Journal of Organisational Studies and Innovation
Vol. 1, no.1, summer, 2014
The role of Twitter in conversations with students in UK universities –
current and prospective
University of West London*
Abstract: This study examines how Twitter can be used as an effective strategic marketing and communications tool for modern universities. The literature concerned with the changing
face of higher education including the idea that marketisation and the concept of the student as consumer. It is argued that modern UK universities have not yet fully adapted to the new
context of higher education in order to sustain their position as educational world leaders. The study investigates opportunities for the development of a bespoke marketing solution that
strengthens the values of higher education while boosting prospects for continuing growth for individual institutions.
Through netnographic investigation in three modern universities and comparison with three service industry organisations, the current use of Twitter is investigated. In developing a
better understanding of the current use of this channel, and exploring the potential based on observation of successful interaction, it is revealed that the university feeds use Twitter as a
push advertising promotional tool, while the comparison feeds demonstrate its use as a social engagement tool generating regular community interactions. The study concludes with a
proposed theoretical framework for using Twitter as a key tool for a more effective approach to marketing designed for universities.
Keywords: Social Media, Twitter, Higher Education, Netnographic.