Social Media Marketing in Education

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This survey and white paper, Social Media Marketing in Education, reveals why and how the education industry uses social media. The survey, issued by the Education Division of the Software & Information Industry Association, edWeb.net and MCH Strategic Data, offers insight into the social media tactics valued most by education executives.

Social media is growing rapidly in the education sphere. In a Survey of K-12 Educators on Social Networking and Content-Sharing Tools (2009), 61% of educators reported they had joined a social network. The education industry is joining a worldwide boom in social media spending—the Forrester U.S. Interactive Marketing Forecast 2009 – 2014 projects that social media spending will increase from $700 million to $3 billion by 2014.

Because of social media’s heightened role in education, the Education Division of SIIA initiated this survey to understand more about how the industry is benefitting from its use. The survey reveals that brand awareness is considered the most effective use of social media, followed by increased customer loyalty, market knowledge and insight, and providing customer support. Although marketing spend is often heavily focused on lead generation and high ROI efforts, lead generation scored lower in effectiveness for social media.

Though many organizations are seeing gains, the survey also raises awareness about the challenges of using social media in the education industry. The biggest challenge, according to the executives surveyed, is tasking staff with social media management. Demonstrating social media’s more indirect benefits and generating activity are other challenges faced by education industry organizations. “Rather than generate new leads, it is proving very effective at turning our existing customers into a community that educates us as a company and in turn markets us to their personal networks,” said one of the respondents.

The survey was conducted in February of 2011 via an online survey to SIIA Education Division members, edWeb.net industry contacts, MCH education industry clients, and C. Blohm & Associates clients. Completed surveys were received from over 180 education industry companies.