The state of social media engagement in Saudi universities

Norah Khalid Alsufyan (Department of Management Information System, College of Business Administration, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Monira Aloud (Department of Management Information System, College of Business Administration, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 10 April 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the way that Saudi universities are engaging their audience via social media platforms by means of the five meaningful themes: visibility, branding, authenticity, commitment, and engagement. The study will answer the questions: how do Saudi universities exploit social media platforms to engage their target audience? What are the recommendations for Saudi universities toward maximizing the value of social media engagement?

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis approach was used to study all Saudi universities (26 public, 11 private). Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter were the anticipated social media platforms in this study.

Findings

The results showed that Twitter is the most frequently used platform to communicate with audiences. While visibility in the anticipated social media platforms was high, the engagement was lacking. On the other hand, authenticity and branding in the anticipated social media platforms were medium, while commitment was low except on Twitter. In general, the private universities exceed the public universities in terms of visibility, branding, authenticity, commitment and engagement in the anticipated social media platforms, which indicates their attention on gaining their audience’s satisfaction, a dynamic of trust which will lead to maintaining current relationships or building new ones.

Originality/value

Since there are few studies in the field regarding social media platforms usage by Saudi universities, this study aims to understand how Saudi universities are utilizing social media platforms to engage their audiences and propose recommendations for how Saudi universities can build value from social media platforms.

Keywords

Citation

Alsufyan, N. and Aloud, M. (2017), "The state of social media engagement in Saudi universities", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 267-303. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-01-2016-0001

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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