The Business of Social Media

With active users over one billion on Facebook, over 300 million on Google+ and 200 million on Twitter at the start of 2013, social media should be part of every business’s marketing plan. Before you start an account or write a post though, you need to have a solid social media strategy in place. In our “Social Media Marketing” course, you will set the groundwork on how to make your business a player in the social media space.

Christine HollindenThe class is taught by Christine Hollinden, principal of Hollinden Professional Services Marketing, who has helped service firms build brands and drive practice development for 25 years. She is widely recognized for her expertise in marketing and is a frequent speaker and webinar presenter on social media and marketing. We recently asked her a few questions about the upcoming class.

What can students expect to take away from the class?
Students will learn how to effectively use social media for business, including strategies to advance their careers, recruit qualified employees and expand their business. We’ll explore the top social media channels and best practices to integrate into daily business activities.

How important is it for a business to form a social media strategy before creating accounts?
You cannot create meaningful or effective content without a strategy. First, you have to know your audience to identify appropriate social media channels. Then, you’ll want to select the ones where you’re most likely to encounter your target audience. You also need to set goals when developing your strategy. What do you want to accomplish on social media – raise awareness, address customer service issues, promote thought leadership? Only then can you begin to develop relevant content and think about other aspects of social media – such as promotion, metrics and reporting.

What are some common mistakes that you see businesses making when it comes to social media?
The most common mistake I see is the “copy and paste” strategy — adopting the exact same tone and voice for each channel. Every social media channel has its own style. For effective communication, businesses need to invest time studying each channel, and learn how to best communicate on them. Then set the firm’s tone and voice for communicating on these channels, keeping the audience in mind.

Can you give some examples of companies that you think do social media really well?
Oreo-Dunk-in-the-DarkThere are a number of consumer brands that do a great job with social media. Oreo would be one of them because of how they encouraged fan engagement during their 100-year anniversary campaign in 2012, as well as how they capitalized on real-time marketing opportunities. A prime example of this was their social media response to the blackout during Super Bowl XLVII. With their brand team and agency personnel gathered for the event, they moved quickly to push out the image, “You can still dunk in the dark” on social media channels.

What do you see as the benefits for getting a Rice University Social Media Marketing Certificate of Achievement?

Attaining this certificate demonstrates your understanding on how to develop a social media marketing strategy and apply appropriate social media tactics in a business environment. Social media is growing at a phenomenal rate; for someone seeking a career in marketing or looking to further their skills and gain a competitive edge, this certificate shows they’ve learned the concepts for successful social media implementation.

Our “Social Media Marketing” course starts February 26, 2013.

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