Are you wondering how social media education is handled in today’s MBA social media marketing courses?
For many professors teaching social media, we have witnessed the evolution of social media education from one of teaching tactics and technology to applying more strategic frameworks centered around the 10 E’s of inbound marketing.
Strategic Approach to MBA Social Media Marketing Courses
Using relationship marketing as an academic foundation for justifying MBA social media marketing courses, a typical social media curriculum lays out the strategic guidelines to follow when going mainstream with inbound marketing.
That means sequencing the topics in social media courses in line with the steps involved in launching social media marketing initiatives and social business infrastructures. One way to manage the progression of these planning steps in social media marketing education is to follow the ten topics outlined below.
Educating Targets with T-R-U-S-T-E-D Content
The start of any social media marketing planning has to include a roadmap to educating target audiences. As any potential consumer or buyer will gladly let us know, no one wants to be sold. If prospects are conducting their own research online rather than contacting sales personnel, the job of marketers is to educate them in the hopes of moving them further down the sales funnel and getting credit for problem solving in the process. The better the education, the greater the opportunities to showcase expertise. The goal here is to gain credibility as a subject matter expert by offering T-R-U-S-T-E-D (timely, relevant, useful, situational, transparent, engaging, and deliverable) content.
Emotionalize Content with Entertainment, Inspiration and Visuals
Once the content is crafted along the pain points felt by targeted personas, its mark of distinction and usefulness has to be amplified over the ever growing noise from content info-besity. This means S-H-I-P-P-I-N-G (through surprise, humanizing, inspiration, playfulness, passion, imagery, narratives and generosity) your content with an emotional twist. Emotional connections not only create more engagement and sharing, they are critical to capturing attention. The goal here is to inspire or entertain audiences through humor, acts of kindness, heartfelt stories and a personality behind the brand.
Expose Content to Blaze a Trail of Trustworthiness
Now that our content is aimed at educating audiences around their pain points while making an emotional connection for a more trustworthy relationship, we are ready to expose it. Think of this next stage as having to R-U-N-L-A-P-S (RSS & other syndication, Unified keyword strategy, Native advertising, Link-building, Atomizing & repurposing, Pinning & posting, Social sharing) with your inflamed content in hand. A powerful storyline, comic surprise or passionate plea may make the content stand out. But unless it’s widely circulated, any intended emotional connection will be lost.
Key to this exposure is the suitability of the content for SEO, syndicating, social sharing, posting, social media promotion and link building. To be searchable, the content has to incorporate a unified keyword strategy that merits exposure on the search engine results page (SERP). But for maximum traction, the content should exploit every avenue for syndication much like that employed in news casting.
This means the content often has to be rescaled and repurposed to suit the requirements of its destination platforms. Native advertising in particular has shown great promise in promoting content. Especially when hyper-targeted or formatted as native advertising, today’s audiences often appreciate its contextual relevance. The goal here is to blaze a trail of trustworthy content at the top-of-the-funnel while earning new followers in the process.
Escort Prospects for Frame-of-Mind Connections
Once the content is jump started through search engines and social networks, you should be ready to E-S-C-O-R-T (establish trust, segment & sort, collect information, observe behaviors, respond personally and track & tweak) your prospects. This requires the repurposing and sequencing of content into middle-of-the-funnel pieces depending on our audience’s preferences for listening, reading and viewing.
And by creating the right eBooks, webinars, podcasts, videos or case studies, we can begin a frame-of-mind connection with our prospects. The goal here is to leverage social CRM, email 2.0 and effective lead nurturing strategies to ensure our prospects are greeted with the right content at the right time. But paramount to success are permission-based marketing practices backed by a provider that audiences know, like and trust.
Enlist Subscribers to Build Proprietary Audiences
A looming concern of brands and other firms is their vulnerability to social media platforms that continually change their rules. No longer can firms count on organically reaching their audience news feeds. Platforms like FaceBook have forced a “pay to play” avenue for fan exposure. This is pressuring firms to develop proprietary audiences that wean them off social networks. So while social media continues to be a primary source of fan and follower growth, firms are migrating these folks to their subscribed emails and blogs. The key to owning this audience is to get them to R-A-I-S-E (reach, advocate, influence, subscribe and engage) your content.
Engage Communities for Social Network Growth
An experienced social media marketer knows that fans and followers disappear without your relentless engagement. That is why many of them sponsor contest, events and games to keep their crowds involved. And this goes beyond customer acquisition. Customers need to be turned to fans who in turn drive even more customers. The key to developing the right venue and behavior to engage communities is to understand where they hang out and what they expect on their platform of choice. This means having an in-depth view of when, why and how you should embrace FaceBook, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.
Encourage Influencers to Expand Reach and Credibility
Audience growth at any stage of social media development requires the help of key influencers who benefit from big audiences and credibility. Your job is to romance and engage them by identifying the key players from a field of subject matter experts, broadcasters, networking groups and the press. Many tools can help you discover those influencers that are relevant to your target audience and have the clout and reach to impact their social circles. But not unlike fans, influencers only stick around for as long as you provide value to them. A key influencer strategy is to co-create and promote content that helps them with their audiences.
Empower Advocates to Spread a Consistent Story
And much like influencers, successful social media marketers understand the power of brand evangelists and employee advocates. Empowering your biggest fans can trigger engagement with your target audiences while helping spread a consistent story. And by adopting a passionate culture within a well-coordinated social business, your employees can become your greatest advocates.
Enable Real-Time Experiences for Context Marketing
No doubt the exponential shift from desktop to mobile devices has empowered all of us to demand information on our smartphones, tablets and even wearable technology. And as big data predictive analytics and geo-located technologies continue to mature, audiences are expecting content to arrive in real-time and in the right SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) context. This means capitalizing on the mobile C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R experience gap using real-time marketing apps and behavioral data for mobile shopping and context marketing.
Examine Results for Continuous Improvement
Finally, as firms struggle to determine if their social media and content marketing efforts are worth the investment, tools are surfacing to help determine if social engagement really leads to bottom line results. From the latest in big data collection strategies and social CRM practices, we are discovering some meaningful ways to measure return on influence, return on relationship, return on involvement, return on content and social media ROI.
So what other approaches to or aspects of social content marketing do you feel should be covered in an MBA social media marketing courses or social media education in general?