Teaching Social Media Marketing Means Getting Hands On

kittyeducationChamplain College is getting ready to graduate the class of 2013 (commencement is just a few short weeks away!) and that means a whole host of Marketing grads are ready for YOU to hire them!

And unlike that little kitty right here, these students know exactly what to do with their education. At a time when employer expectations are high and many individuals assume that college graduates automagically know all the latest and greatest tools of the marketing trade, I can say with confidence that the young women and men I’m about ready to showcase actually do know all the latest and greatest tools of the marketing trade. And they can prove it.

It takes getting hands on to really understand the tools in demand in marketing.  From SEO, to analytics, to blogging, to social media marketing, to building an online brand, these students have actually done it.  Teaching social media marketing means creating a curriculum that weaves the tools throughout their classes, where expectations are that students will not just read about the tools, but they will use them. From their first year at Champlain, marketing students have had to utilize tools such as Twitter (yes I even developed a rubric for it!) and various blogging software to tell stories and fulfill academic requirements. They have had to read and follow bloggers ranging from David Armano, to Danny Brown, to Avanash Kaushik, to Laura Fitton, to Ann Handley. They have had to work on class projects for brands ranging from Sugarbush, to Fiddlehead Brewery, to Darn Tough Socks. They’ve written marketing plans, implemented events, made digital marketing recommendations, analyzed analytics, and created branding campaigns. And it all culminates in their senior capstone class where they bring it all together.

The goal, as they graduate, is to get found on Google. To build a social brand that has clout (and Klout). To create a full Professional Digital Identity (PDI). An online ecosystem that shows employers:

  • Writing and thinking through an ongoing blog
  • Personal philosophy through a reflective statement
  • Strengths/Values/Work illustrated through narrative and images
  • Social media experience through a presence on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and others

The PDI is designed to help our students provide employers with a dimensional look at who they are, what type of employee they might, and to help our students get fully hands on with the tools of the trade. The assignment requirements are in-depth, and emphasize critical thinking and a holistic approach to building their online digital identity. Their final work will be graded on how well they met the requirements which include content, social media, SEO, visual identity, and how they have measured success (we’ve explored quantitative tools like Google Analytics and the built in WordPress analytics as well as qualitative tools like Klout, Kred and Tweetgrader).

Just 15 weeks ago most of these students had a basic LinkedIn profile, very little on Google+, and a mix of content on Twitter. Some had blogs they had started, most hadn’t been keeping them up. They have learned what it takes to have to create ongoing content, utilize social media to build their following, write search engine friendly content, link their online properties, and endorse and follow one another in order to build stronger results. They have had to set goals and see how those goals have been met…or not. In other words, they have been learning…by doing.

So when one of these students shows up at an interview, they won’t be afraid to show their social media, they’ll be proud of it and you’ll really, really want to hire that grad!

Each of these students has been working hard, and since their final PDI isn’t actually due until the 25th, I anticipate they will be continuing to update and even change their content as they complete the assignment, so don’t be surprised if you go to their sites to check them out and find that they’ve made even more changes!

Kaisey Arena:
http://kaiseyarena.wordpress.com/
Initial Klout: 33| Current Klout: 65

@kaisey_a

Samantha Beebe:
http://sammiebeebe.com/
Initial Klout: 16 | Current Klout: 43

@samzbeebs

John Desmond:
http://nineballrider.com
Initial Klout: 49 | Current Klout: 54

@nineballrider


Ricky Fitzpatrick

http://ykcir999.wordpress.com/
Initial Klout: 36 | Current Klout 42

fitzpatrick-2013

Ollie Fichera:
 http://olliefichera.com/
Initial Klout: 46 |Current Klout: 60

@olliefichera

Quillan George:
http://quillangeorge.com/
Initial Klout: 55 | Current Klout: 62

@quillangeorge

Jess Lowell:
http://jessicalowell91.wordpress.com/
Initial Klout: 44 | Current Klout: 60

@jesse_christine

Tommy Lyga:
http://tommylyga.wordpress.com/
Initial Klout: 33 | Current Klout: 62

@tommylyga

Adam Miller:
http://adammiller802.com/
Initial Klout: 19 | Current Klout:  44

@adammiller802

Colby Sears:
http://searscolby.wordpress.com/
Initial Klout: 15 | Current Klout: 63

@colby_sears

Nikki Tetreault:
http://sincerelynikki.wordpress.com/
 Initial Klout: 51 | Current Klout: 61

@nikkitrex

Samantha Winchell:
http://samanthawinchell.wordpress.com/
Initial Klout: 24 | Current Klout: 56

@samwinchell

 

And there you have it. To get graduates ready to take on the jobs that are available, it takes giving them an opportunity to get comfortable with the tools of the trade. It takes more than theory and discussion. It takes doing the work and building a professional digital identity. This is not just the culmination of four years of academic, project based, internship focused, education. It is the stepping stone to a career in marketing. It is not just an ending but the beginning of great things yet to come.

Note: This page was updated on 4/22 to reflect a new domain for one of the students, and to update the name of another student. It was updated on 4/26 to add a new student to the list.

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