/will have an effect on student enrollment in areas were competition for students is a factor. Here in Thailand for example we compete with other schools for expat students and I believe in the coming years if a school does not control its online profile and use it to send a positive message about the school it could cost schools tuition paying students.

      • Jeff, it seems to me that if someone is going to provide feedback of disagreement, then it is their responsibility to be a good bit more detailed in their position — or at the very least, provide a link to their own thoughts/blog.

        The only thing I disagree with is that public schools might also be affected by derogatory updates on Twitter or Facebook. Perhaps we don’t lose customers’ bodies, but if a student comes into my classroom expecting a boring lecture or an irritable teacher, then I’ve probably lost something valuable — their eager attention.

        — dave —

  8. Jeff, this a great post.  The line of reasoning makes such good sense.  Social networking is a great tool for promoting blogs and their business interests.  Those that don’t take advantage are missing the boat.  The down side is that “One Bad Twitter” does more harm than is should if the target is not proactive.  b

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