As per the Global Standards Report 2019, digital marketing has become a pivotal part of higher education. Through successive social media campaigns, this has captured global attention in recent decades. The birth of the internet in the late 1960s and thereafter its exponential use by the millennials have contributed positively towards integrated learning. Higher Education institutes across the world are now using social media campaigns or digital marketing skills to reach their targeted audience in time. From application to enrolment, from induction of course to regular curriculum, from in-situ to ex-situ communication, and from placement to alumni meets everything is directly or indirectly associated with digital marketing.
The growth of social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and What’s app have increased the global reach towards social education while some professional networking sites like Linked In, Outlook and Gmail have inculcated a sense of professionalism among the intellectual class.
With extensive use of social media platforms, the department of higher education is also experiencing a period of great change. Alteration in student tuition fees structure, deregulation of poor teaching standards, value for money trends towards large scale marketing, more capitalist approach and birth of consumerism in education are a number of changes being observed in Higher Education Institutes (HEIs).
This rapid adoption of social media with steep growth in portable devices has led to the promotion of Digital Marketing in Higher Education.
Promotion and Admission Process:
The role of digital marketing in higher education starts from the very initial point of promotion of services to meet the process of admission. Effective planning and strategic brand management requires more than traditional advertisements and marketing techniques. Communicating a brand successfully to the customer is a real challenge today.
Digital Marketing and social media have become an important tool today. It can influence a student’s decision by putting a stronger picture in his/her mind. Students usually prefer social media and digital marketing platforms to research various institutions before getting enrolled.
Zinch Cloud Services Report 2014 found that about 68% students globally used digital marketing services and social media campaigns to reach their desired institution. It includes 38% schools while the rest 62% search has been done for universities/higher institutions.
On Campus Engagement:
After getting enrolled to an institution, use of social media platforms and digital marketing comes at the forefront in the form of a bigger picture. From posting an assignment to sharing a knowledge session, from conducting an online test to uploading the feedback, from hosting of blogs to creating online event pages everything is digital today.
These are the strategies which often comes under digital marketing. Gone are the days when teachers used to rub boards again and again to forward a concept. Today they can upload or share a bundle of resources within a very stipulated time with utmost ease.
Digital Marketing techniques has increased the intensity of engagement between the student and faculty community. They can access each other at any point of time to resolve the misinformation part. This two-way communication has always led to a creative, thoughtful and lively culture of engagement within the institute.
Placement and Career Counselling:
Education has its roots and branches in almost every sector but the primary objective of education is career building. During initial years students remain focused towards subjective knowledge but as they approach towards completion of courses their horizon multiplies a number of times.
They learn the attributes of professional profile building, job hunting, following targeted organizations, participating in professional groups, showcasing knowledge and interest and establishing an institutional image through social media and digital marketing campaigns.
Many digital platforms like LinkedIn, Naukri.com, Gmail and outlook provides a bunch of technical support to a number of aspirants in hunting their desired career options.
With Digital Marketing, Career Counselling Cells and Placement agencies are acting as the bridging agents to introduce fresh as well as experienced talent to the corporate world.
Alumni Contacts and Professional Networks:
Alumni are the brand ambassadors of their institutions. Building positive relationship with them can benefit the institute socially, academically and professionally.
With digital platforms like social media, the HEIs can form Online Alumni Associations or groups which shall be helpful in keeping a continuous engagement with their alma-mater.
Keep them up-to-date regarding ongoing development and changes at institute. Acknowledge their endeavours by keeping a track of their activities.
Building a strong network through internet marketing and social media campaigns can harness the power of alumni. They can offer expert mentorship, active placement sources, career related guidance and can also help in fund raising activities.
Proposed Framework for HEIs:
Proposed Framework includes a set of activities from very initiation to campus engagement and then to long term relations as alumni associations.
The first activity includes promotion and admissions. Through digital marketing it can be done easily by launching campus tours and FAQs with the help of platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, You-Tube, Instagram and Chatbots.
The second activity includes on campus engagement. Through digital marketing skills it can be channelized properly by sharing resource material, conducting discussion forums and providing feedbacks with the help of Learning Management systems, What’s app, Blogs and online conferencing.
The third activity includes placement and career development. In this professional profiling and job hunting can be done very effectively through digital marketing tools. HEIs can use digital platforms like LinkedIn, Naukri.com, Quora, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo and Twitter to meet the purpose.
The last activity includes Alumni contact and networking to support mentoring, career guidance and fund-raising activities. Digital Marketing with the help of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Gmail can help in building strong networks by managing online alumni associations.
Digital Marketing is a boon for Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) today. Through digital diligence and social media frameworks it can open a round of opportunities in building stronger networks around the globe. Integration of Global Institutes to harness better sources of knowledge can benefit the student community on a larger scale. It can instil professional values along with academic learning in parallel. Specified choice of digital marketing tools can bring focused attention for a particular purpose. It can avoid unnecessary budgets and efforts in dealing the crisis. Its global affordability and an efficient reach in a given set of time is nothing less than a revolution today!!
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