Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Teach Social Media Marketing – Part One

students working

You may be wondering how to teach social media marketing given how quickly the landscape changes, people adopt new platforms and the platforms themselves change with the wind.  Recently Jay Baer talked about the difference between potential reach and actual reach of social media. The point is that just because you have followers, doesn’t  mean they see your posts – it only means they could potentially see them.  This is a big problem for marketers and for educators who try to stay on top of teaching this challenging topic. So, how do you impart the necessary knowledge to students given this situation?   Emphasize the following five basics:

  1. Teach Marketing Concepts
    1. The Four P’s
    2. Segmentation and Targeting
    3. Research for Decision Making
  2. Emphasize Objectives
  3. Build on Digital Marketing Prerequisites
  4. Focus on Process
  5. Preach Measurement
  6. Know the Law

Teach Marketing Concept

If you are a marketing professor you likely teach students the notion that it is important to meet consumer needs while reaching organizational objectives.  The basic marketing mix plays a role in every part of social media marketing.  Social media influences product design and development, pricing and distribution and promotion.  Including examples of each of these in a course will set the stage for teaching more social media concepts.


The company used social media to choose the best products to bring to market, and then leveraged the knowledge of the crowd to develop the marketing strategy.  Crowdsourcing can be used by other firms to select the best possible ideas.


Best Buy created its own shelf tags for consumers to use with mobile devices to help limit the need to search for lower prices on mobile phones.


Brands like JewelMint leverage social media to sell more products encouraging customers to share with their friends.


Chipotle and Chobani have each used social media not only to promote their offerings but also to create a personality for their company. Videos, blogs, sponsorships and events have been utilized to tell their corporate story and cultivate positive attitudes toward their brand.

A great idea is to flip the classroom and get the students to find their own examples of brands that use social media as part of their marketing strategies.

Another concept that comes into play in teaching social media marketing is segmentation.

Segmentation is the process of dividing consumers into homogeneous groups based on certain demographic, geographic, psychographic characteristics and usage behavior. Faculty members who teach segmentation can use elements of social media to highlight aspects of the topic.

Social networks collect vast amounts of data on consumers and can provide a rich discussion on the various methods to divide consumers into groups based on the various segmentation methods: geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral. By logging onto Facebook a faculty member can show how Facebook provides actual market sizes for the various groups of individuals associated with specific characteristics.

In order to reach and engage people in social media marketers must ensure that the target uses these platforms and wishes to engage with marketers.  Most of the time people are on social media to connect with friends and not products.  Moments that matter and can influence sales are key to receptive audiences.  To bring this to life I ask students to use demographics from Pew Internet Research to define target markets for the major social sites.  You can find great data using the following link:

Target Markets for Social Media Sites

Finally, research is an important component of a strong social media strategy. Stay tuned for more information on how to cover this topic and more.





Do Iconic Figures Boost Social?


green giant

A study by Kwak, Puzakova and Rocereto in the Journal of Marketing found that when brands use a human-like figure to represent their brand in advertising people may respond more favorably toward price increases – but only under certain circumstances.  Many brands use icons to promote messages about their product such as Ronald McDonald, the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the Jolly Green Giant.  But what is the advantage of spending millions of dollars to associate your brand with a figure?  Like with most research the answer is that it depends….

The researchers tested two types of consumers, those who were focused on their own needs and those focused on the needs of others.  When people were self-focused they tended to see price increases as more unfair with humanized brands. However, when people were directed toward the needs of others they found both price increases and decreased to be more fair when brands were humanized.

It just goes to show you that the situation and context really matter when examining consumer behavior. A strategy that works under a certain set of circumstances may not work when consumers have other thoughts and feelings in mind.  The lesson for brands is to be sure to test strategies to see what works and what does not and monitor success against a set of measurable objectives.

The Social Media Marketing Quiz


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Are you a social media marketing maven?  A digital native or just love social media? Then, test your knowledge of social media marketing by taking this 10 minute quiz.

You will be asked 32 questions about social media and about your usage of social platforms. Learn your score at the end of the test and see where you stand in the world of social media marketing.

The test determines your knowledge of social media marketing strategy, key digital terms, metrics, platforms, target markets and global usage.  How much do you know?

Test Your Knowledge Quiz

Provide your Email address at the end to be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card.