SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING PLAN FOR
UNIVERSITY OF THE SACRED HEART GULU (USHG)
MBA 743 –SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
This report is a class project that presents the Social media Marketing plan for University of the Sacred Heart Gulu, a new and emerging University in Uganda, East Africa
The purpose of this plan is to help the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu to build brand awareness and attract new students by means of the competent use of social media.
The Social media marketing plan outlines a coordinated plan crafted with the intent of building the University’s social media presence by primarily including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Blog. The plan also outlines the management, implementation strategies, and measurement of the entire process.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3
SITUATION ANALYSIS 6
Usage of Social Media in Uganda 6
Usage of Social Media by USHG 7
SWOT Analysis 7
MARKETING OBJECTIVES 8
TARGET AUDIENCE 9
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY 9
Integrate Zone 1: Social Community 10
Integrate Zone 2: Social Publishing 11
EXPERIENCE STRATEGY 11
ACTIVATION PLAN 12
MANAGEMENT AND MEASUREMENT 13
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 14
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu (USHG) is a new University located in Northern Uganda, East Africa initiated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu, with the mission to contribute to personal and social healing, growth and holistic development of Uganda and the world community through the provision of quality education, training, and research.The University has been promoting and marketing its programs through traditional media outlets such as national newspapers, local F.M Radio stations, website, bulk SMS and Word of Mouth advertisement.
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu is strengthened by its status as the first Catholic founded private University in Northern Uganda and by the integrity of its founders and chief Promoter; Archbishop John Baptist Odama but also faces some weaknesses related to limited resources for advertising. A number of opportunities help position USHG to overcome these weaknesses. The university faces threats of competition, particularly from other public and private Universities and higher institutions of learning.
By engaging the audience through social media channels, the University be best positioned to generate awareness, widen its potential reach within the target market, and contribute to driving more website traffic, which will ultimately result in increased growth and increased students enrollment
The primary objective s of this Social Media Marketing plan is to build brand awareness, increase traffic, and shape the development of future social media marketing strategies for the University. The target audience is mainly high school students and other prospective students on vacation together with their parents or guardians and mid-income young professionals who may desire to further their education. The target age group is between 18- 45years.
Convinced that social media marketing techniques are both less expensive and a more effective way of marketing to prospective students and with the growing popularity of social media, among high school students and mid-income young professionals, and aware of the unique circumstances and perceptions of social media in Uganda, University of the Sacred Heart Gulu shall integrate only two social media zones into its initial social media promotion mix.
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu shall ride on this mission to build an experience strategy designed around developing long-term relationships, increasing brand loyalty and opening up prospects for more students enrollment
This Social media marketing plan shall be activated, implemented and measured following key metrics and alongside the mainstream marketing plan of the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu (USHG) is a new University located in Northern Uganda, East Africa. The mission of the University to contribute to personal and social healing, growth and holistic development of Uganda and the world community through the provision of quality education, training, and research and community outreach.
The vision of the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu (USHG) is “to be a centre of excellence producing high calibre human resources rooted in Catholic values to address the needs of society; to be a university of choice and an engaging centre of quality teaching, learning, research, transformative community service and educative consultancy” and its Motto is ‘Health of Mind, Heart and Body for integral development.’
USHG was granted Provisional License (UI. PL. 034) by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) of Uganda to operate as a Private University on 27th June 2016 and the official inauguration and installation of the University officers and organs took place on 15th July 2017. The University is also registered as a non-profit making organization: a Company Limited by Guarantee.
The University currently offers two academic programs; 1) Bachelor of Counseling Psychology and 2)Bachelor of Information Systems. Additional academic programs shall be introduced following the processes stipulated in University Policy Documents as well as the provisions in the National Council for Higher Education guidelines and accreditation (Mwaka, 2017).
The USHG Community outreach department was active even prior to the accreditation process of the University. The University has been engaging in different service-oriented interventions, which have benefited different categories of people including students, teachers, business community and the general public.
The University of the Sacred Heart Gulu location and campus has a rich heritage and significance that dates back more than 90 years among the entire community of northern Uganda. This makes it a very welcoming place for many students. In the first two years of operation, the University has been promoting and marketing its programs through traditional media outlets like national newspapers and local F.M radio stations.
The University also uses its website (www.ush.ac.ug), Facebook page, Youtube channel and Blog page (ushgulu.blogspot.com). The University also rides on positive Word of Mouth (WOM) derived from the various voluntary national and community benefitting engagements it takes part in that also allows it to showcase and promote its programs.
Usage of Social Media in Uganda
Social media has grown to a point that it cannot simply be ignored. People from all types of different demographics are using social media each day. And so it makes sense to use the social media platform for marketing purposes.
