-An applicant who had boasted on Facebook of his six-figure winnings from online poker – adding with a “smiley-face” emoticon that he had not yet declared this on his income tax return.
-An applicant who had generated a Tweet supporting legalization of street drugs.
-An applicant who had Tweeted inappropriate comments about Haitian earthquake victims.
-An applicant whose blog had featured a music playlist including several highly obscene titles.
-An applicant whose comments in a public forum for MBA applicants had openly disparaged students at two B-schools to which he was planning to apply.
In each case, says Bauer, the problems were found by online research analysts hired by his firm to find and examine exactly what’s written and where it appears. Then, the consultants advised the applicants on how to change, delete or mitigate the potentially damaging content.
SOCIAL MEDIA AUDITS MAY BE AVAILABLE ON AN ‘A LA CARTE BASIS’ FOR $95 A POP
Bauer’s firm does the audit as part of a comprehensive admissions consultation that costs between $4,300 and $6,700, depending on the number of applications a person wants to file. Bauer says he plans to offer the audit on an “a la carte basis priced at $95” later this year. “We already have a waitlist of interested applicants,” he says. An optional “scrub service” is priced according to the number and complexity of issues spotted during the audit.
On the flip side, the experts can also suggest opportunities where an applicant’s online presence can be expanded and improved to increase their chances for admission. Indeed, Kenan-Flagler’s Beisser says one applicant to the school began taking out Facebook ads targeted to officials at the business school. “The ad with a UNC logo was showing up on our personal Facebook pages,” says Beisser with a laugh. “He was accepted and the ads had a fair amount to do with it. Then, one of our current students noticed he had the exact same Facebook ad for Duke University. It made us a little less impressed, but he was a strong candidate, anyway.”