Impact of Social Media Marketing on an Indian Student’s Decision of Studying Abroad

Master's Thesis, 2019

53 Pages, Grade: 4.5

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Table of contents



Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Context of research
1.2 Purpose of research
1.2.1 International universities
1.2.2Indian students
1.3 Limitations

Chapter 2: Literature review
2.1 Indian student mobility
2.1.1 Choice of destination
2.2 Social media
2.2.1Types & features
2.2.3Business application of Social Media
2.3 Social media marketing
2.4 Social media marketing- Universities

Chapter 3: Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research design
3.3 Data collection

Chapter 4: Results & Analysis
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Survey results & analysis



I would like to express my appreciation to my graduating project supervisor Prof. Ramzi Hammami for giving me the opportunity to conduct this research, to provide me with insights and knowledge whenever required and his investedvaluable time.

I am grateful to the learning centre of Rennes School of business for providing access to the research material.

I would like to thank Prof. Ahmed Atil for the course Management toolbox, I was able to conduct data analysis on my own withthe help ofsoftware and tools. I would like to thank Prof. Mahabubur Rahman for sharing his immense knowledge on international marketing through lectures & presentations.

Atlast, I would like to thank Rennes school of business for my master's programme in Global business management. All the parts of the programme were clearly designed to pass vital knowledge in terms of information, skills & discipline.

Research Inspiration: (Reddy, 2014)


Few studies have conducted about the influence of social media on Indian students choosing abroad for higher studies. Moreover, it has become more about the preference of destination rather than preference of college. Increased use of social media networks by students is resulting in social media marketing by different colleges to greater extent. There is direct access to the admission gateway from one Facebook or Instagram post by respective colleges abroad. A lot of research has been done on the proliferation of students using social media, its impact on them, Indian students' mentality and factors affecting their decision of studying abroad. Major countries chosen in past and emerging attractiveness of European countries as next destination for Indians to pursue higher education are discussed.

A decade ago, social media networks were often used for social interaction, primarily with friends with whom the students had a pre-established relationship offline. In no time, it had become a platform to explore cultural & social differences among countries. The major influence of social media in students' general decision making are discussed.

This research can help understand the overall impact of social media, concerning attractiveness of the destination, influence of friends and peers abroad & social media marketing by schools and college on Indian students' preference ofcollege to study abroad.


The continuous advancement in technology has changed the way people, government, companies and organisations work. One of the major technological success in last decade is known as social media. To keep up with fast changing environment, people & organisations had been changing the way of functionality and communication on continuous basis.

In last decade, the huge success of social media has proved that the best or closest to the best way of communication is nothing else but it. Again, with fast changing environment of corporate world has led to continuous innovation, not only in other industries but also in social media industry itself. The innovation in social media industry has significantly influenced and challenged, organisations to discover effective ways for marketing & communication.

The focus here is high social media presence among students and its utilisation for the benefit of organisations i.e. Universities, colleges & Institutes (In this case only). Many studies suggest the extreme influence and presence of social media in last decade. Increased use of social media by students is resulting in social media marketing by different colleges to greater extent. In past, organisations were using broadcast media & websites to provide information materials. Today, more information can be provided with effective social media strategy.

This chapter will outline the context, purpose & limitations of the research.

1.1 Context of research

A decade ago, social media was often used for social interaction, primarily with friends with whom the students had a pre-established relationship offline. In no time, it had become a platform to explore cultural & social differences among countries. Social media reached out to world and significantly minimised the distance between countries, cultures & people. Followed by human behaviour, it has generated massive excitement and curiosity among students about the different lifestyle out of their region. Having information about other cultures & lifestyles has significantly less influence on students, than having personally connected with people. Social media does not just provide information but provide a realistic experience.

In 2018, an estimated 2.65 billion people were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to almost 3.1 billion in 2021. (Statista, 2019) These recent statistics continue to press organisations towards innovating new social media marketing strategies. Since traditional marketing strategies are expensive and ineffective now in front of social media marketing reach, many universities are capitalising on it to promote their programs to attract prospective students.

India has second highest number of students studying abroad. There are estimated 5.86 lacs Indian students studying in 86 different countries as on 28 December 2017. (Deepak, 2019) The number of social media users in India stood at 326.1 million in 2018 and expected to be almost 448 million in 2023. (Statista, 2019)

The study focuses on two major aspects like the impact of social media marketing done by many universities on Indian students' decision-making process of finalizing the next study destination and number of challenges to be confronted by universities in development & implementation of their social media marketing strategies.

1.2 Purpose of research

This section highlights the importance of the study. The purpose of this study is to provide a thorough understanding of trends & issues of social media marketing and its engagement by International universities and Indian prospective students. Few studies have done on the subject, but in addition, to provide recent impact, changes in International recruitment strategies particularly on a prospective Indian student.

Engagement of social media by International universities has been growing since last decade. If you play the role of bringing people together around a product, service or interest — you increase your credibility, build your brand and may, in time, increase your profitability by creating a loyal following. (Taylor, 2019) Therefore, engaging potential students in the social media domain is in principle an inexpensive way for universities to attract and persuade potential students. (Constantinides, 2012)

The purpose of the study is not limited to identify the usage and influence of social media on Indian students, but also social media marketing done by International Institutes to attract more students, for increase in diversity of universities & colleges.

1.2.1 International universities

Many organisations are using social media marketing to convey the information, their values, culture & lifestyle to people. International universities and institutes should be able to communicate with the students as well. The study aims to highlight the importance of effective social media marketing and consequences of misleading information.

The study can help Universities to identify best social media channels commonly used by Indian students. The objective is to help them create a much effective strategy, when it comes to social media marketing. Social media is not just a way to connect with prospective students worldwide but also a way to communicate with previously enrolled students and alumni of the universities.

1.2.2 Indian Students

The study is focussed on Indian students for number of reasons, indicated in Chapter 2.1. The study aims to provide Indian students with understanding of social media marketing done by International universities and its influence on their decision-making process. In recent times, Indian student mobility has transformed due to number of factors, indicated in Chapter 2.1.2. The most significant purpose of the study is to provide Indian students; the knowledge of numerous factors influencing them to study abroad, their decision-making process to choose one University for higher education and invisible factors that has an impact on their subconscious mind.

To sum up, the research is based on logical approach & methodology with a logical research design to help Indian students with their decision-making approach towards the selection of International universities & colleges.

1.3 Limitations

Even though, the objective ofthe research and its connection to the theory is of great value, there are limitations. The study is based on numerous external & internal factors, which may ormay not change with time. Thesis involves the theory & literature based on numerous researchers from last decade with their own understandings. The study includes the research on limited social media channels and their influence. The research method used, does not include social, cultural & economic aspect ofIndian students and regulations of social media.


