Social Media Education – A Must Read Guide

Google it and see how many credible looking pages you find. How many actual schools have a program listed? How many universities even have a single class offered on social media? A seminar even?

It’s over? Did I miss something? Oh right, modern skills that I’ll need at the job I don’t have…

If your search was anything like mine, it was filled with junk. Links and ads that make hard to tell which programs are legitimate and which are just the next guy calling himself a ‘social media expert’. Who knows what you’re going to get with some of these programs!

What is even more sad to me is that I went through an entire 4 years of college to get a degree in business, marketing and entrepreneurship specifically, and there was a not a single class that spent any time on social media. Why is that so terrible? Two reasons:

Students need jobs:

Gen Y is horribly unemployed and social media is something we’ve been doing all our lives. We have a natural affinity for social networking and social media, but don’t be fooled, it needs to be molded into something useful to a company. It’s a not a leap either, with a concise and tailored approach, (heck, even just a basic course!) you can have students that use largely free tools to find new ideas, conduct market studies, identify trends and sources, connect with potential customers, bring traffic to a website, and even offer a new level of customer service, a clever student build a network where people from Brazil can gain real followers on Instagram. Suddenly, you’re not just hiring a another cookie cutter student, you’re hiring a social media strategy. Students with real-world skills get jobs and companies benefit because students bring a modern skill set to an organization that is probably already heading toward a social strategy, but may lack the background to do it effectively. Win, win.

86% of U.S. companies use at least one social media platform.

Does anyone else think this is something we should all be learning about before graduation? Do we not go to school to learn the skills we will one day need at our jobs? It’s not just Facebook and Twitter; the technical side, the best practices, and the strategy is what needs to be taught in schools. Students in this day and age should be social media and SEO experts by the time they graduate, we live in a world where it’s just too important to gloss over. There isn’t a University out there that would imagine sending students off with a degree in any particular field without knowledge of computers and/or industry standard software. So, why is it OK to send us off without knowing anything about the maybe the biggest shift in marketing, customer service, and communication ever?

Don’t let us play around on Facebook during class, use class to teach us how Facebook is a viable means for engaging our customers and growing businesses. Show us about dynamic SEO and how content builds traffic. Teach me to use Twitter for more than just updates about a party.

It’s time for our textbooks last chapter to be on “Crafting A Social Media And SEO Strategy” instead of “The Internet: A New Frontier”. More and more, employees are being asked to be a part of their company’s social media strategy, and more and more those programs fall flat because either the skill set wasn’t there or the strategy sucked. Either way, better education is the answer.