With the development of digital, the role of universities in society is continually changing. The competition among educational institutions is increasing around the world and universities are fighting for students and academics which can keep their reputation high. However, only universities which are transitioning to digital will stay relevant and be successful.
Nowadays, due to the competitive market, universities need to be focused on their relevance and differentiation. By adopting technologies and developing digital strategies, institutions are able to stand out from the competition. On the contrary, those universities which are not adapting to the digital era will be left behind.
This trend is explained by the fact that students are browsing the Internet every day and expect a high standard digital experience when they are researching the university they would like to apply for. Therefore, it is fundamental that institutions have a user-friendly and clear website, and use social media as a primary communication channel as young people are constantly using social networks platforms. As well as this, it is important that universities adopt data analytics as these provide useful information to deliver better outcomes, such as improving learning content, employability rates and information architecture.
At this point, what barriers universities are facing when they are going on digital?
Universities face many different issues when transitioning to digital. Firstly, most institutions are not able to shift to digital as quickly as the students want; secondly, many of them lack digital literacy as they do not have enough knowledge and skills to deliver the students’ expected outcomes. This issue can be related to the lack of new and young academics and staff members who have more digital knowledge and capabilities.
Therefore, universities should constantly evaluate their staff members’ skills and identify gaps so as they can improve their digital knowledge and consequently succeed.Thirdly, many institutions do not have a great website which is one of the most engaging marketing channels Therefore, universities should focus on the development of a well designed website which should attract potential students and provide useful information for the current ones.
Fourthly, another digital barrier is represented by social media. Some universities are not active on social media; they don’t have a proper tone of voice and do not answer promptly to students’ request.
However, social media can be a useful channel to increase the institution’s value if used correctly. Institutions with a large number of followers on social media and that continuously update their channels will stand out from the crowd. Also, those who empower different departments to write posts, will have a different tone of voice, show the department personality and will definitely engage with future students who are interested in a particular subject.
Finally, another digital barrier for institutions is SEO.
Universities have different pages for different departments which are managed by various people. This means that it is difficult for them to maintain consistent and high-quality posts, target keywords, avoid duplicated content and have a limited number of broken links.
In conclusion, the transition to digital has to be considered by institutions that want to keep their reputation and value among people. Many universities are currently dealing with this transformation. Therefore, it is important that each university department has a good digital literacy and know how digital technologies work. Only in this way universities can become unique and have a strong brand personality and presence.