1 Universitat de Valencia (SPAIN)
2 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 18-21
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
As the World Economy experiences increased globalization and mankind presses further into the Digital Age, the ways people communicate with each other both privately and publically have begun to evolve as well, primarily due to the advancement of technology; specifically, the Internet. Among various forms of interactive communication, social networking sites (SNS) are more and more popular in a diverse range of industries. SNS are a group of websites that provide people with the opportunity to create an online profile and to share that profile with others (Barnes, 2006). Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter and many more followers enable users to create online user profiles and virtually networked communities. SNS have set a new precedent in the online world, and have had great influence on how many use and interact with the Internet, both privately and commercially. Experian reports that 66% of the 239,893,600 Internet users in the United States are now utilizing various SNS, a 46% increase from 2007. Not surprisingly, this trend has not been lost on businesses or consumers, and consumer-buying behavior has also begun to go through changes. The online website has become an essential aspect of companies’ marketing communications tools, and SNS have integrated themselves as crucial additions to these sites. Today, it is rare for a company not to be represented on at least one of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or LinkedIn. Business is considered completely out of touch with modern consumers if they are not already using SNS in their daily marketing operations. College students are also increasingly sharing their lives online through SNS (Timm and Duven, 2008).
However, little insight can be found in academic research on educational market. Higher education institutions are already experimenting with social media marketing, but the number of studies on social media marketing and their effectiveness is still limited (Constantinides and Stagno, 2011). In an increasingly competitive market, top-ranked universities are eager to use social media marketing and, in particular, SNS to capture potential students and researchers as these tools enable them to create an enormous network in which members transmit and exchange information through electronic word-of-mouth. This seems to be a reasonable and necessary strategic move for top-ranked universities. Economic crisis as well as aging have been affected the higher education market, as the number of prospective students may decline in a mid or long run.
Our study aims to provide an insight into the use of SNS for Higher Education. In addition, this study offers a content analysis to examine SNS employed by top US MBA programs. Relevant categories are chosen with regard to the frequency of various interactive tools and innovativeness in communication strategies. The content of information exchange via Facebook, MySpace and Twitter is classified according to the predetermined coding categories. Our preliminary results of a selected sample schools indicate that top-ranked MBA schools are actively engaged in SNS in order to provide rational, innovative and informative content, while generating an extensive network of students and faculty members.
Social networking, social media marketing, post-graduate education.