Higher Ed Marketing – Moving in the Right Direction?

I am passionate about the need for innovative, and integrated, marketing in higher education.  So I was encouraged when I read about a University of Massachusetts research study that found social media adoption in higher education has been soaring.  The study revealed several statistics to include a 66% adoption rate of blogging in colleges and universities that outpaces the Fortune 500’s adoption rate of 26%.  However, it was interesting to note that of the colleges and universities that are blogging, only 44% have developed policies to govern online communications.

Yesterday, I read a different perspective regarding social media in higher education from Karine Joly of collegewebeditor.com.  She noted recent research that found 75% of students and parents said they never or only rarely looked at college blogs.  So does it really matter that the adoption of blogging is rising in higher education, if our target market does not value blogging as an effective communications channel?  Such a finding highlights “a real need to go beyond the ‘social media checklist’ tactic and adopt a more strategic and measurable approach in higher education.”

Although it is certainly helpful to higher education marketers to understand which social media tools have been adopted across the field, it is of even greater value to understand which social media tools have been most useful to our various constituents (prospective students, current students, alumni, etc.)  Although the adoption of a social media channel might be a popular marketing tactic, it does not constitute strategic marketing.

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