Radicalising the marketing of higher education: learning from student-generated social media data

This source preferred by Elvira Bolat and Helen O'Sullivan

Authors: Bolat, E. and O'Sullivan, H.

Editors: McLeay, F.



Journal: Journal of Marketing Management

Volume: 33

Issue: 9-10

Pages: 742-763

Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles

ISSN: 1472-1376

DOI: 10.1080/0267257X.2017.1328458

The social media landscape creates opportunities for higher education institutions (HEIs) to amplify psychological engagement with students and to increase influence impressions by following student(s)-to-student(s) conversations and stories. Evidence of understanding how HEIs can utilise student-generated social media data for HE marketing and branding purposes is underexplored. This paper adopts a netnographic research method to illustrate how social media artefacts, such as the ‘This Is Where I Study’ (TIWIS) Facebook page, created by students in the form of dialogues and content, can be analysed by HEIs to listen, engage further and influence students’ impressions. TIWIS illustrates that students’ engagement with social media platforms such as Facebook is dynamic in nature. It comprises behavioural expressions (manifestations and actions such as likes and shares as well opinion comments) and individuals’ experiences (subjective in nature stories and comments of personal experiences and views). Hence, netnographic analysis allows capturing actual behaviours via longitudinal ‘big data’ sets and support HEIs in proactive branding. Analysis of social media data demonstrates the value of encouraging and making accessible authentic conversations in order to create student-centred content.

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