As some of you know, I was recently approached by a local college to create and teach a class on Social Media marketing. Several colleges have talked to me about the fact that contemporary college level marketing texts barely give even the smallest amount of lip service to the existence of Social Media.
The interesting thing about this is that while most standard marketing textbooks don’t seem to really touch on Social Media, there are no real Social Media textbooks out there. That’s fine with me, because any book that is published today is somewhat out of date the moment it hits the presses, especially if it deals with the “how-tos” of Social Media. As a result, I’ll be using a few of what I believe are the better books out there (not textbooks, mind you), and supplementing them with required reading of about 20 of the better industry blogs. My students will also be asked to keep an eye on how a variety of businesses are implementing marketing initiatives via Social Media.
The books I’ll be requiring as texts are:
These two cover a wide variety of theory and practical applications. They also offer some great case studies, but I have to say, it wasn’t easy narrowing this down. There are quite a few books I really like, but I had to make some decisions so as not to burden the students on either cost or reading volume. So, while I won’t be requiring these other books, I’ll also be including some readings from:
- Unmarketing – by Scott Stratten
- Trust Agents – by Chris Brogan & Julien Smith
- The Digital Handshake – by Paul Chaney
- Flip the Funnel – by Joseph Jaffe
- Marketing to the Social Web – by Larry Weber
- Inbound Marketing – by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
And there will be plenty of other readings as well.
While I say this is a Social Media Marketing course, it is really more than just that. I’ll be teaching all aspects of Inbound Marketing, including blogging and SEO. I want this class to be a nice mix of theory, sociology, and practical, hands-on application work.
My goals for the class?
I want the students to gain a better understanding of the elements of Inbound Marketing and how they should fit into a fully integrated marketing plan. In this day and age we often see two different approaches: businesses that jump into Social Media but treat it as separate from their overall marketing and branding plan, and then those that preach Social Media for Social Media’s sake, as if it were the be all and end all of marketing. Neither of these is the correct approach.
This class will include theory, sociology, business and marketing principles, as well as looking at the various tools of Social Media with an eye toward their practical usage from a marketing standpoint. As Paul Chaney says, Social Media is both a toolset and a mindset. They’ll be gaining hands-on experience actually working with the tools, as well as doing a lot of writing, researching and presenting their own original case studies, and interacting with me, and each other, on a regular basis.
But what I’m really excited about is working with the students; those who have grown up with Social Media in the same way many of us grew up with radio and television.
As I work with clients, most of them are in my age demographic, and like me, introduction to the Internet and Social Media and blogging came late in life. (Heck, my first computer class was a college FORTRAN class. Anyone remember FORTRAN and IBM punch cards??) For us it’s like trying to learn French in school, as opposed to growing up in France. These college students are digital natives with a very different perspective on things. They eschew email and live on Facebook.
So while I’m the teacher, I fully expect to learn a lot, as we navigate the social realm together, beginning in February. I look forward to viewing the Internet, and Social Media, and marketing, from their perspective. I imagine I’ll gain quite a bit of insight. And I’m sure some of my experiences will be fodder for future blog posts. Plus, my hope is that some of these students might even rise to the occasion of writing some posts for my blog as well. Stay tuned!
And for those of you in the marketing world, what do you think are some of the most important things I can teach my students? What are some of your favorite resources?