IN CONVERSATION: The ROI of Social Media in Academia Has Gone Up Significantly
“There are several certifications that are now available across the globe and when a student is encourage to undergo those certifications those are also on online platforms and professional”
ASMA: Is social media changing the way academia is operating now as it used to operate earlier?
Bhupendra Mishra: Of course, it is changing the way academia operates now a lot actually and I would divide my answer into 2 sections, so 1 section is social is certainly changing the way we teach the subjects i.e. the course content that we have in our PGDM programs and the 2nd part would be the way social media is changing our approach or rather our approaching the students in the areas of admission and alumni relations etc. so my answer to this question is surely it is changing and the 2 specific points where it has changed a)the course content has changed, so earlier we did not have any subject teaching social media marketing or marketing using social media, now that is part of our curriculum in many of our streams or specifically in marketing etc. and also the processes that we employ for admissions or alumni relations etc. that has changed a lot because social media is used extensively in those areas I see.
ASMA: What is the level of impact social media has created on academia?
Bhupendra Mishra: That you have a level of impact social media has created on academia, so the impact is huge in terms of course itself that I mentioned and in the terms of impact on the way we conduct our activities. I will reframe from calling ITM a business organization because we are in education and education is not business but if u consider that ITM is a profit making organization, right from our students acquisition to maintaining our relationship with our students once they graduate from our institute and as they progress in their life and career. The primary medium of staying in touch with students used to be earlier, it was not based on social media so there was no Facebook page, no LinkedIn method of connecting etc. and if you go further back no emails used to send so the level of impact is huge.
ASMA: What are the different facets, where your organization uses social media?
Bhupendra Mishra: Yes, I have already mentioned some of those social media and more specifically Facebook and LinkedIn we use for reaching out prospective students who require advise or clarification about our institute and various courses. if you include social media the website we have or the subscription that we have taken from some leading sites where management students are known to frequent such as PagalGuy.com etc so we ensure that we have presence there. Additionally we monitor various blogs that are written on various sites and we make sure that we have adequate representation there. Additionally, from time to time our teachers and faculty members they publish research papers and white papers essentially to let the student community know what they should and the various work and research that the faculty members are doing.
ASMA: What kind of pedagogical improvements social media has caused in your organization?
Bhupendra Mishra: We never used to have one, but now we do have a full semester course on social media marketing not in all the streams but in more sales oriented streams such as international business and marketing, retail marketing etc, but not in finance and industrial markets.
The second thing is if you extend the definition of social media to more serious sites or more serious platforms, there are lots of academic platforms and we all have heard of massive open online courses (MOOC) so what we do not have in all streams but in some streams in the 4th semester, when our students do classroom projects at that time we require them to undergo a mock course of their choice under the supervision of faculty member so that’s probably an example of how our own curriculum content has changed other than directly teaching them social media that we do, we also use these online platforms for learning.
ASMA: What are the different modes, the teaching learning process uses social media in your institute?
Bhupendra Mishra: Again, we will have to extend the definition of social media, because normally when we say social media, the term social tends to mean our non-curricular society like our friends and relatives so usually social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram are not very good platforms for learning for academia but there are, of course, many other platforms that focused on learning and many of these platforms offer either freely or very low cost e-books. Now AICTE actually requires that in courses we use E-books which we must share with our students, so depending on the suitability several of our courses, we use e-books and some are free, others paid so that is one thing that comes to my mind immediately, but again if you extend the definition of social media further you would find that there are several certification that are now available across the globe and when a student is encourage to undergo those certification those are also on online platforms and professional.
Are there qualified and dedicated team for managing the social media accounts in your organization?
yes, we do have dedicated team composed of faculty and students, student volunteers.
ASMA: What are the important aspects of calculating ROI on social media investment in an academic organization?
Bhupendra Mishra: We don’t calculate Return on investment on your academic initiative. I mean, we calculate it only by way of whether our students are getting placed well or not. So ROI in terms of money is not so important in academia. However, we do compute ROI on the Dollars or Rupees spent. That we spent on various social media platforms where we pay the social media platforms for teaching us to reach out our prospective students and alumni and the return on investment is very high because with relatively very little money we can reach out to literally 100 thousand of peoples, so ROI is very high. I can’t give you a number but I can tell you that compare to pre-social media days ROI has gone significantly.
ASMA: Which are the domains where the social media is playing a crucial role in the success of your organization such as admission, placements, alumni, teaching learning etc.?
Bhupendra Mishra: in all of those including placements because as we know in placements there are various jobsites not only in LinkedIn but there are so many jobsites and our placement team they rely extensively on those and the other aspects we have already discussed so my answer is that all the areas which you have mention social media plays a very important role in our institute.
ASMA: What is your views on traditional marketing initiatives vs. social media marketing initiatives of an academic organization? how the balancing between 2 is done at your institute? does it help in managing your financial resources optimally?
Bhupendra Mishra: See partially we have already addressed that when we spoke about ROI pre-social media days that we used to do obviously like anybody else that is but any other organization pre-social media they use to rely to communicate about their existence and their USPs and stuff like that. newspapers a print media use to be the only medium and subsequently it become TV oriented. so, television and print media use to do our ads. Now when we do that those are not only expensive those are also inefficient because you like it or not you are forced to cover the entire population it’s not directed and so obviously, your financials work against you. you are trying to reach only their alumni or prospective students, now using social media we can be much more directed and therefore financially it is unthinkable now to go back to pre-social media days.
Balancing we don’t have to do much because we are still using print media and TV but the percentage of money we spent on has come down drastically and we still use it specially in certain cities like Rajasthan, Gujarat etc. But I think overall the expenses has come down drastically because ROI is increasing on social media. I would say if earlier we are spending 80-90% on social media that has come down to 10-15% today.