This chapter will provide a theoretical background of the study, principle contributions to the knowledge in areas of Indian student mobility and Social media engagement by students & International universities. These broad topics are thoroughly discussed with relevant literature and previous studies. The purpose of this chapter is to understand the background and concepts of the subject in detail. This main goal of this chapter is to understand these concepts and their integration with each other.

Countries exporting students are mainly emerging markets, especially the BRIC countries (i.e. Brazil, Russia, India and China). Many people from these countries have moved up to the middle class, indicating a great growth opportunity for higher education institutions due to government deregulation and globalization. (Deans, 2012) Emerging upper middle class in India, indicates more people can afford to send their children to study abroad. Hence, explains the importance of Indian student mobility concept and its vital role in the subject.

Social media is valuable to the extent that it offers an opportunity to “tame the fundamentally unpredictable and serendipitous nature of word of mouth without losing what makes it so valuable in the first place—its authenticity” (Zeisser, 2010) Many students tend to get attracted to the colleges & locations through pictures and posts of their friends and family already studying abroad. Social media engagement and its influence is much more than what a normal student can acknowledge. International students turn to social media to view online content that will help them decide which college or university is right for them. (Morris, 2012) It suggests the importance of social media in decision making of students or youth in general.

Many universities have used effective marketing theories and concepts to gain lager share of global market in business world of higher education. (Hemsley-Brown & Oplatka, 2006) Apart from using the traditional forms of recruitment methods, universities need to try and experiment with other types of recruitment methods including social media. (Choudaha & Chuang, 2012) Universities with international student recruitment in mind, are creating social media marketing strategies like webinars, virtual tours, blogs, Cappex (what are my chances calculator) and many more. The fast-paced environment has entirely changed the recruitment process, which may have a significant impact on recruitment decision making process by universities and selection of university decision- making by students.

2.1 Indian student mobility

The importance of cross border education arose highly in last decade. The number of students leaving their home country to study abroad, keeps on increasing since 2009. Indian student mobility refers exclusively to Indian students who have cross national or territorial border for the purpose of higher studies. Being the most populated developing country, India exporting a huge number of students to study abroad, is no surprise. The number of outbound mobile students from India are more than the combined number of U.S.A. and Europe. In fact, China alone exports more students than the combined number of all other countries, including India.

This chapter will cover the statistics of International students flow of or until year 2017, sourced from UNESCO.

Fig. 2.1

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

China is the most represented country in the international student flow, with the highest number of students studying abroad. Other countries, as well represent mostly Asia being the biggest supplier of students in terms to higher studies. European countries like Germany and France have significant number of outbound students, but the inbound students in European nations have outnumbered them by significant margin. (Chapter 2.1.1). India has second highest number, with annual growth rate of 11.61%, since 2009. In fact, the numbers had been increasing since 2000, but there was a slowdown between 2001 and 2009. That could be justified by increasing opportunities in home country, that had saturated after 2009. (Mukherjee & chanda, 2012)

Fig. 2.2


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

The data shows continuous rise in the number of Indian student mobility. That simply suggests, the steady increase in demand for higher education abroad in India. The numbers have consequently made India a key market targeted for higher education by leading countries. (Mukherjee & chanda, 2012)

According to British council, these are the key forecasts on Indian study abroad market in upcoming years. (, n.d.)

I. India will have the highest number of tertiary enrolments in 2024 with approximate number 48 million, followed by China (37 million), the US (22 million), and Indonesia (11 million).
II. India postgraduate outbound mobility will have a higher annual average growth rate than China in next decade.
III. China will be the largest source of international postgraduate students in 2024, with total outbound postgraduates numbering 338,000. India will be the second with number of 209,000 postgraduates.

2.1.1 The choice of destination

According to government data, there a total of 86 countries where Indian students are studying. 36 of these are from Asia, 32 from Europe, 8 from Africa, 6 from South America and 2 each from North America & Australia. More than 50% of the Indian students' study in North America. More than 90000 Indian students go to Asia as well as Australia. Though Indian students are in 32 different European countries, they only make up 52116. (Dubbudu, 2017) It certainly made India the most important country for Universities to focus on while recruiting international students. Universities are trying to get as many applications as possible from India.

Fig. 2.3


Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

According to the Fig. 2.3, most Indian students go to U.S. for their higher studies.

2.2 Social Media

Since the development of Social media technology, social media has been transforming the way people, companies, organizations & government process information. (Qualman, 2009) The communication has been changing since its origin. In simple words, social media can be defined as a network of platforms where people can share content with other people.

Social media is the collective of online communications channels dedicated to community­based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Websites and applications dedicated to forums, microblogging, social networking, social bookmarking, social curation, and wikis are among the different types of socialmedia. (Rouse, n.d.)

2.2.1 Type & features

There are many types of social media channels present today. Most popular of them, are as follows: Facebook


Facebook is also popular as a marketing channel. The Marketplace feature allows members to post read and respond to classified ads. Events allows members to publicise an event, invite guests and track who plans to attend and Pages allows members to create and promote a public page built around a specific topic.

Facebook is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. The site, which is available in 37 different languages, includes public features such as:

- Marketplace - allows members to post, read and respond to classified ads.
- Groups - allows members who have common interests to find each other and interact.
- Events - allows members to publicize an event, invite guests and track who plans to attend.
- Pages - allows members to create and promote a public page built around a specific topic.
- Presence technology - allows members to see which contacts are online and chat.

Within each member's personal profile, there are several key networking components. The most popular is arguably the Wall, which is essentially a virtual bulletin board. Messages left on a member's Wall can be text, video or photos. Another popular component is the virtual Photo Album. Photos can be uploaded from the desktop or directly from a smartphone camera. There is no limitation on quantity, but Facebook staff will remove inappropriate or copyrighted images. An interactive album feature allows the member's contacts (who are called generically called "friends") to comment on each other's photos and identify (tag) people in the photos. Another popular profile component is status updates, a microblogging feature that allows members to broadcast short Twitter-like announcements to their friends. All interactions are published in a news feed, which is distributed in real-time to the member's friends.

Facebook offers a range of privacy options to its members. A member can make all his communications visible to everyone, he can block specific connections, or he can keep all his communications private. Members can choose whether to be searchable, decide which parts of their profile are public, decide what not to put in their news feed and determine exactly who can see their posts. For those members who wish to use Facebook to communicate privately, there is a message feature, which closely resembles email.

