The Role of Social Media in choosing higher education
Social media has really changed the way we think, behave, evaluate options and take important decisions. When I was considering continuing my studies and taking a post graduate degree, social media played a vital role in my decision.
The advent of new technologies and global internet penetration has necessitated the sudden change from the conventional communication methods between clients to an up-to-date approach that reaches a vast majority of people within a short time. Many Higher Learning institutions which include universities and colleges have now realized the immense potential of social media as a primary promotional and marketing tool. The level of interaction has significantly grown from the usual video and photo sharing interactions to useful interactions and engagements that connects the students to the learning institutions and opens the current students to networking opportunities.
Unlike in the past where little was done on social media, it is now officially accepted that social media is the primary, unlike secondary marketing tool. Half a decade ago, it was noted that over $ 900 million was spent on social media marketing alone. This rose drastically to over $1800 million 5 years later; a factor attributed to the success rate of this form of marketing.
There is a sudden increase in the number of social media sites which presents a plethora of options convenient to the varied number of users. Research has indicated over 200 social sites usable in different parts of the country. The Higher Learning Institutions display customized profiles in such sites that attract mass traffic who seeks to know the courses offered as well as the feedback of several people who have gone through such institutions. They can present the accurate, up-to-date information regarding the most recent activities taking place. Social media provides accurate feedback that shows the perception of the masses about the institution. The institutions inculcate the views expressed in their decision-making to improve the appeal and view of the institution by the public. The most known and widely used social media sites include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and MySpace. This connects a vast global population. Currently, there are over 700 million global users who are 18-24 years old. This shows over 75% usability, a reflection of a vast world’s population.
There is a direct correlation between the current levels of social media marketing and uptake of and choice of Higher Education. This means that efforts expended in online campaigns are directly linked to enrollment levels in higher learning institutions. This has also necessitated online training and courses that are done when the learner and the instructor are geographically separated.
The continued use of social media results in both positive and negative impacts. It is seen as a way of enforcing customer loyalty in both internal and external contexts. This also ensures that structural information that emphasizes the value of the quality of education is dispensed. This may lead to compromise on the good content since information is abundantly relayed.
Where there is a lot of direct information that is transmitted with proper interpretation, it may lead to good understanding and interpretation by the diverse audience.
Social media makes it possible to have immediate answers where a vast audience is reached within a short time. This necessitates speed and effectiveness that boost the level of adoption and usability of information relayed. It promotes word of mouth communication that fosters direct communication between customers. This also promotes voluntary transmission and sharing of information.