The Use of Facebook as a Marketing Tool by Private Educational Institutions in Singapore

The Use of Facebook as a Marketing Tool by Private Educational Institutions in Singapore

H. K. Leng (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijtem.2012010102
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Abstract

With social network sites growing in popularity, many organisations have started to use this platform to market themselves. However, marketing on social network sites is different from traditional marketing. Its value lies in engaging members of the social network and generating shared cultural meaning of the advertised brand rather than promoting awareness of the brand to a large number of people. This is not apparent to marketers and as such, many organizations are not leveraging on this media tool effectively. This paper examines the use of Facebook as a marketing tool by private educational institutions offering degree programmes in Singapore and investigates the extent that these educational institutions are leveraging on this new marketing communications tool. The findings suggest that marketing on social network sites remains in its infancy. Educational institutions in Singapore have started to use social network sites as a marketing communications tool. However, as the majority of visitors were using social network sites as an extension to existing mediums for seeking information, there is clearly the potential for the educational institutions to move to the next level in leveraging on social network sites to engage its members and generating a shared cultural meaning of their brands.
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Introduction

Higher educational institutions have traditionally focused their attention on building a robust academic programme to draw students. However, due to growing competition, educational institutions have come to realise that they need to market themselves more aggressively to recruit and retain students (Newman, 2002).

Educational institutions have relied on various marketing communication tools to reach out to potential students. These include traditional marketing communication tools like advertisements in the mass media, direct marketing to school leavers, open house day and campus tours. When new technologies and marketing platforms emerge, educational institutions have also been quick to adopt them as part of their marketing communications (Kittle & Ciba, 2001).

In recent years, social network sites have grown exponentially in popularity, especially among young adults. Many organisations, including educational institutions, have seen the growth of social network sites as an opportunity to market themselves on this new platform. Marketing on social network sites is distinctively different from traditional marketing as social network sites are organised around people and their relationships. They allow for members to exchange information with each other and contribute to the collective making of meaning. The real value of marketing on social network sites thus lies in the ability to engage members and generating a shared cultural meaning of the advertised brand. However, many organisations do not realise that social network sites are different and continue to use traditional marketing tactics on social network sites.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent that private educational institutions in Singapore are using social network sites as a new marketing communications tool and the extent that they are leveraging on this medium to engage with students. The findings from this study will lead to a better understanding of the use of social network sites as a marketing tool among private educational institutions in Singapore.

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