In May 2007, Facebook opened its developers' platform to allow third-party developers to build applications and widgets that, once approved, could be distributed through the Facebook community. In May 2008, Facebook engineers announced Facebook Connect, a cross-site initiative that allows users to publish interactions on third-party partner sites in their Facebook news feed. Instagram


Instagram is a free, online photo-sharing application and social network platform that was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

Instagram allows users to edit and upload photos and short videos through a mobile app. Users can add a caption to each of their posts and use hashtags and location-based geotags to index these posts and make them searchable by other users within the app. Each post by a user appears on their followers' Instagram feeds and can also be viewed by the public when tagged using hashtags or geotags. Users also have the option of making their profile private so that only their followers can view their posts.

As with other social networking platforms, Instagram users can like, comment on and bookmark others' posts, as well as send private messages to their friends via the Instagram Direct feature. Photos can be shared on one or several other social media sites -­including Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr -- with a single click.

Instagram is not only a tool for individuals, but also for businesses. The photo-sharing app offers companies the opportunity to start a free business account to promote their brand and products. Companies with business accounts have access to free engagement and impression metrics. According to Instagram's website, more than 1 million advertisers worldwide use Instagram to share their stories and drive business results. Additionally, 60% of people say they discover new products through the app.

Instagram was started in San Francisco by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who initially tried creating a platform similar to Foursquare but then turned their attention exclusively to photo sharing. The word Instagram is an amalgam of "instant camera" and "telegram."

The iOS app was released through the iTunes App Store on Oct. 6, 2010, and the Android app was released on April 3, 2012. The platform's popularity skyrocketed, with the company reporting more than 40 million active users just two years after launch. This caught the attention of Facebook, which officially purchased Instagram for $1 billion in the summer of 2012. Twitter


Twitter is a free social networking microblogging service that allows registered members to broadcast short posts called tweets. Twitter members can broadcast tweets and follow other users' tweets by using multiple platforms and devices. Tweets and replies to tweets can be sent by cell phone text message, desktop client or by posting at the Twitter website.

The default settings for Twitter are public. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, where members need to approve social connections, anyone can follow anyone on public Twitter. To weave tweets into a conversation thread or connect them to a general topic, members can add hashtags to a keyword in their post. The hashtag, which acts like a meta tag, is expressed as #keyword.

Tweets, which may include hyperlinks, are limited to 140 characters, due to the constraints of Twitter's Short Message Service (SMS) delivery system. Because tweets can be delivered to followers in real time, they might seem like instant messages to the novice user. But unlike IMs that disappear when the user closes the application, tweets are also posted on the Twitter website. They are permanent, they are searchable, and they are public. Anyone can search tweets on Twitter, whether they are a member or not.

Here is an example of how you, as an IT pro, might use Twitter:

Let's say you are interested in learning more about cloud computing. First, you could search Twitter to see if anyone is talking (tweeting) about cloud computing. A quick search reveals that lots of Twitter members are talking about cloud computing.

Now you could do one of several things. You could simply keep tabs on cloud computing by returning and searching Twitter each day (not very efficient -- but effective) or you could join Twitter and follow people who have posted tweets that catch your interest. As a Twitter member, you can post your own tweets, or you can just remain a follower and lurk.

Twitter uses an open-source Web framework called Ruby on Rails (RoR). The API is open and available to application developers. LinkedIn


LinkedIn is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community. The goal of the site is to allow registered members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally.

A LinkedIn member's profile page, which emphasizes skills, employment history and education, has professional network news feeds and a limited number of customizable modules. Basic membership for LinkedIn is free. Network members are called “connections.” Unlike other free social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn requires connections to have a pre-existing relationship.

With basic membership, a member can only establish connections with someone he has worked with, knows professionally (online or offline) or has gone to school with. Connections up to three degrees away (see six degrees of separation) are seen as part of the member's network, but the member is not allowed to contact them through LinkedIn without an introduction. Premium subscriptions can be purchased to provide members with better access to contacts in the LinkedIn database.

LinkedIn was co-founded by Reid Hoffman, a former Executive Vice President in charge of business and corporate development for PayPal. The site, which was launched in May 2003, currently has over 300 million members from 200 countries, representing 170 industries. According to Reid Hoffman, 27 percent of LinkedIn subscribers are recruiters.

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in June of 2016 for $26.2 billion. According to some experts, the rich troves of semi-structured data that LinkedIn's members freely give away -- job titles, geographies, industry information, skill sets -- made the deal a steal, even though the LinkedIn acquisition was Microsoft's more expensive purchase to date. LinkedIn has been gathering up data across the more than 225 million LinkedIn profiles in an Economic Graph to provide policymakers, employers, workers and educators with data-driven insight into patterns that will help align workforce supply with demand. Such patterns include when people generally look for the next step in their career, work migration trends in specific geographical locations, skill gaps in specific industries and what cities are "stickiest," i.e. areas that employees are less likely to move away from.

2.2.3 Business application of social media


Social media is becoming an integral part of life online as social websites and applications proliferate. Most traditional online media platforms include social components, such as comment fields for users. In business, social media is used to market products, promote brands, connect to current customers and foster new business.

- Social media analytics is the practice of gathering data from blogs and social media websites and analysing that data to make business decisions. The most common use of social media analytics is to mine customer sentiment to support marketing and customer service activities.
- Social media marketing (SMM) takes advantage of social networking to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach. The goal is usually to create content compelling enough that users will share it with their social networks. One of the key components of SMM is social media optimization (SMO). Like search engine optimization (SEO), SMO is a strategy for drawing new and unique visitors to a website. SMO can be done two ways: by adding social media links to content such as RSS feeds and sharing buttons, or by promoting activity through social media via status updates, tweets, or blog posts.
- Social CRM (customer relationship marketing) can be a very powerful business tool. For example, establishing a Facebook page allows people who like your brand and the way you conduct business to like your page, which creates a venue for communication, marketing and networking. Through social media sites, you can follow conversations about your brand for real-time market data and feedback.
- In terms of customer feedback, social media makes it easy to tell a company and everyone else about their experiences with that company, whether those experiences are good or bad. The business can also respond very quickly to both positive and negative feedback, attend to customer problems and maintain, regain or rebuild customer confidence.
- Enterprise social networking allows a company to connect individuals who share similar business interests or activities. Internally, social tools can help employees access information and resources they need to work together effectively and solve business problems. Externally, public social media platforms help an organization stay close to their customers and make it easier to conduct research that they can use to improve business processes and operations.
- Social media is also often used for crowdsourcing. Customers can use social networking sites to offer ideas for future products or tweaks to current ones. In IT projects, crowdsourcing usually involves engaging and blending business and IT services from a mix of internal and external providers, sometimes with input from customers and/or the general public.

On the other hand, the integration of social media in the business world can also pose challenges. Social media policies are designed to set expectations for appropriate behaviour and ensure that an employee's posts will not expose the company to legal problems or public embarrassment. Such policies include directives for when an employee should identify himself as a representative of the company on a social networking website, as well as rules for what types of information can be shared.

