Social media interaction, the university brand and recruitment performance

Richard Rutter, Stuart Roper, Fiona Lettice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)


Commentators and academics now refer to Higher Education (HE) as a market and the language of the market frames and describes the sector. Considerable competition for students exists and the marketplace is global as institutions compete for students not just from their own country, but from the lucrative international market. Universities are aware of the importance of their reputations, but to what extent are they utilizing branding activity to deal with such competitive threats? Can institutions with lower reputational capital compete for students by increasing their brand presence?

This study provides evidence from research into social media related branding activity from 56 UK universities and considers the impact of this activity, in particular social media interaction and social media validation, on performance in terms of student recruitment. The results demonstrate a positive effect for the use of social media on brand performance, especially when an institution attracts a large number of Likes on Facebook and a high number of Followers on Twitter. A particularly strong and positive effect results when universities use social media interactively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3096-3104
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number8
Early online date1 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016


  • Branding
  • Performance
  • Social media
  • University

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