According to research done and compiled by an Independent Dublin-based Web Analytics firm; StatCounter from September 2016 to August 2017, they identified that 85.81% of the people in Uganda are using these three devices; Desktop PCs, Mobiles, and Tablets to access Facebook, while the second position was to Visual discovery, collection, and storage tool; Pinterest – a platform that allows users to save images and categorize them on different boards. The platform carried a percentage of 6.19, while Twitter had 5.43%, YouTube – 0.99%, Google+ – 0.44%, and LinkedIn – 0.31%.( (Olupot, 2017)
Usage of Social Media by USHG
The University of the Sacred Heart Gulu currently has a Facebook page with 2,554 likes and a following of 2,561. The University also has Youtube channel and Blog page which can be utilized for Social media marketing. The Social media accounts are currently administered by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) department of the University. However, the activity and frequency of posting on these platforms have not been regular and structured. The University also has no official Twitter and LinkedIn accounts
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu is still a nascent University that has bee operational for only one year. The primary motive of this campaign is therefore to create brand awareness to its target audience and markets.
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu is strengthened by its status as the first Catholic founded private University in Northern Uganda and by the integrity of its founders and chief Promoter; Archbishop John Baptist Odama. There is also a strong and broad-based awareness and connection to the university’s mission, vision, and motto which engages community members across all generations. The academic programs are also unique and students benefit from access to outstanding faculty members who offer personalized and experienced support services.
The University has limited resources for marketing expenditures at the national and international level which has contributed to a decentralized approach to communications and marketing. USHG also faces challenges from perceptions as a University ‘of and for Catholics”. Its location away from the capital city also places it in an unfair position to attract young people.The current low number of students enrollment also poses a challenge.
A number of opportunities help position USHG to overcome these weaknesses. The Univesity’s quiet, beautiful location and rich heritage in Northern Uganda is increasingly attractive to prospective students and faculty members from Uganda and South Sudan who do not wish to travel to the noisy city. The university is building relationships with other Universities, organizations, employers, and communities to service projects, internships, and career opportunities. There is also a growing number of students who complete secondary school and wish to join universities.
The university faces threats of competition, particularly from other public and private Universities and higher institutions of learning. Competition for talented and diverse faculty members also affects USHG. There is also a high rate poverty that affects the ability of many students to afford tuition fees.
The primary objective of this Social Media Marketing Plan is to create brand awareness and shape the development of future social media marketing strategies for the University. Specific objectives include;-
a) To create brand awareness of USHG new and existing academic programs and opportunities to all the target audience
b) To utilize Social Media channels to increase USHG student’s enrollment to between 80 – 120 admitted students for the August 2018 students intake.
c) To increase traffic to the USHG home web page by 25% before the next students’ intake.
d) To increase visits to the USHG social media profile pages especially Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn by 50%
e) To gain a better understanding of how high school age students view the USHG and why they choose the USHG as their University of choice.
f) To provide USHG with helpful communication tools and information about how to interact with high school students using social media
As a young beginning University that wants to create brand awareness, the ideal Social media strategy is to use a mass marketing approach to target the general public within Ugandan districts of Gulu, Amuru, Lira, Arua, Nebbi, Omoro, Oyam and in Southern Sudan.
Specific focus will be on reaching out to high school students and other prospective students on vacation together with their parents or guardians and mid-income young professionals who may desire to further their education. Our target age group is between 18- 45years.
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Convinced that social media marketing techniques are both less expensive and a more effective way of marketing to prospective students and with the growing popularity of social media, especially among high school students and mid-income young professionals, and aware of the unique circumstances and perceptions of social media in Uganda, University of the Sacred Heart Gulu shall integrate only two social media zones into its initial social media promotion mix. They are Social Community and Social Publishing.
Integrate Zone 1: Social Community
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu shall develop and maintain social networks that allow direct communication and socialization with its target group. This will include different forums, social networking sites and message boards, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Facebook shall be used to share event information, status updates and photos about what’s going on on the campus. This shall help showcase to incoming and potential students and parents what’s going on at the University. This Zone shall also be used to relate with parents because they love seeing some of the more engaging activities that their children take part in especially outside of the academic arena. Facebook will be updated at least 2 times per week.
A Twitter account shall also be opened and Hashtags will be used as a great way to connect users and build conversations around specific topics about the University programs and students intake. This is a great way to keep communication with your community open through a social media channel.
On LinkedIn, the University shall have a unique opportunity to engage prospective current students, and faculty. The USHG LinkedIn page shall share information about their student programs, campus event information, and highlights of Community Outreach programs. The page shall be used to interact with students online by offering advice to those asking questions about programs. The page wall shall even be set to allow questions and comments from followers.
Email shall also be an important part of this plan. Although not considered part of a social media platform email is still highly valued in Uganda. Email will provide the primary source of communication between University of the Sacred Heart Gulu and prospective students. Email will also be a method of growing users within other social media platforms.