2.3 Social media engagement by prospective students

Students currently entering colleges and universities are typically considered digital natives, meaning they have spent their whole lives in a virtual world. (Thompson, 2007) They have also been dubbed “the Social-Networking Generation” (Joly, 2007), due to their extensive participation in interactive Social media communities. Some statistics concerning students' use of Social media suggest that they are frequently engaged in social networking activities. (Schroeder & Greenbowe, 2009). Indian students are increasingly enrolling in universities with the expectation that social media technologies will and should be used to engage them in their educational experiences. When asked about specific types of social media technologies, 72% of prospective university students stated that they would be interested in instant messaging with an admission counsellor, 64% were interested in reading blogs written by faculty members, and 63% were interested in reading online profiles or blogs written by current students at the institution. (Junco & Cole-avent, 2008).

It is important to consider the prospective student's use of social media, because many are young people. The Pew Internet Project survey of teens and adults reveals that nearly three quarters (73%) of online teens and an equal number (72%) of young adults use social network sites. (Lenhart, Ling, Campbell, & Purcell, 2010) . The survey also reveals that many of the functions that blogging served for teens in the mid-2000s for communicating about their lives and updating their activities for their friends have become central activities on social networking sites. Lenhart (2010) stated that “Microblogging and status updating on social networks have replaced old-style ‘macro-blogging' for many teens and adults”. With social media gaining popularity and exerting strong influence on users, recent studies have focused on social networks. Small group interaction using internet messaging amongst teenagers is also investigated by several researchers . (Grinter & Eldridge, 2003) . Tweeting, podcasting, and tagging whether newly invented words or existing words with tweaked meanings, new vocabulary has entered the public discourse. This new jargon represents a growing trend in technology and information sharing that is rapidly altering the way people view, share, and access information. It is especially pervasive on college campuses, which are filled with students who engage with and create these technologies.

International students turn to social media to view online content that will help them decide which college or university is right for them. (Morris, 2012). Thus, potential students are more interested in basic facts, such as how to enrol, the amount of tuition, the university's academic record, and how to get a scholarship grant. A 2016 Social Admissions Report reveals that 9 out of 10 students turn to social media sites to find colleges and enrolment information. (Slideshare, 2016). This study, which surveyed more than 7,000 students, also reveals that 72 percent of potential college students got their prospective universities via social media sites, while 71 percent did their research through their mobile gadgets. Among social networking sites, Facebook remains the most commonly used, as 88 percent used Facebook to search for their prospective colleges. Also, 53% of the high school respondents accessed social media sites many times a day. YouTube and Twitter were the second and third most used social media sites, while other social media venues trailed distantly. The ‘value' that students obtained from using social is that student conversations influenced their university selection. The conversations were mainly with friends and with students who were enrolled about the university. (Levitz, 2014)study surveyed more than 2,000 college-bound high school students on social media usage, mobile usage, and expectations for college. The report reveals over 50% of the surveyed juniors and seniors said social media played a key role in their university decision-making process. In the report university-bound students ranked the social media content and information they valued most were academic information (programs, courses, activities), financial aid / tuition cost, admission process, campus visit, campus life (facilities, environment, etc.) and athletics programmes. The report also reveals that 55% of respondents had a difficulty using site navigation to look for prospective colleges, while 52 percent said they viewed college websites using mobile devices. At least 20 percent said they obtain the information they needed via a tablet device. (Levitz, 2014)

When it comes to using a Facebook page, most respondents who liked a college's page was expecting to find the following information about admission events and deadlines, information about academic courses and programs, newsfeed updates, relevant content not available elsewhere, interface with page administrators, school admission contact, university videos and photos, interface with other people who liked the page, and other relevant information. (Morris, 2012)

2.3.1 Growth of Social Media in India


India has long been a growing market for the social media network as more Indians come online. However, based on new data sent to advertisers, Facebook now has 241 million active users in India - a million more than it does in the U.S.- making India the country with its largest user base for the first time. The report from (Kemp, 2017) also noted that active users in India have increased 27% during the last six months compared to 12% in the United States.

While the social media network operator is already enjoying double-digit growth in one of the world's most populous nations, social media penetration in India is still less compared to other countries, representing a big opportunity for Facebook. According to the report, 19% of India's population uses the platform compared to 73% in the United States. The average around the world is 42%. Rounding out the top five countries with the most active daily users in July were the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico.

Late last month Facebook announced it has more than 2 billion users who post or trawl the social network at least once a month. But that impressive growth—it took it less than five years to grow from 1 billion monthly users to 2 billion—comes with a catch. Acquiring the next billion will mean it needs to grow in markets including ones it is blocked in, namely China. The social media company is the undisputed leader around the globe, particularly in the developed world, but there is still around 15% of people that have no access to it or the internet. What's more, while 3 billion people are using the internet, around 700 million of them are in China, a country Facebook has been shut out of since 2009.

India can also help Facebook hit the 3 billion mark given the rosy projections for its future in the country. The forecast from (emarketer, 2017) is 182.9 million people will access the platform on a regular basis this year. That amounts to 69.9% of social network users in the country and 42.6% of Internet users. That is expected to increase to 70.1% by 2021.

2.4 Social media marketing


Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that utilizes social networking websites as a marketing tool. The goal of SMM is to produce content that users will share with their social network to help a company increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach.

One of the key components of SMM is social media optimization (SMO). Like search engine optimization (SEO), SMO is a strategy for drawing new and unique visitors to a website. SMO can be done two ways: adding social media links to content, such as RSS feeds and sharing buttons -- or promoting activity through social media by updating statuses or tweets, or blog posts.

SMM helps a company get direct feedback from customers (and potential customers) while making the company seem more personable. The interactive parts of social media give customers the opportunity to ask questions or voice complaints and feel they are being heard. This aspect of SMM is called social customer relationship management (social CRM).

SMM became more common with the increased popularity of websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, and YouTube. In response, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated its rules to include SMM. If a company or its advertising agency provides a blogger or other online commenter with free products or other incentives to generate positive buzz for a product, the online comments will be treated legally as endorsements. Both the blogger and the company will be held responsible for ensuring that the incentives are clearly and conspicuously disclosed, and that the blogger's posts contain no misleading or unsubstantiated statements and otherwise complies with the FTC's rules concerning unfair or deceptive advertising.

