TRENDS IN THE ONLINE COMMUNICATION OF UNIVERSITIES: SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT STRATEGIES USED IN HIGHER EDUCATION IN EUROPE
SNSPA Bucharest (ROMANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 17th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2023
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:While providing quality education is the main aim of universities that want to achieve success, it is not the only requirement for these institutions nowadays. Building reputation, gaining visibility and communicating with different stakeholders are mandatory for modern universities, which strive to remain competitive on the educational market. While developing efforts to accomplish strategic objectives in higher education institutions, social media has proven to be among the most effective tools, being used as a way to communicate with current and prospective students, attract financial support or engage with the professional industry (Lund, 2019; McAllister & Taylor, 2007; Williams & Omar, 2014). Previous studies investigated the online communication of universities, focusing on the variations of engagement metrics in relation to factors such as the type of content published or the format chosen for social media posts (Fähnrich et al., 2020; Lund, 2019). Therefore, by using a quantitative content analysis, the current paper explores the content strategies used in European universities in their social media communication. The scheme of analysis used in this study was built in order to identify the preferences of universities regarding the format of postings and the categories of content posted on their social media channels (among which Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the most frequently used). The main findings of this study emphasize the particularities of social media communication in higher education and identifies patterns that could be used in the effective online communication of universities with their publics.
 Fähnrich, B., Vogelgesang, J., & Scharkow, M. (2020). Evaluating universities' strategic online communication: how do Shanghai Ranking's top 50 universities grow stakeholder engagement with Facebook posts?. Journal of Communication Management, 24(3), 265-283. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCOM-06-2019-0090.
 Lund, B. (2019). Universities engaging social media users: an investigation of quantitative relationships between universities’ Facebook followers/interactions and university attributes. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 29(2), 251-267. https://doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2019.1641875.
 McAllister, S. M., & Taylor, M. (2007). Community college web sites as tools for fostering dialogue. Public relations review, 33(2), 230-232. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2007.02.017.
 Williams Jr, R. L., & Omar, M. (2014). Applying brand management to higher education through the use of the Brand Flux Model™–the case of Arcadia University. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 24(2), 222-242. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2014.973471.
Keywords: Higher education, content strategy, social media communication, online engagement.