While teaching Internet & Social Media Marketing at Chapman University's Prague MBA program hosted by Anglo-American University in the Czech Republic, I as The Social Media Professor was interviewed by The Prague Post on the role of social media in academia in general and in business schools in particular. While social media is affecting areas beyond the realm of business schools such as in the areas of journalism and politics, when teaching social media, myself I tend to focus on the implications of social media on business, especially marketing-related aspects. In my experience, focusing “just” on marketing and social media provides enough reasons for a dedicated course on social media.
7 Marketing Uses of Social Media
Some of the key points that I emphasized in the interview is that social media increasingly is being used by companies and consumers to:
- Listen to and learn from conversations by consumers
- Help consumers learn about new products
- Connect with customers
- Convert prospects into buyers
- Foster loyalty and build long-term relationships
- Spread word-of-mouth
- Gather input in the develpment of new products and services
These are just some areas in which social media is helping businesses become more effective marketers and the list could be expanded further. The impact of social media on customer service for one is an area that immediately comes to mind. Regardless, I believe that most would agree that the areas listed above should all be areas highly relevant to marketers today. Then, if we see that social media is a key ingredient to success in many of these areas, the logical conclusion should be that social media indeed should be taught in business schools.
Why Social Media Marketing should be a stand-alone course
Even when social media is accepted as a topic of high relevance to business students, another objection I have heard is that social media should be seen as just another tool or media such as a telephone or television which don't necessarily merit their own courses. Rather, social media should be integrated as a tactical tool in the context of regular marketing classes the reasoning goes.
To some extent, I can empathize with this argument. Yet, I don't see this as an either-or proposition as I think you can do both. In fact, these days, I do incorporate more social media examples and guidance than ever before in my regular Marketing Management classes that I teach at the MBA level simply because I think it is difficult to not talk about how social media is changing marketing as we know it. I also think that in the long-term, it is indeed conceivable that social media marketing could become absorbed by marketing as a whole.
However, for the foreseeable future, I still believe that social media or at least Internet/Digital Marketing more broadly merits its own attention such as in the form of an MBA elective just like there are separate marketing classes offered in International Marketing, Advertising, Marketing Research, etc. Some of the arguments for why social media marketing should be a stand-alone course are that such a course allows students to:
- follow more closely the rapid advancements that are being made in how social media impacts marketing
- gain deeper insights into the social media strategies that are proving effective in achieving key marketing objectives
- immerse themselves in the application of social media
- develop their own online presence for future career success
I could probably go on and list more reasons but please comment and let me know what you think?Notes: You could also check out the nice blog post by my student Paula Mattison about the social media marketing class I taught in the Prague MBA program. Morever, please read the interview in The Prague Post mentioned above.