Students Help Local Businesses Develop Successful Social Media Strategies

Jul. 6, 2020
An Apple keyboard that has social media icons instead of letters.

As society continues its rapid transition toward a digital world, having knowledge of how social media works is becoming increasingly important. This summer, students have the opportunity to learn more about this very subject through Social Media Marketing, a summer course offered through the Grenon School of Business taught by Professor Zachary Daniels, MBA, visiting instructor of marketing, designed to provide insight on the various social media platforms and how to use such for business purposes. 

“In this course we discuss the variety of social media platforms available, and how each requires a unique strategy that provides content appropriate for that platforms users,” explained Prof. Daniels. “In addition, we will discuss SMART goals—goals that are ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound--to ensure that campaigns have accountability, and clear objectives set forth.” 

The Social Media Marketing course is designed to instruct students on how to integrate social media into marketing and business communication functions. Throughout the course, students will experience what it is like working for a real company and develop an understanding of the different variables that are involved in social media marketing.  

“The course allows students to take a simulation that replicates the algorithm used by social media platforms, that determines who sees what posts,” explained Prof. Daniels. “In addition, students learn about various tactics, and the challenges of marketing for a business to consumers, as opposed to the simplicity of creating engagement when a student posts on their own personal social media page for their friends.” 

Prof. Daniels added that he hopes the course teaches students that social media can be a business tool and that they “develop an appreciation of the challenges of social media marketing from the business perspective, and an understanding of strategy and tactics that can provide results for a business in a relatively short span of time, for minimal financial investment.” 

While the course highlights the ever-changing landscape of social media, Prof. Daniels said the foundation of a successful social media business page is telling a story.  “If a business social media page can tell a ‘story’ through posts, that also provides ‘edutainment,’ and they will thrive in this vertical,” he said.

Prof. Daniels, who manages social media campaigns for a variety of businesses, enjoys the students’ perspective and creative strategies during this course. “The fun thing that I enjoy from this course, is how the students’ perspectives differs mine, business owner versus consumer. I always love the creative strategies that students generate that have a great deal of potential for companies suggested in exercises.”

Since January 2016, the Social Media Marketing course has “evolved to include more collaborations with local companies, so that students can develop digital strategies, and typically implement their ideas, all in one semester/term,” said Prof. Daniels. Assumption students have collaborated with many alumni at their current companies, such as Clarke Living, Coca-Cola, Venerini Academy, UMass Memorial, Houssan & Ojerholm, PC, and Velvet Green Organic Lawn Care. In addition, many non-alumni business owners have reached out to work with courses in the digital marketing concentration that are from Worcester County based locations, in industries such as breweries, restaurants, dealerships, contractors, and bakeries.  Due to the demand of this type of knowledge and the advancement of social media and digital marketing, Assumption introduced a digital marketing concentration, which has been gaining traction since its introduction in fall 2019. This concentration emerges students in topics such as mobile strategies, email marketing, and social media marketing. 

Learn more about the Digital Marketing Concentration.