Guest Post on UK Web Focus

One of the areas I’m interested in when it comes to higher ed web development and social media is how these technologies are being used in colleges and universities around the world.

Brian Kelly, who runs UK Web Focus, asked me to blog about how we’re using technologies like Facebook here in the US when it comes to how we market our colleges. You can read my post here.

I hope to learn more about how schools in the UK and Europe use technologies at the Institutional Web Management conference coming up at the end of this month, where I’ll be presenting (though I’m presenting on the cloud and not social media.)

1 thought on “Guest Post on UK Web Focus”

  1. Thanks Mike for the great article on UK Web Focus … You really highlighted the ways social networking (specifically Facebook) can help universities connect with their target groups.

    Although you didn’t mention these regions specifically, I thought I would update you on the progress of Middle East and Gulf region schools who have not yet embraced social networking as a viable marketing tool.

    In fact, many higher education institutions in these two regions have not embraced marketing … period!

    As a Canadian working for the German Jordanian University (there’s a joke in there somewhere …), I have been conducting extensive research into the marketing practices of all Middle Eastern and Gulf universities (public and private) and have found that there is a tremendous lack of understanding when it comes to marketing in general.

    I am attempting to bring a “western” approach to marketing at my university, and recently completed an agressive strategy that includes a strong presence on major social networking sites, and a completely re-designed website that will be unlike anything in this region. This plan was initially met with resistance such as, “We don’t do things like that here,” but I am starting to change some attitudes.

    Our Facebook Fan Page is currently under construction, and our Twitter page (@GJUniversity) has been operating for about two weeks now. We have completed a company profile on LinkedIn, and we have applied for a YouTube education channel. In addition, there are several Arab social networking sites that we will be using in the near future.

    Although I didn’t plan for this to happen, it looks like my work here is “blazing the trail” for other institutions in these regions as they struggle to keep prospective students from studying abroad. I have already been approached by a few schools who are interested in implementing similar strategies.

    That being said, universities in the U.S. and Canada may want to consider targeting Middle Eastern and Gulf students as they are very motivated to study outside these regions, and can usually afford the higher tuition fees. If you’re interested in a list of Arab social networking sites, send me an email and I will forward you a list of the best ones.

    Take care, and I look forward to reading your next post.

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