The Role of Social Media in Creating and Maintaining Social Networks Including its Impact on Enhancing Competitive Positioning within the Education Sector

The Role of Social Media in Creating and Maintaining Social Networks Including its Impact on Enhancing Competitive Positioning within the Education Sector

Adam Raman (Kingston University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7401-1.ch011
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Abstract

Social media is being increasingly utilised within society as an interactive communication platform. It has revolutionised the manner in which organisations communicate with their stakeholders, from the old way of simply designing messages and transmitting them across a desired medium, described as a static, one-way communication channel. Communications are the means by which organisations achieve their strategic goals through influencing their stakeholders. Social media allows stakeholders to connect to one another in relational, interactional networks. This means that stakeholders can now interact with organisations and each other and have a greater influence on the outcomes of communication strategies, which was impossible with traditional media. Organisations have less power dictating communications to stakeholders who in turn have more power in co-creating communication with each other. Social media is likely to have a major competitive impact on higher education institutions and these institutions should be accounting for these changes in their future strategy development. This chapter explores how social media is being utilized in organisations.
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Issues Relating To The Strategic Planning Of Social Media With Higher Education Institutions

Parallel to the changes occurring in the fields of strategic management and marketing strategy, there has been a shift from a reliance on traditional media (print and television for example) to the widespread inclusion of social media (Hanna, Rohm, and Crittenden, 2011; Andrew and Galak, 2012) within integrated marketing communication strategies. Classical approaches to strategy are believed to be driving the planning of newer digital and social media strategies within organisations. Executives are believed to be explicitly or subconsciously using older, outmoded strategy frameworks for planning their social media or worse still, they are not using any strategy techniques at all and are simply being tactical. Several executives are also likely to be outsourcing their strategy development to external communication agencies who themselves are likely to be implementing outmoded approaches.

Although there are some theoretical suggestions regarding social media strategy (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; Weinberg and Pehlivan, 2011; Hanna, Rohm, Crittenden, 2011; Kietzmann et al., 2011), at present there appears to be no research into the appropriateness of the social media strategies that firms are actually creating and implementing.

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