Educators mull digital presence boost in China

Opportunities for digital marketing techniques to reach prospective students across China are “proliferating and developing” while the global pandemic continues, but educators should not rely on digital as their main recruitment channel, agents and recruitment specialists have clarified.

Utilising reliable platforms such as WeChat, Weibo, Baidu – along with trending options including Douyin (TikTok), Tencent QQ, Bilibili and XIAOHONGSHU – can help to increase brand awareness and, when used effectively, has the power to boost admissions by up to 25%, they have said.

However, speakers at a recent BONARD webinar also urged educators to continue working closely with agents and partners in the country, as it is a market where person to person trust is vital.

International Development Department director at China’s largest agency association BOSSA Chenxing Sang believe that “Most Chinese students apply through agents, it’s different from the rest of the world.”

However, speakers agreed on some benefits of digital marketing.

Done effectively, digital marketing can improve bookings and admissions anywhere between 5-15%, according to Igor Skibickij, BONARD COO. “If you do a very good thorough job – you have great content very frequently, very regularly, [which is] very engaging and attractive, it can probably go as high a 20-25%,” he said.

But it will not become the major recruitment channel, Skibickij continued.

“Schools are able to manage these campaigns themselves or they can employ experienced third parties”

“Digital marketing is certainly important for both educators and agents, in this time probably even more so,” he said.

“Person to person trust is so important in China that only agents or the counsellors [at the moment], are effectively in the position to create and relate in this way to help their students to apply overseas.”