Integrate Zone 2: Social Publishing
The University of the Sacred Heart Gulu will mainly use Youtube and Blog in the Social publishing zone of its social media strategy. Content on Youtube shall include recorded videos of advertisements and promotions as well as events of the University. USHG YouTube Channel will produce one video per month. The video will come from either registry or students and hosted on the University’s website (www.ush.ac.ug) for that time. Videos will also be used in email communication with prospective students.
The Blog shall be a place where all the University content can be published and used to drive visitors back to the University’s website and to boost its SEO rankings. One blog will be posted per week.
Student blogs shall be used as an engagement tool with current students, but also a recruitment tool for prospective students. This shall give students the opportunity to speak in their own words and to be published, which is good for building their resume and getting some real-world writing experience Sharing these stories on a blog not only drives traffic to a school’s website but also offers a huge SEO value to the alumni.
The mission of the University of the Sacred Heart is to contribute to personal and social healing, growth and holistic development of Uganda and the world community through the provision of quality education, training, and research and community outreach. University of the Sacred Heart Gulu shall ride on this mission to build an experience strategy designed around developing long-term relationships, increasing brand loyalty and opening up prospects for more student enrollment.
The University shall also create a better customer experience by active engagement of the target audience. This shall be done by initiating and encouraging conversations, sharing videos and valuable content that inspires people to act, publishing Journals and promoting brand enthusiasts’ content. This could be content from a student or prospective student. The University shall also reach out to the customers when they have specific questions.
Another strategy shall ‘be to relate to real life situations and challenges that our target group goes through. Challenges such as poverty, unemployment, trauma, domestic violence, and democracy shall be at the center of our social media approach
The University shall also create an emotional connection with the audience. This shall be by Listening and being receptive to the Audience. The process of listening to comments on Youtube videos and blogs will show our prospective students that the University cares and shall be able to uncover their needs, challenges, and pain points.
Giving timely feedback and response shall be key in building appositive experience for the audience. The University shall respond to comments on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in a timely manner on social media. When we respond quickly, customers are more likely to feel that the University values their feedback and will remember our response.
i. The first step in activating this Social media marketing plan will be to integrate the social media marketing plan into the overall comprehensive marketing strategy of the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu.
ii. There will then need to Identify and assign an officer (s) responsible for developing and maintaining fresh streams of content on an on-going basis
iii. Next will be to update the USHG website and provide engaging links to social media presence. There may also need to improve the visual appeal.
iv. There shall need to be a redesign and update of the USHG Facebook page to include new tabs, links and content to be added on a regular basis
v. The University of the Sacred Heart Gulu will have to open a Twitter and LinkedIn account for the University and link them to the website and other social media channels.
vi. The University shall also redesign and regularly update the USHG Blog to make it more active, appealing, interactive, and visually catching.
vii. Allocate a minimal starting budget of Thirty-five million Ugandan Shillings ($10,000) to meet costs of developing and digitizing content, remuneration for the marketing and content staff members and other development costs.
MANAGEMENT AND MEASUREMENT
The implementation of this plan shall be managed with a centralized structure where the Social media marketing department shall report directly to the Vice-Chancellor (President). He shall be responsible for all the Social media activations.
Overall benchmark measurements will be measured against total student enrollment change after one year of social media plan implementation. Enrollment numbers will be compared. The goal is to increase enrollment by at least 80 students by the next academic recruiting year. In particular, we shall also be monitoring, tracking and measuring performance in the following areas;-
We shall measure our ‘Reach’ by keeping track of the number of people that have impacted with the University’s social media content. Measuring Reach will give us a good understanding of how attractive your social media content is to our target audience. Examples of Reach metrics to track shall include the number of connections on LinkedIn, number of followers on Twitter, Number of likes on your Facebook page, number of views and subscribers on our YouTube channel and Visitors to our blog.
Performance shall also be measuring engagement, Here we shall determine if our target audience cared enough about our message to actually do something with it. ‘Engagement’ metrics to track shall include Clicks on links in our social media posts, retweets, mentions and direct messages on Twitter, shares on Facebook and LinkedIn, comments on our Facebook and LinkedIn posts, ratings on your youtube videos and comments on your blog posts
There shall also be a measurement of the ‘Conversion’ rate to determine how many people took the next step from our social media platforms to contact us or check the University website. Using Google analytics, we shall be able to track the University’s website activity ‘Conversion’ metrics to track will include the number of registrations and downloads for content (student’s application forms) we shall also measure performance in terms of search engine ratings, and return on investment
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This Social media marketing plan is to be implemented alongside the mainstream marketing plan of the University of the Sacred Heart Gulu in the realization of the University’s vision “to be a centre of excellence producing high calibre human resources rooted in Catholic values to address the needs of society; to be a university of choice and an engaging centre of quality teaching, learning, research, transformative community service and educative consultancy”