Born to Blog author talks social media challenges, opportunities, and more!

I always learn so much from our guest speakers! This week we were very fortunate to have the author of our class text, Born to Blog, Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) Skype with our class.


If you aren’t familiar with Mark, he is a very well-known name in the social media field, author of the popular Grow blog, a sought after consultant, and the author of Born to Blog (a book I’ve reviewed on this site and which inspired me to start this blog), and another great book I’ve read Tao of Twitter. I haven’t read his 2nd book, Return on Influence, but I hope to soon.

Here are some highlights from his presentation to this semester’s Comm 322 Social Media class.

Challenges and Opportunities in Social Media – Mark said that a major challenge today is information density. Today, we have so much information that people are reaching information paralysis. How do companies adapt and thrive in this space, with so much competing for our attention? Though not specifically about information density, the article “How the physics of social media could kill your marketing strategy” offers what I believe is a good look at the general issue.

Why do some businesses succeed on social media and others fail? Mark said it really boils down to corporate culture. Questions that come to mind after hearing Mark discuss this topic are: Does the company understand and embrace the social space? Are they agile and responsive? Do they want to adapt?

What Metrics Matter?: Since I’ve been seeking to teach my students basics of Google Analytics, the importance of, and how to track metrics, I ask guest bloggers what metrics matter to them. When asked what the key metrics he tracks are, Mark said there was one that matters: returning visitors. Are they coming back? If people come back, eventually they’ll bring their friends. Traffic doesn’t create business benefits. Returning visitors do.

We’re All Students – the media landscape shifts so rapidly, it is difficult to be an expert. We all are students. And we should strive to keep learning and adapting. As a professor, I loved hearing this reminder. I am always looking to learn, change, grow, and adapt and it is great to hear someone with as much experience as Mark talking about the importance of being a lifelong learner!

Tips and Advice for Students

The Power of Blogging for Students – Mark echoed another class guest, Nate Bagley, when he encouraged students to blog, build an audience, and create meaningful content. He said that it was a valuable tool to show potential employers that you can build and sustain an audience. He said that often times he finds students or grad students are not blogging, and was glad to see students in our class were blogging as a semester long project. I was, of course, very happy to hear this. :) So students, if you’re reading this, keep blogging!

Know Stats - Mark said education in stats is important. Increasingly, data and numbers are driving online business. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to be able to ask questions and the ability to think critically, and choose the statistical analysis needed to answer those questions. While many students were probably grumpy to hear this, I agree completely. Stats and research methods are more important than ever.

It is not often that students get to speak directly with the author of a class text, and it meant a lot to me for students to get this wonderful opportunity. So thank you so much to Mark for being so generous with his time and knowledge!

-Cheers!

Matt

Social Media Measurement Google Plus Hangout with Social Media Professors

G+ Hangout

Screengrab of our Google Plus Social Media Professor Hangout

Last night I had lots of fun hanging out on Google+ with some very talented social media professors. Gary Schirr, Nancy Ricmond, and Jeremy Floyd, and I discussed social media analytics.

This was the first public G+ Hangout broadcast from the Social Media & Marketing LinkedIn Group. We are planning to do hold one about every month.

Jeremy Floyd (@jfloyd), who hosted the G+ Hangout, put together a great list of resources from the discussion including links to texts and analytics tools.

Not loading? Watch the video on YouTube.

Among the many new tools I learned about last night, I am thrilled that Jeremy shared with us the spreadsheet he created for his students to use to monitor their social media. One thing that struck out to me was the ability to track metrics against individual posts per their day and time to help in post scheduling optimization. This is a tool I am looking forward to getting my hands on and adopting for my own classes next semester.

If you’re a social media educator, I strongly encourage you to check out the Social Media & Marketing LinkedIn Group, which I wrote about in a previous post on how to find social media professors.

It is a great space to discuss issues and strategies in social media education and has been a valuable resource and sounding board for me as I build out the Strategic Comm concentration here at Shepherd University. I believe I’m the only faculty member coming from Communication in the group – but, as you know, the lines have blurred with social media. I really feel that cross-pollination is the way to go and encourage both marketing and strategic comm folks to join.

Come join and be part of the discussion and next month’s G+ Hangout. I will be moderating next month’s topic which will be on what key knowledge and skills we need to teach students to thrive in a social media economy.

Cheers!

- Matt

How to Connect with Social Media Educators on Social Media

There are many passionate and talented professors across the world pioneering social media education.

With social media education being a new and emerging field, it is vitally important that those of us teaching social media connect to discuss best practices, experiences, tips, and talk content and curriculum. Here are a few quick ways to join the conversation:

 

Socialmediaprofs-cc

The Web-Savvy Professors List


It may be the definitive guide to social media educators. The The Top 100 Web-Savvy Professors of 2012, put together by BestOnlineUniversities.com, profiles – well, you guessed it: web-savvy professors.  Many of these are champions of social media – whether teaching social media, using it to teach, or both.

 

Social Media Professors on Twitter
There are many social media educators on Twitter. You’ll find many of them on the Best Web-Savvy Professors list mentioned above. A few other ways you can find them are:
Twitter lists
Education By Kerry O’Shea Gorgone (@kerrygorgone) – A list of higher ed folks, some of whom are active members of the Teaching Social Media Marketing & Management LinkedIn group discussed below.

 

Edu by Modern Journalist (@ModernJourno) – List of 196 educators and trainers on social media.

 

Academia by Ph.D. student at UT Austin Curt Yowell (@curtyowell) – 419 academics listed!

 

WVU professor John Jones’s List (@johnmjones) – One of the most comprehensive list of academics I’ve seen with 500 folks (Maybe that’s why it has 37 subscribers!).

 

Academia: Academics that Rock – My own personal list (@mjkushin) of  social media professors and related Tweeters.

 

Hashtags? Here’s 1 to get you started: #teachSMM for teaching social media marketing.

Join a LinkedIn Group
There are a few great LinkedIn social media educator groups I recommend:

 

Teaching Social Media Marketing & Management group – Great group that has just started a monthly Google+ Hangout to discuss social media in the classroom.

 

Higher Ed – this group that is not for educators, per se. It is aimed at connecting “professionals employed by a higher education institution who are actively engaged in social media planning, strategy and execution for a college, university, technical college, community college or college system.” But an interesting group and one I enjoy staying up to date on to get a sense on how universities are using social media in their marketing.

 

Teaching Public Relations – This group is aimed at public relations professional. Given the increasingly vital role of social media in PR, discussion of social media is common. However, there are many other subjects discussed here and social media is not the main topic. May not be of interest to some.

You’ll be surprised to find just how many educators are on social media. And while universities may be failing on the whole to teach social media, there are plenty of people who are changing that.

 

How have you connected with other social media educators?  Have other tips and resources? Please share in the comments section below. Thanks in advance! ☺

photo creative commons by Fora de Eixo