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The importance of “positive social encounters” and how to take them online

Time and time again, studies have shown that peer-to-peer support is crucial for student recruitment. Students are more likely to choose an institution when they have had authentic, positive social encounters with existing students.

Our partners at the University of South Australia understood this, and already had a successful ambassador scheme with current students speaking to prospectives via telephone campaigns and events. But the University was seeking a platform that would appeal to the digital-native Gen Z.

As Carly Bell, Team Leader: International Admissions Conversion, said:

“Students are moving towards online chat, and this is more comfortable for them than face-to-face or over the phone. They want to speak at a time that suits them.”

Unibuddy was the perfect solution to engage with prospects through the medium that Gen X are most familiar with. The University implemented the platform with a single line of code and around 20 existing ambassadors from the institution. Training those ambassadors did not present any challenge. Carly said: “We already had a team of ambassadors so it was very easy to implement – it was just an add-on to the training we were already doing.”

Ambassadors were quick to adapt to the platform and didn’t need too much guidance. Carly said: “It was easy for them to jump on board – they’re all young and very tech savvy and the platform is easy to use. The conversations they are having are very similar to the conversations they have over the phone or face-to-face.”

The University is currently using:

  • Popcards on key student life pages, to engage website visitors and increase clickthrough to Unibuddy.
  • The carousel on its international students page – a key page in the university architecture for a targeted demographic – to showcase a selection of ambassadors in a simple format, and seamlessly integrating with the site’s existing design.
  • Business cards with the Unibuddy URL to give out to prospective students at events.

And in just a matter of weeks, the results were clear. The University saw over 100 new leads, one of whom has already gone on to submit an application. Carly said: “I was taken aback by the amount of engagement given we are only just starting to push it. Students are already choosing to engage with it.”

Unibuddy helps students thrive through sharing their experiences, effortless technology and the smart application of data.

Together, the platform and student ambassadors provide an outlet for an institution’s authentic voice, a deeper insight into the market’s motivations and foster a sense of belonging – even before applying.

Unibuddy is working with 100 institutions across the world, optimising conversion throughout the student application cycle, from lead generation through to enrolment, with some impressive results. But don’t just take our word for it. Have a look at and find out what some of our partners say.

If you’d like to know more about Unibuddy’s peer-to-peer platform get in touch on or book a demo.

About the author

Niall Mullins, Customer Success Manager

Niall has 360° experience working across departments within student recruitment and marketing, both as a student ambassador and an international admissions and recruitment manager. He joined Unibuddy as Customer Success Manager in October 2017, promoting the best practice use of Unibuddy and helping our partners maximise their benefit and ROI.

Niall is avid morning spinner and in his spare time he likes to get out of London and go hiking along with other adventurous activities.

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