IntroductionThe purpose of this report is to suggest ideas in which the Facebook group MarketNet can be promoted to business and marketing students of CQU, and how the features of the site can be enhanced. This task presents a number of opportunities and challenges. Facebook is of course one of the most popular social networking sites on the Internet, and so much of the target audience are likely to already be Facebook members. By the same token, there is already plenty for the average user to do in Facebook.
In order to be successful, the MarketNet group must ‘stand out’ for users, and feature engaging and useful content. The notion of spending free time interacting in a school-based group might not be appealing to some students, and so the site must not only be valuable for learning, but also entertaining. The report is organised in the following fashion: a brief target audience analysis is presented along with a discussion of the relationship of Facebook, and online social networks in general, to the CQU target audience. A web traffic plan follows with a detailed examination of the issues of branding the site, developing design and content, and promotion through word-of-mouth.
Three websites of interest to marketing and business students are reviewed and suggested as links which can be added to the MarketNet group page. The final section of the paper discusses the types and uses of convenience surveys, and presents a detailed example of one which could be used for the MarketNet group as a means of assessing the effectiveness of the site. Target Audience AnalysisThere are three main student cohorts within the CQU community.
Almost half of the student body are international students, who in general tend to be young (around age 23), male, Asian, and studying informatics, management, or commerce. About one-third of the domestic students are in the flexible-learning programs, with the remaining twenty percent or so enrolled in traditional on-campus programs. The Australian students, in comparison to their international schoolmates, are generally female, older – around age 30 – and studying education or society and culture. (CQU Fact Sheet – Organisational Positioning, v. 1.0, August 2005)These are generalised statistics, but are satisfactory for the purposes of estimating the size of the potential target audience for the MarketNet group.
The university’s description of ‘typical’ CQU students suggests that perhaps as much as half of the student body study marketing-related courses at some point; the majority in relevant degree courses, others in courses that are incidental to other programs. Because of the significant representation of both sexes and a wide range of ages among the students, it would be appropriate to assume the market-related courses contain a broad cross-section of age and gender.
Because MarketNet is a Facebook group, the core of the target audience will be those students who already use Facebook. Given the impressive demographic statistics of Facebook, it is likely that a significant majority of CQU students are already Facebook users: the site boasts over 200 million users worldwide, with about 20 million of those visiting Facebook at least once a day. (Facebook, 2009) It is estimated that between 18% and 19% of the total population of Australia have some kind of Facebook presence. (AllFacebook. com, 2009) An interesting aspect of Facebook’s demographic that is encouraging with respect to CQU’s broad student profile is that while the largest group of Facebook users is still those people under 30 years of age, the fastest-growing group is those 35 and older.