2.5 Social media marketing- Universities

This chapter will discuss about social media marketing and its utilisation by foreign universities. Social media marketing should be understood as an umbrella term that encompasses all marketing concepts and theories that highlight the value and use of social networking and other Social media sites. (Zarella, 2010). As already stated, some of the most popular forms of social media include social networks (Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn), websites, microblogs (Twitter), video-sharing sites (YouTube, Vimeo, Hulu), photo-sharing sites and applications (Instagram, Flickr), review sites, news and magazine sites, social bookmarking and voting sites, filesharing sites, gaming sites and forums, among others. The indispensable value of social media in marketing and promotional campaign is proved and highlighted by the fact that big brands and multinational companies have been heavily using social media to promote their companies and products. For example, Dell currently owns hundreds of blogs, manages several Twitter accounts, and operates a popular social forum called developer Works. (Zarella, 2010) It also optimised the potential of social media with its highly visited IdeaStorm website. This social media technique benefits Dell in terms of securing loyal customers, getting new product ideas from users, and obtaining product feedback. One of the main differences between social media and traditional media is that social media sites are more accessible and open than the traditional sites. Social media encourages participation, engagement, collaboration and communities. The attractive and unlimited potential of social media to reach out to prospective international students makes social media highly beneficial to higher education institutions seeking to establish relationships with their target market and to boost their communication strategies and marketing techniques. If effectively tapped and designed, social media may help improve a university's brand and increase its credibility. (Taylor, 2019). Social media is cost-effective and can reach many international students worldwide at far lower cast than most traditional media. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can also augment web traffic to the university website while also helping to improve a university's image through posts on events, achievements, new programmes.


3.1 Introduction

This chapter will discuss and justify the methodological process used in the study to respond to the research question and objectives. This chapter covers research method, research question & hypothesis, research objective, research approach & strategy, data collection and limitations of methodology. In addition, the choice of data collection method, sampling techniques and their reliability are discussed.

3.2 Research question & objectives

Research question & hypothesis is a way to express the direction of study . (Flick, 2009). The research question must comply with the objectives of the study. A well-defined research question must identify with the research topic. (O'leary, 2004) The research question must provide the researcher with s clear picture or purpose of the study.

3.2.1 Main research question

I. What impact social media marketing has on Indian students' choice of university to study abroad?

The purpose of the study is to explore the influence on social media & marketing on Indian students' life with focus on students' decision-making process in selection of university while opting to study abroad. The main question identifies with the research topic and explains the subject clearly. Furthermore, the secondary research questions can be quoted as:

- Which social media platform has more influence on Indian students' life?
- What impact social media marketing has on university recruitment process?

3.2.2 Hypothesis

Research hypothesis are researcher's presumptive answers to the research question, while research question can just identify what researcher seek to investigate . (Maxwell, 2012)

The purpose of this section identifies with the goal of the researcher. The goal of the researcher is to prove or disprove the assumptions. The hypothesis must be proved or disproved by the results & analysis of the study. It serves as a temporary window to the study. (Thomas, Nelson, & Silverman, 2012)

In this study the hypothesis by the researcher are as follows:

I. Social media marketing has an impact on Indian student's choice of university to study abroad.
II. Indian students prefer social media over other means to find information on a university.

3.2.3 Objectives

The process of defining the research objective depends on the complexity and nature of research. The study focusses on number of key areas like Influence of social media on Indian students, social media engagement by students & universities, influence of social media marketing on university recruitment process and reliability of information on social media. In general, there are no definitive objective for goals of the study, as goals might involve various objectives. (lankshear, 2004)

The main objectives, that are aligned with main & secondary research questions:

I. To understand the engagement of Indian students with social media.
II. To understand the influence of social media in normal student life.
III. To understand the preference of social media channels in youth.
IV. To determine if social media is effective in international university recruitment process.
V. To determine if social media marketing is attracting Indian students to pursue higher education in abroad.

3.3 Research approach & strategy

Research approach refers to the process of knowledge development through specific means on a topic. (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007). The correct choice of research approach implies a valid contribution done by researcher to extend his/her knowledge in research area of study . The role of data versus the role of theory in two approaches creates a distinction between them. (Hyde, 2000)

In order to identify the best research approach for the study which identifies with the objectives, the researcher needs to understand two types of approaches i.e. deductive and inductive.

I. Inductive approach: The inductive research approach does not require any previous knowledge or literature. It involves a process of theory building which requires observation in the selected subject. (Hyde, 2000). In the initial stages data are analysed and then the theory development follows.
II. Deductive approach: The deductive research approach requires previous knowledge and literature in the subject. This approach seeks to determine whether the theory is applicable to the data . (Hyde, 2000) It involves the development of logical inferences based on theory, then tested empirically and presented by a conclusion on the basis of falsification or confirmation of the hypothesis. (Arlbj0rn & Halldórsson, 2002)

The current study adopted the deductive research approach based on the discussion. As the study will not lead to a development of new theory and a few similar studies (Maringe, 2006) successfully applied deductive approach to investigate factors concerning the influence of social media on students.

A well-defined strategy towards deductive approach must involve the key factors of the research question. Due to the nature of study, a qualitative approach was chosen. This method allows researchers to have a better understand in the chosen subject by considering the perception of people and in the context of where they live . (Hennink, Hutter, & Bailey, 2011) The survey research strategy is generally connected with deductive research approach and most appropriate in ensuring the, results considering minimum resources and time. (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2007). Additionally, Surveys help pollster in collecting large data from the prospective respondents, which is necessary in generalising the results. (Bryman, 2008)

3.4 Data collection

The data collection involves critical analysis of theory and literature with the goal of creating a set of questionnaire objects based on the research objective. (Creswell, 2009).The second generation of theoretical framework with reference to extant theory in areas of social media and its influence on Indian students. According to statistics discussed in Chapter 2.1 most of the students studying abroad opt for higher education that is, in other words are postgraduates. Therefore, the prospective respondents for this research are defined as Indian students either pursuing bachelor's degree or working professionals.

Students from Mumbai, India were invited to participate in the online survey through google forums. The final number of responses were 125, in limited amount of time. The justification of data collection method, type of survey and survey questionnaire are discussed in following subsections of the chapter.

3.4.1 Data collection method

The primary data collection method for qualitative data in the study was survey questionnaire. A qualitative research method is most suitable for answering questions of ‘why' and ‘how.' (Hennink, Hutter, & Bailey, 2011). Survey is a beneficial technique in the capturing of facts, behaviours, attitudes or opinions from a wide range of respondents. (Maylor, Blackmon, & Huemann, 2017).

There are two primary streams of questionnaires. One includes the interviewer in the administration of the questionnaires, like face to face interviews. The other is self­administered, without the interviewer. In other words, the respondent completes the survey without and help/assistance or influence from the interviewer. (Maylor, Blackmon, & Huemann, 2017).

