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An Analysis Of Social Media Marketing In Higher Education

2117 words - 9 pages

From the first email being composed and sent in 1971 to the creation of Facebook in 1994, online communication strategies in higher education has changed tremendously (Bennett, 2013). There are increasing social channels to reach more diverse and widespread populations, and the vast array of internet-based tools continues to grow (Cruz, 2012). Social media has evolved into networks of knowledgeable people, working across time and space to make informed decisions and solve intricate problems (Bingham & Conner, 2010). Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, blogs and forums are all examples of social media tools that provide ways to engage with other people online and form long-term or short-term ...view middle of the document...

However some leadership at colleges and universities fail to grasp the significance of marketing through social media or invest in learning more about it. This leaves those institutions struggling to keep up with the growing social media communication trends and they eventually are left behind in the competitive marketplace. With the establishment of policies and procedures along with the implementation of best practices and strategies, the use of social media can have a positive beneficial effect in higher education. The lack thereof could lead to the misuse and ineffectiveness of social media by not using to its full potential.

Universities are utilizing social media to recruit and retain the evolving demographic of students. Long gone are the days of traditional postcards, letters, brochures, catalogs and posters. Even view books filled with images of smiling faces, fall foliage, and ivy-covered bell towers to amplify admissions and conversion yield are becoming a thing of the past (2012). Administrators in higher education are exploring new ways to reach prospective students and keep them engaged by using social media pathways such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and iTunes (Martin & Samels, 2012). A typical university undergraduate recruit is a high school student between the ages of 14 and 19. This age group, known as “digital natives,” is immersed in and exposed to technology, the Internet and social media often and at an early age (Liang 2010). Today’s prospective students get information about colleges and universities through researching social media content, exploring virtual 3-D campus tours, and watching student produced videos (Martin & Samels, 2012). In a higher education setting, social media can provides exciting learning and teaching tools to engage these digital natives. Social media can help faculty and students make connections to ideas, skills and concepts through the use of social media tools (O'Donovan, 2012).

Over the past five years, social media has remarkably forever transformed the university setting and will profoundly shape the higher education marketplace in the next decade (Martin & Samels, 2009). Social Media has become a widely used, relatively cheap medium on the rise, and academic institutions have begun to harness it to boost their marketing and recruiting efforts (Greenwood, 2012). According to a study conducted at UMass-Dartmouth Center in 2008, colleges and universities are adopting social media tactics more rapidly than Fortune 500 companies (McDonald, 2009). Understanding social media and taking advantage of its tools prove to be both convenient and cost saving. More leaders at academic institutions are beginning to take notice of the benefits of using social media to connect with their constituencies. According to a study done by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, college presidents are far more active on social media than corporate leaders. Over half of the college presidents...

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