17 Tips for Teaching Social Media Marketing

Teaching a social media marketing course can be an extremely daunting task. First and foremost, students that are digital natives already *think* they know everything about the subject. Plus, the social media industry evolves so quickly that instructors simply don’t have enough time to keep up with the latest and greatest social media trends and updates.

Never fear!

This post will give you tons of new ideas on ways instructors to structure your course, as well as give you tips and tricks on how to stay current on the ever-changing social media world.

1. Analyze Social Media Cases

Most students learn better, and retain information faster, if they study and discuss a real-world social media case. Students will be able to develop problem-solving, decision-making, peer interactions and data-driven skills. Stukent offers multiple real-world cases that will help the instructors to be prepared for class with relevant information. You can also share news articles about trending business stories on social media.

2. Discuss Key Social Media Trends

Every month the Stukent blog releases News You Can Use blog posts which gives an overview of recent changes and updates that have occurred in the social media world. Have the students read and prepare for class discussion. You can also have them share things they’re learning as they read some of their own industry news sites like socialmediaexaminer.com and marketingland.com.

3.  Encourage Regular Social Media Content Creation

Like with most subjects, students learn best by doing. Encourage students to develop their online presence that will fit their careers in the future. This approach will force them to think strategically of how their online presence is viewed and what type of voice their are developing with the social media audience. They could write a buzzfeed article (as suggested by Scott Cowley), create a video to publish on Youtube, or see who can get the most retweets on a tweet.

Bonus tip: turning this into a competition ALWAYS increases student engagement.

4. Utilize a Social Media Marketing Simulator

Stukent developed Mimic Social,  the world’s first social media marketing simulation, which allows students to practice social media marketing skills in a user-friendly interface where they can easily learn the principles of internet marketing throughout the semester.

5. Teach Fundamental Principles and Concepts

Without core principles, students might not understand the importance of social media etiquette, research and communication skills. Social media platforms will continue to change, but fundamental principles will always remain the same. Have the students list the basics of how a business should behave on social media. When they miss some of them, help point out the important ones they’ve overlooked.

6. Demonstrate Social Media Tools and Platforms

Demonstrating social media tools and platforms will help the students to be familiar with social media marketing tools that they can use in their future careers. Tools to for sure check out:

7. Require Students to Keep a Blog

Blogs have the potential to expand student creativity, not to mention their writing skills. In addition, blogs give students the ability to improve communication and collaboration skills. Blog platforms to check out:

8. Use a Broad Variety of Social Media Platforms

Using a broad variety of social media platforms will teach the students to be familiar with the most common social media channels used for marketing purposes. Additionally, take the time to explore new and smaller platforms. Consider using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Youtube platforms.

9. Select a Textbook That Fits Your Course

Marketing Strategies, a textbook offered by Stukent, is continuously updated. Free instructor access is stocked with useful resources for students and educators. These resources include built-in quizzes, lesson plans, recorded expert sessions, and much more.

10. Complete Social Media Certification Programs

Completing social media certification programs will allow the instructors to be ready to teach their students advanced social media marketing material. Well known social media automation tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, HubSpot and others offer certification programs to help you learn new social media marketing skills.

11. Require Projects That Encourage Application of Learned Material

Students will retain information faster if they are required to complete projects that have a direct application to the material they are learning. Instructors can receive free access to Stukent’s real-world social media projects to utilize in their classroom. Also, you can have students create pages on the actual platforms, or analyze a business’ social media and write up the changes they would recommend if they were the newly-hired CMO.

12. Find Websites/Blogs That Will Keep You Up-to-date on Social Media Trends

Spending a lot of time on social media might not an option for  a busy instructor. A better way to get caught up on recent social media trends is through relevant websites and blogs. There are hundreds of blogs that keep the public updated on current social media trends. Some of these blogs are Stukent Blog, Social Media Examiner, Buffer Social, and many others.

13. Keep Students Updated on the Career and Internship Opportunities

Most students are always looking for opportunities to gain real-world experience in their chosen career path. By utilizing Stukent job board instructors can keep their students updated in the available jobs and internships in their local areas.

BONUS IDEA: Have them interview a professional marketer to learn about the way their company utilizes social media.

14. Encourage Students to Follow Industry Experts

Following industry experts on Twitter and Facebook is a good way to stay updated on the current trends of social media world. Experts like Dennis Yu, Jay Baer, Andrew Chen and others offer relevant content to their followers. This content is not only useful for professional marketers, but for social media marketing students at all levels.

15. Have Industry Experts Speak to Your Class

Students and instructors could pay over $1,500 + travel fees to hear industry experts speak at internet marketing conferences across the world, or they could watch a Stukent Expert Session and get instant access to similar content for free. Stukent has dozens of recorded sessions from industry experts to help students and instructors learn more.

16. Facilitate Class Competitions

By facilitating classroom competitions instructors allow their students to demonstrate the skills students have learned in the course, as well as develop confidence in their professional abilities. Social media marketing classroom competitions can consist of groups creating a Youtube video and seeing who can get the most views, or seeing who can generate the most retweets, or get the most comments on a blog post. Have fun with it.

17. Listen to Social Media Podcasts

Podcasts are a wonderful resource for instructors who are constantly on the go and might not have time to read blogs about social media trends and updates. Industry experts like Jay Baer, Adam Brown, Jordan Powers and others offer podcasts to their followers to keep them updated on ever changing social media world.

Using the suggested tips above will not only benefit your students, but will help you to be more efficient with your time and resources.

If you have additional tips on how to teach social media marketing, share it with us in the comments below. 

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Inna Richardson

Product Marketing Manager at Stukent. Inna approaches marketing not only as a profession, but as a creative outlet. She has a passion for all things artistic and strives to create content that is educational, yet quirky and entertaining as well. Outside of Stukent, she is an outdoor, movie, and pop culture buff, and a fierce advocate of all things beautiful.


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