The self-administered technique is more beneficial in current research as it allows respondents to be themselves and use their own perception to answer. That helps the study to understand, how a respondent is or was ever influenced by social media. On the other hand, interviewer- administered will provide more context to the problem and help understand more than what is limited to the questionnaire. But the goal was to reach out to a greater number of students, in order to generalize the findings. Hence, due to limited time and resources self-administered technique was preferred.

3.4.2 Survey question types

The survey involves 18 questions related to the subject. The first question asks for the name of the person, is optional to assure the anonymity and confidentiality of respondents. The remaining 17 questions are of 4 types; Demographic, Dichotomous, Multiple choice and Agree/disagree questions. In order to enhance the reliability, most of the respondents were invited from a former university of the researcher in Mumbai. The questionnaire involves pictures and social media themes to enhance the interest of respondent. Rest is followed as (Athanasiou, debas, & darzi, 2010) recommended that ‘ the questionnaire should start with the basic before the complex questions.'

Table 3.1

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{Source: Question Pro ( )}

3.4.3 Survey questions

This section of the chapter involves all the questions from survey questionnaire with the justification of each. In process of creating the survey questions by the researcher to reach the objectives, researcher identified the difference between cultures and religions in India. Therefore, the questions were generalised and sent out to a selected random group of people. Three questions (Q. V, Q. X & Q. XV) were treated as a base question for cross analysis of the next following questions or statements.

Following are the questions from the questionnaire:

I. What do you call yourself?

To please respondents by asking their names here, it was an optional question to retain the autonomy of the respondents. Personal level questions help respondents to think perceptively. After giving their names, respondents commit to the survey and answer wisely.

II. How many candles did you blow off, on your last birthday?

This question was about their age, to determine that the age group correspond to students who may or may not planning to pursue higher studies from abroad.

III. What is your gender? If I may ask

To understand the perception of students depending, behavioural aspect of feminine or masculine. In India, it has been proven to be a significant factor.

IV. Which one of the following social apps, you open first when you wake up?

To determine which social media network, the students spend more time on. It is no surprise that when people wake up, first thing, they check notifications on their smartphones.

V. Were you or are you planning to study abroad?

Social media marketing uses algorithms to target prospective students. If you are searching about studying abroad or going through ranking websites with your open IP address, do not be surprised to see Ads about foreign universities on social media networks. To analyse the impact of social media marketing on students who were or are planning to study abroad and students who were or are not.

This question was used as a base question for cross analysis of questions VI, VII, VIII, IX & X. As it divides the respondents into two categories depending on how the respondents answer this question. If they selected ‘NO' as an answer, they automatically fell in first category otherwise in second.

VI. Do you usually find posts about relevant colleges? (Like, in countries you are looking for).

To further analyse if Indian students are or were planning to study abroad, do they get relevant advertisements. Students (to do) research about foreign universities go on internet, social media marketing can use this to their advantage to analyse which country, course, or level of education would be relevant to the students. Followed by this, it shows relevant results through social media channels. Cross analysis of Q. VI & Q. V can provide a clear picture about the effectivity of social media marketing in terms of relevant posts display.

VII. Do you or would you change your mind about a college, based on its social media presence?

A straight question to determine the value of social media in students' decision-making process while planning to study abroad. To understand the power of improvised social media marketing. The second category respondents on this analysis would show the difference social media can make, whereas first category responses would show India students' trust on social media.

VIII. When I see a friend's post from a college abroad, I usually tap and check out the page.

To understand the curiosity social media creates, especially for second category Indian students. It is not a part of social media marketing as the university is not directly reaching to the student but indirectly through one of their enrolled students. This is the power of social media which corresponds to a huge connection among people. Social media brings the world on smartphone. Furthermore, the analysis of first category respondents for this question can provide an understanding about influencing students who are or were not even planning to study abroad.

IX. Personally, Social media brought a lot of options, which I would not have found on my own.

To determine the excellence of social media marketing, providing value in terms of better options to prospective Indian students. A personal level question indicates that the respondents do not analyse external factors but their perspective to the subject. Clearly the second category results will help determine, if social media is helping or not during the research of Indian students on selection of universities. Although, the results from first category students can explain the excellence of social media in terms of variety in any chosen field.

X. How often do you see posts related to studying abroad on social apps?

To understand the behaviour of social media push marketing on Indian students. A multiple­choice question to collect a response on the basic of two categories. To understand if the technical and informative systems behind the algorithms are working in order to gain advantage for the customers. More often an Indian student would see a post, it is more likely to influence him/her.

As mentioned before, Q. X was a base question for next following questions. Theron, the category of respondents, change. There are 4 categories based on the choices, respondents make about how often they see a post about studying abroad or foreign university.

XI. If you see an interesting post, do you visit the page of that college?

To understand the attraction of posts, created by universities for social media marketing. The aim of social media marketing is to get the audience to the profile of the university. The analysis for this question would bring light on responses from all 4 categories. The cross analysis would provide the understanding for the behaviour of prospective Indian students when they see a post about studying abroad or foreign university.

XII. What attracts you more about colleges abroad on social media page?

To understand the relevance of social media design on different respondents. A multiple­choice question cross analysed with the 4 categories, with intention to determine behaviour, need and expectations of each respondent. The analysis can help universities improve their strategy for social media marketing.

XIII. Do you cross check the information about colleges, provided on social media with web search?

To evaluate the information provided on social media channels. Cross analysis of this question will help the researcher to identify the time invested by Indian students during research process through social media for university selection abroad. The analysis will provide a clear picture about the reliability of information passed on social media.

XIV. Colleges abroad are manipulating students with attractive posts and incomplete information.

A straight statement to understand perspective of respondents towards social media marketing done by universities. This independent statement was cross analysed with Q. XIII to understand the results, respondents find after cross checking the information provided on social media with web search.

XV. If you are interested in a college or university abroad, do you follow it on social networks?

This question section was emphasized on the engagement of social media rather than social media marketing. To understand the engagement and impact of social media for Indian students; whether they follow or not the college they are interested in due to external factors, can help identify that if the social media presence is highly important for universities. To minimize the error conditioned by ‘IF,' this question was cross analysed with Q. V. Hence, students who are or were not planning to study abroad can be eradicated for the sole purpose of analysis.

This was a base question for the next following statements. Theron, the categories of respondents, change again into two, depending on how they respond to Q. XV. Respondents who do not follow the university they are interested in, i.e. if they chose ‘NO,' were automatically fell into first category and otherwise in second.

XVI. Social media presence is a good way to find out about the culture of a college.

To understand the importance of strategic part of social media in providing cultural aspect through pictures & videos and how much ‘culture' as a factor important for an Indian student. It is interesting to see how second category students responded to this question.

