University of Coimbra (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 5770-5774
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.1399
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
One of clearest ways of explaining what changed in the last few years is the change from going online to being online. Permanent connectivity changed people’s behaviors and believes. It’s a cultural shift, as Jenkins explained: convergence occurs not on peoples’ phones, but “within the brains of individual consumers and through their social interactions with others” (2006, p.3).

In this new hybrid media ecology, Internet enabled new forms of production and consumption. Convergence was all about reinterpreting these classical forms, following Toffler’s lead (1980). The collective nature of consumption was argued precisely by Jenkins (2006), based on the role of social media and the networks empowered by them. Hence, today the new receiver interacts with people, institutions and brands in different ways that where enabled by these tools of social communication.

Marketing also changed alongside this process. As Kotler, Kartajaya and Setiwan explain, Marketing 3.0 reflects “the era of participation, the era of the paradox of globalisation and the era of the creative society” (2011, p. 19) by assuming the consumer as human being in a complex context.

Higher Education Institutions (HEI) have been facing these challenges and incorporating social media tools in articulated communication strategies. Institutional communication and branding had already become major concerns to higher education (Molesworth, R. Scullion & E. Nixon, 2011) ever since students were transformed into consumers. Today, in a highly competitive context, social media and social networking sites are key features in HEI’s online communication.

On this study we focus on the Portuguese case and analyse the presence and dynamics of the use of digital tools, particularly Facebook, for institutional communication and branding of HEI. Higher Education in Portugal has been highly constrained by decreasing financing from the State and a dropping birth rate (Lira, Gonçalves, & Marques, 2015). Therefore, recruiting students through differentiation has become more vital than ever.

The empirical study analyses the HEI (N = 15) that compose the Council of Rectors of the Portuguese Universities, using quantitative and qualitative methods. From the “device-centric” perspective, datasets were extracted from university’s Facebook pages within a 6-month period (April - September 2018), using Netvizz application. Content, visibility and interactivity metrics were analised and combined with content analysis.

The results suggest different profiles based on the type of content publication and that presence needs to be consistent with activity so that there can be higher visibility.
Higher education, social media, branding, Portugal.