Teaching Social Media Marketing to Digital Natives

by Ken Mueller on January 13, 2011 · 18 comments

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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 That’s fine with me, because any book that is published today is somewhat out of date the moment it hits the presses, especially if it deals with the “how-tos” of Social Media.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:

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?

 Teaching Social Media Marketing to Digital Natives
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13 comments

Looks like you have the must read list down! Good Luck and have fun!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

What about Groundswell? I'd say that's a must!!

Jerry
Jerry

Good for you! Great reading list, both required and not required. I would have difficulty winnowing through the list too!

I think that it's great that a JC is feeling the need to teach students that social media has a commercial side in addition to the Kumbaya side.

I'd include a heavy section on identifying a target market so that they can them know how to reach that market's "hot spots" with an offer that they will resonate with. Then teach them how to target that market with Facebook Ads or LinkedIn DirectAds. You'll be giving them information that they can use to become employable right away!

Farida H
Farida H

I graduated from a Master's program in PR and Corporate Communication in 2009 and I found most of the prescribed readings outdated or too theory-based. A lot of my social media education came from my own initiative to read blogs and other books. So it's great to see that you've compiled an interesting list of books that students can actually learn and apply from. I would recommend David M Scott's Real-Time Marketing and PR. I'm half-way through the book and feel like I've already learned so much from it.

Rebecca Corliss
Rebecca Corliss

Congrats, Ken! I know you will be an excellent teacher.

Bill Smith
Bill Smith

I have been looking for a social media dashboard for my small business, I have been looking at SMINetwork.com they seem to have all the functionality I am looking for but I am still not sure, do you have any insight into enterprise solutions?

Stevesmith
Stevesmith

Hey Ken,
Do you have a schedule and cost for this class? I would be interested.

Ken Mueller
Ken Mueller

Gini, I can't please everyone! But there will be some readings from that as well. And a lot from that book is now up in my head and in my notes for what will be taught in class!

Ken Mueller
Ken Mueller

Thanks, Jerry. Though this is not a JC, it's a full 4-year college.

Narrowing down the texts was incredibly difficult. If it were a grad level class, I would certainly have required much more reading. But the books I don't require for readings will certainly be referenced throughout.

Ken Mueller
Ken Mueller

Farida, I'm trying to take a lot of that in consideration as I do this course. It will be a very fluid, "living, breathing" sort of course. The syllabus is written, but is very much subject to change. I've been given a lot of leeway on how I construct the course, and while I have a plan in place, a lot of what we discuss will be what is happening "in the moment" via blogs and case studies. It's a really exciting thing!

And yes, I too love all of the books that David Meerman Scott has written. Great resources.

Ken Mueller
Ken Mueller

Thanks, Rebecca! I certainly owe a lot of this to you and Inbound Marketing University. I certainly failed to mention in this post that in addition to all the books and readings (including the Inbound Marketing book), a lot of IMU materials will be used. Gotta give credit where credit is due!

Ken Mueller
Ken Mueller

I've never checked this one out, Bill, but I'll give it a look. I've used a variety of dashboards, but a lot depends on what you are willing to pay. Hubspot and Radian6 both have some nice software.

Ken Mueller
Ken Mueller

Steve, this is through the college, so I'm not sure how it works. I am teaching several classes at PCA&D over the next few months as part of their continuing education program that might work better for you.

Trackbacks

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  3. […] into the “real world” with gobs of talent and the desire to succeed and do a good job. They “get” Social Media because it has been an important part of their lives for so long. It’s their second language. […]

  4. […] Much of the structure of the class will be the same, but since I have a semester under my belt, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve shifted some things around, including the required books and readings, and I think this time around it will be an even better class. I love that I’m able to work with a group of folks who are digital natives – people who have grown up using social networks. […]

  5. […] As I write this I’m getting ready to head to one of my teaching gigs. I am an adjunct at two colleges and was brought on board to both of them to create and teach classes in social media marketing. […]

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