XVII. Sometimes social media tells more about colleges than world ranking websites.

Clearly second category students' responses to this statement will make a statement itself, about the relevance of social media and putting it above the information on internet.

Statements were used in the questionnaire to get precise results and not confuse the respondents with researchers' expectations.

XVIII. It is easier to find information about the college and country on social media than educational websites.

It is been said in chapter 2, that one of the factors for huge engagement of youth in social media is its ‘ease.' To analyse the behaviour of Indian students towards ease in their research and to confirm the reliability of source.

3.5 Limitations

Arguably, one limitation of the methodology is a smaller number of respondents i.e. 125. The target was to gather data for 200 Indian students, which indicates inefficiency in data collection size by 37.5%. Second, there are no questions related to the type of course & programme, level of education and geographic preferences in the questionnaire.

The subject is broad with many aspects related to many fields such as social media, social media marketing, universities, Indian students and studying abroad. Hence, selected questions with cross functional analysis was best methodological approach to analyse the subject according to the researcher.

Few assumptions were made. First, Indian students who are or were not planning to study abroad, never researched about a foreign university in their web search. Second, only Indian students with age ranging from 15 to 30 plan to pursue higher studies. Third, responses with ‘MAYBE' are considered in the favour of hypothesis in questions with ‘YES', ‘NO' & ‘MAYBE' options.


4.1 Introduction

This chapter presents survey results from 125 Indian student respondents in four sections; general information, influence of social media marketing in their decision-making process of selection of university abroad for higher studies, engagement of Indian students towards universities on social media channels and their reliability of information provided on social media. The data collection conducted online with the help of Google forums, given that the master set of respondents are students belong to Mumbai city in India.

The survey results are displayed systematically for each question section wise. Tableau (data visualization software) is used for analysis and display of data. Results of each question is presented, firstly with the charts, followed by their analysis summary and discussion.

4.2 Survey results & analysis

The survey results are divided into 4 sections. Each section has analysis of different sets of questions based on their part. Most of the analysis is crosstab, which means(here) analysing two categorical questions together. Cross analysis allows to deep dive and analyse prospective data against different set of categorical data. Each section has sets of questions to understand the subject.

4.2.1 General information

This section covers first 4 questions i.e. the name of the respondents, their age, gender and favourite social media channel (this is a general question in context to the study).

I. What do you call yourself?
II. How many candles did you blow off, on your last birthday?

First two questions are represented by table 4.1 & 4.2. Table 4.1 is a list of all 125 respondents of the survey.

Table 4.1

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Table 4.2 displays the age group, mode and average age of respondents. Most students fall in age ranging from 15 to 30.

Table 4.2

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120 respondents out of 125 are in range from 15 to 30, indicates 96% of effectivity. Hence, the effective factor for this section of the chapter is 0.96. Mode is 23, which represents the highest number of occurrences in age. Most of the Indian graduates, who want to study abroad are in range of 20-24. Average age is 22.464, indicating the average age of an Indian student wanting to pursue higher studies.

III. What is your gender? If I may ask

Fig. 4.1

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Of the respondents 53.6% were females and 46.4% were male Indian students.

IV. Which one of the following social apps, you open first when you wake up?

Fig. 4.2

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72% of total respondents use Instagram most often. Instagram beats other social networks like Facebook (18.4%), LinkedIn (6.4%) & Twitter (3.2%) by huge margin. It indicates that Instagram is most popular among Indian students and could be the main source for social media marketing.

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When cross compared the data with gender, it indicates that most female Indian students use Instagram and male Indian students use Facebook. However, the bigger circle for Instagram represents 72% in overall analysis, which means 26.4% of male Instagram regular users beat 14.4% of male Facebook regular users by huge margin.

4.2.2 Influence of social media marketing

This section of the chapter covers next 6 questions. The analysis in this section is focussed of the influence social media marketing has on Indian students' decision-making process, while opting to study abroad. The first question in this segment was used as the base question to analyse next following questions. It was important to divide the respondents into two categories.

V. Were you or are you planning to study abroad?

Fig. 4.4

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16.8% of respondents are in first category i.e. they are or were not planning to study abroad. Of total respondents 21 Indian students are or were not planning to study abroad. 83.2% respondents are effective for the analysis. Hence, the effective factor is 0.832 in this section of the chapter.

68 of all respondents are or were planning to study abroad which is greater than 21, who are or were not. 21 students belong to first category and 104 belong to the second.

Table 4.3

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The fig. 4.4 indicates that 54.4% Indian students plan to study abroad every year, 28.8% Indian students take, higher education from foreign university, into consideration. And only 16.8% students do not plan to study abroad.

VI. Do you usually find posts about relevant colleges? (Like, in countries you are looking for)

Fig 4.5

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57 respondents from second category usually find posts about relevant colleges and 31 of them usually do not. On the other hand, only 8 respondents from first category find relevant posts. The fig 4.5 roughly indicates the effectivity of social media marketing towards prospective Indian students.

However, 31 students from second category do not find relevant posts. That brings the effectivity down by a significant margin. According to the analysis, the effectivity of social media marketing in terms of relevant posts about universities is 70.19%.

VII. Do you or would you change your mind about a college, based on its social media presence?

Fig. 4.6

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32 Indian students from second category would and 43 of them may change their mind about a foreign university based on its social media presence, whereas only 29 of them would not. The number shows that 75 Indian students of 104 are influenced by social media presence of universities. A strong social media presence of universities can guarantee better recruitment results.

On the other hand, only 6 students from first category would change their mind about a foreign university.

Fig. 4.6 reflects that 72.12% Indian students from second category are highly influenced by social media presence of universities. It is an indication, that social media marketing has a vital role in decision-making process for foreign universities of Indian students.

VIII. When I see a friend's post from a college abroad, I usually tap and check out the page.

Fig. 4.7

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40 Indian students of 68, who are or were planning to study abroad, generally tap on a friend's post from a college abroad to checkout his/her university. Only 13 students of 68 disagree with that statement. 56 Indian students from second category interact more with foreign university social media presence, while only 21 of them do not. It states the engagement on foreign university profiles are more for second category Indian students.

The fig. 4.7 reflects that 52.8% Indian students agree that they tap to see the profile of a foreign university when they see a friend's post. Whereas only 21.6% Indian students do not agree. The analysis concludes that social media attracts huge engagement from Indian students, even without social media marketing. It can also be said that Indian students have more curiosity about the university & reliability of the information, when it is coming from a connection.

IX. Personally, Social media brought a lot of options, which I would not have found on my own.

Fig. 4.8

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67 Indian students from second category agree to the statement, whereas only 10 of them disagree and 24 of them chose to be neutral. 6.7 times number of Indian students believe that social media brings more options than what they can find on the internet in terms of variety. The fig. 4.8 indicates shows that 84 Indian students of total respondents agree that, they find more options in foreign universities through social media networks. And only 11 Indian students out of 125 disagree to that.

