Earlier this summer, the Office of Graduate and Extended Learning offered a Social Media Marketing Workshop Series that was taught by past PNC Limited Term Lecturer and owner of D.Cohn Communications, Darlene McCarty Cohn. This class met once a week for 6 weeks and, in a nutshell, we learned about:
- What social media is and why it is necessary in the digital marketing age
- What good content is and how to create it
- Which platforms make sense for our organizations to use and how to optimize our accounts and posts
- Effective interpretation of analytics data related to our posts and accounts
- What an editorial calendar is, why we should use one and how to make one
Darlene’s experience and breadth of knowledge was constantly evident, as was her sense of humor and enthusiasm for marketing.
During the first session, we covered basics like what social media is, why it’s important, and the differences between traditional marketing and social marketing. Traditional marketing talks at people, gives them the hard sell and uses mediums such as commercials, flyers, and direct mail. Social marketing talks with people and new customers are often gained by word of mouth.
A great example Darlene gave was about the time that her washing machine and dryer stopped working. She asked friends and family on Facebook for advice about who’s repair services she should use. She received over 20 responses and chose a service provider based upon them.
When people have a problem or are seeking information, they ask the people that they know, often using social media. They’ll often utilize search engines as well. If your business is not utilizing social media or showing up towards the top of the search engine lists, your customers are not finding you.
“Social media is about the people, not the business. Provide for the people and the people will provide for you.”- Matt Goulart
Creating good content is at the heart of social media marketing. “Content” includes everything you put online, including blog posts, social media posts, pictures, infographics and more. An entire class session was devoted to determining what types of content and particular platforms should be used to reach your specific audience.
We learned a lot about using Facebook for marketing, including:
- How to get more reach and engagement for your posts
- Why page likes are not as important as most people think that they are
- What type of content works best for engaging your followers
- How important it is to make sure that your Facebook page exists (and why) but also remains active
- About the importance of responding appropriately and quickly to comments, both good and bad
Another important platform that we learned about was LinkedIn, which is geared towards professionals. In its most basic form, it is an interactive digital resume, but it is also so much more. We learned a lot about the use of its extensive tool for networking and marketing a brand.
Darlene talked about the importance of following certain unspoken, LinkedIn etiquette rules regarding who you choose to connect with. She advised that it is wise to make sure that you know the person you’re trying to connect with, as by being connected with them, you are essentially recommending this person for a job to prospective employers. You also must make sure that your profile is completely filled out. It does not hurt to get people that you know to post recommendations about you.
We also discussed Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter. There are many social media tools out there but to try to manage every possible account effectively can become daunting and time consuming. Unless your workplace has someone that is dedicated to working on social media for 40 hours per week, it will be nearly impossible to have an impact across all social media platforms. Instead, you should figure out who your audience is and what messages you would like to convey to them. From there, deciding which media platforms to utilize will become easier.
During the last class, Darlene taught the class how to create an editorial calendar. This can be a very helpful tool for strategically planning the use of social media to create a unified, effective online presence for your brand and maximize the number of people who will be exposed to your content while minimizing stress related to maintaining these online accounts.
This program will be offered again later this fall and it will be followed by a one-day seminar on more advanced digital marketing concepts.
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