How to teach social media marketing

Marketing faculty members in business schools learned advertising and media under the old advertising model focused on creating and delivering messages to potential customers in a mass media environment. Yes, there was direct mail and it was very effective for reaching specific targets, but it was rarely the focus of a university advertising course.

In the late 1990’s and into the new millennium the web changed the way marketers taught aspects of marketing such as distribution and display advertising. With the advent of search marketing professors had to again alter their teaching to include key words and pay-per-click executions.

With social media and mobile penetration the advertising world has changed again. Digital advertising now commands the second highest level of ad spending in the US and the rules for advertising have also changed. Marketing faculty should not just add a discussion of digital advertising into their courses because for many brands digital is THE primary medium for communications. To teach digital, social media and mobile advertising effectively, professors have to approach the task with a new skill set.

The good news for business school faculty is that the business aspects of advertising are still key and can be used as a guide for mastering the new platforms. Marketing professors should continue to teach integrated marketing communications strategy.  Lessons can  focus on segmenting markets, setting strong and measurable goals and creating messages that can be delivered to targets to achieve business objectives.

Professors should not be teaching how to tweet, post, retweet, follow or pin. Students already know how to do those things. Instead faculty should teach the strategies for customer engagement, driving sales, reducing costs and building brands.

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