The analysis proves that Social media marketing is very effective in terms of providing variety of options to Indian students when it comes to pursue higher education from foreign universities. (67% Indian students in favour and only 0.88% against)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

First analysis from fig. 4.9 show that 42 students from second category see foreign university related posts once a week, 34 of them see once a day, 22 of them see many times a day and only 6 of them see once a month. Most occurrence response is once a week , which indicates effective push behaviour of social media marketing.

Secondly and essentially 16 Indian students out of 27, who responded ‘many times a day' are or were planning to study abroad. Also 26 such Indian students out of 50 responded ‘once a week.' The analysis represents that majority of India students in second category, see a related post at a frequency of once a week, followed by once a day and many times a day.

4.2.3 Engagement of Indian students on social media

Overall, 40% of the respondents (50) chose once a week, followed by 30.4% of them (38) chose once a day, 21.6% of them (27) selected many times a day and only 8% of them (10) selected once a month.

This question is also the base question for the following chapter. The categorization is as follows:

Table 4.4

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XI. If you see an interesting post, do you visit the page of that college?

Fig. 4.10

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The fig. 4.10 show that 62 Indian students of 125 visit the profile page of university when they see an interesting post. 22, which is maximum of them see a post once a week, followed by 21 Indian students who see a post once a day. On the other hand, 36 students responded that they do not visit the profile page, when they see a post regarding studying abroad.

Interestingly, only 4 students out of 62 see posts once a month. That indicates that 93.5% of students who visit the profile of universities are visiting on a regular basis. That means huge engagement for social media through social media posts. 12% students (15) of total respondents see a post many times a day and they visit the profile of the university.

On an average every Indian student see posts related to foreign universities once a day and they visit the university page seeking information. That concludes that, one Indian student at least visits 30 universities profile in a month through social media.

XII. What attracts you more about colleges abroad on social media page?

Fig. 4.11

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The fig. 4.11 shows that most of the engagement on social media channels, come from photos & videos. Which makes sense, as 72% of the respondents' favourite channel is Instagram. 52.8% students selected photos & videos, followed by 23.2% of students who chose Diversity shown on social networks and only 16.8% students chose Rankings as an attracting factor for higher studies.

48.48% students of respondents who chose photos 7 videos belong to category A, followed by 34.84% students belonging to category B. The analysis indicates that, for Indian students most interesting aspect of social media marketing is Photos & videos of foreign universities, followed by Diversity.

XIII. Do you cross check the information about colleges, provided on social media with web search?

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The Fig. 4.12 represents that 45.6% of students cross check the information they find on social networks with internet web search. 29.6% students do not cross check the information.

Of respondents who cross check the information, 25 belong to category A, 18 to Category B & 11 to category C. That indicates, the regularity of cross-checking information. The engagement of internet through social media is huge.

Significant percentage of students do not cross check information, with huge engagement by Indian students on social media, shows their reliability on the information.

In category C, 27 students who see a post many times a day; 15 visit the profile of university, 16 are attracted by photos& videos and 11 of them even cross check the information by visiting their websites. It is a sign of maximum engagement in day by 21.6% of Indian students.

4.2.4 Information provided on social media

This section of the chapter will analyse the information provided on social media, its reliability, accuracy and impact. This section has statements, which students responded if they agree or not.

As shown in fig. 4.12, 57 respondents cross check the information provided on social media with web search, 37 of them do not and 31 responded that maybe they do.

XIV. Colleges abroad are manipulating students with attractive posts and incomplete information.

Fig. 4.13

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The fig. 4.13 indicates that, 41.6% students strongly agree or agree that Colleges abroad are manipulating students with attractive posts and incomplete information. 25.6% students disagree with the statement. According to the analysis, 36.84% of students who cross check the information agrees with the statement. Whereas 31.57% of them do not agree.

40% of students who agree with the statement cross check the information provided on social media with web search and 51.14% of students who do not agree, cross check the information.

It is difficult to conclude that most students agree that college are manipulation students with attractive marketing as, most of the students who agree, do not cross check the information with web.

It is also not possible to conclude that social media posts are not manipulating as, majority of respondents i.e. 41.6% students agree with the statement.

XV. If you are interested in a college or university abroad, do you follow it on social networks?

Fig. 4.14

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As shown in fig. 4.14, 60.8% students follow the university on social media when they are interested in one. 28% Indian student do not follow the university on social media even when they are interested in one.

The analysis shows that most of the Indian students are engaged with universities on social platform because they are interested. This also indicates that source of information on a university for 60.8% Indian students is social media.

This is a base question for the analysis of next statements in this section of chapter.

The categorization is as follows:

Table. 4.5

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XVI. Social media presence is a good way to find out about the culture of a college.

Fig. 4.15

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According to the analysis, 65.6% of Indian students agree that social media is a good way to find out about the culture of a college. Only 10.4% students disagree to the statement.

67.78% students from first category strongly agree or agree to the statement, whereas only 7.78% students from first category disagree to the statement.

The count for ‘strongly disagree' is zero in this case, therefore not visible in the chart.

The analysis concludes that Indian students believe that social media provides best insights about the culture of foreign universities.

XVII. Sometimes social media tells more about colleges than world ranking websites.

Fig. 4.16

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According to the analysis, 48.4% students agree that social media has more to offer than ranking websites such as Economic times. And only 16.8% students disagree to the statement.

33.6% students from first category agree to the statement, whereas only 10.4% disagree.

The fig. 4.16 shows that 52 respondents agree, and 9 respondents strongly agree to the statement. On the other hand, 20 respondents do not agree, and only one respondent strongly disagree to the statement.

The analysis concludes that Indian students have more faith in social media than ranking websites.

XVIII. It is easier to find information about the college and country on social media than educational websites.

Fig. 4.17

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According to the analysis, 48.8% Indian students agree that it is easier to find information on social media than other websites or web searches. 19.2% Indian students disagree to the statement.

47.78% students from first category agree to the statement, whereas only 14.43% do not believe that it is easier to find information on social media.

The fig. 4.17, shows that maximum Indian students agree to the statement. Hence, the analysis concludes that It is easier and faster to find information on social media that other sources.


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Impact of Social Media Marketing on an Indian Student’s Decision of Studying Abroad
The ESC Rennes School of Business
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
abroad, decision, impact, indian, marketing, media, social, student’s, studying
Quote paper
Rishab Singh (Author), 2019, Impact of Social Media Marketing on an Indian Student’s Decision of Studying Abroad, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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