In a post last Tuesday, I noted that the students in my social media marketing classes are a great source of information on new social platforms. For example: Instagram is tops…Keep an eye on Yik Yak, Snapchat and Tinder…Facebook is for baby pictures.
I also learn new details and tricks of using Facebook, WordPress and Instagram in every class. It was clearly appropriate to start the discussion of teaching social media marketing with the quote: “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” - Yogi Bhajan
Why teach social media marketing?
If college students are so well versed on Social Media, why do I firmly believe that every marketing major, every business major and in fact every major would benefit from taking a course in social media marketing?
Students are expert on their favorite social media PLATFORMS and know a lot about the new cool platforms that are hot with college students. But students do not generally seem to understand:
- A broad variety of platforms – each student seems expert on one or two or maybe three social media platforms but doesn’t know much about the others.
- How social media shapes their personal brand – They have a fear of losing a good job because of old beer pong posts on FB and know that LinkedIn is important for jobs someday…but don’t grasp how they are branding themselves every day on social media.
- How social media impacts marketing, PR/communication or HR: Even seniors majoring in MKTG, COMM or MGMT do not see how the platforms that they use daily impact activities in their area of study.
In short my students don’t understand how to integrate social media into activities to benefit themselves or organizations or even how to view social media in other contexts.
I think that students of every major or interest would benefit from – and in fact need -study in depth of how social media impacts their area of interest: whether it is marketing, communication, management, psychology, anthropology, criminal justice or virtually any field of study.
If you are hiring an intern for social media I would suggest that you look beyond Facebook skill and Klout score and ask whether they have studied social media or have had prior social media experience within a corporation. Trying to teach them your organization’s point of view and voice is already a big challenge!