Factors Influencing HEIs to Adopt Social Media as a Marketing Communication Tool
Keywords:Social Media Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Outbound Marketing, Marketing Communications, Higher Education Marketing
This research aims to identify the factors influencing Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to adopt Social Media (SM) for marketing communication. The research was conducted through a qualitative study by interviewing SM managers of selected Pakistani HEIs. Data was analyzed using NVivo 11 to identify emerging themes. The findings revealed several internal and external factors encouraging HEIs to adopt SM marketing. Internal factors reflected the internal dynamics or beliefs within the HEIs that encouraged them to use SM for their marketing communication, whereas external factors were environmental changes, not in direct control of HEIs, but believed to contribute towards their decision to use SM. The internal factors included the belief of applicants, increased interest of senior management towards SM, perception of cost-effective promotional tool, induction of young staff, perception of SM as a modern communication tool and move towards paperless communication. The external factors included SM preference as a mode of communication, declining value of traditional marketing communication tools, E-Life inclination, presence of competitors & unofficial SM accounts of HEIs and their self-driven nature. This study draws focus towards the underlying intentions of HEIs for their SM presence and compares these motivations with other organizations. This has enabled filling in the gaps in the literature regarding the roots of SM marketing in the context of HEIs. From a practical perspective, the findings of this study will enable HEIs to compare their SM motives with other industries. A major difference found was the absence of motivation on the part of HEIs to use SM. This is in contradiction to other industries that put relationship building with customers as one of the primary motives to use SM.
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