By Eric Cox
On Monday, August 26, CCBC began its fall semester. A lot is new every semester but what stands out this year is the Communication & Media Studies Department expanding its curriculum. In order to better adapt to changing business practices, Mass Communication Coordinator and Professor Beth Baunoch is introducing a new class called Digital and Social Media Marketing (MCOM 193).
“This is an excellent course to add to the Communication & Media Studies curriculum. It is a natural fit and definitely a necessity in today's world. Students should all know how to use social media marketing; it will make them more desirable in any job or career they pursue,” said Professor Baunoch when asked her opinion on the addition of the class to the curriculum.
Colleague and fellow member of the Communications Department, Jeremy Caplan, added “This course is an excellent addition to the Mass Communication curriculum because it focuses on the modern media world which is something that our students want and also need to compete in the job market. It is important to keep our courses up to date with current trends while also still teaching the basics. Students still need to learn the foundation of various media practices but Professor Baunoch always finds great ways to modernize the material and bring in the newest media trends.”
According to the class syllabus, the course prepares students to work for a company and build and implement a proper digital and social media marketing strategy. Digital and Social Media Marketing is used by marketers to increase brand awareness, identify key audiences, generate leads and build meaningful relationships with customers.
Although the class is online and Professor Baunoch herself realizes that online learning, “adds an extra challenge to teaching,” she is committed to providing answers at any time to all concerns students may have to the best of her ability.
The materials and books needed for this class, unlike for many others, are actually essential for success in the course. The digital textbook “Essentials of Social Media Marketing” by Michelle Charello is bundled with a social media marketing simulation called Mimic Social. These materials can be found at the CCBC bookstore or by going directly to the website www.stukent.com.
Mimic Social Simulation (MSS) gives students a trial run of what it’s like to run a digital and social media marketing campaign for a business. Throughout, the semester students participate in twelve simulation rounds. In each round, students take command of the marketing strategy for Buhi Supplly Co. an e-commerce and retail bag supplier. Although, this may be a simulation, Buhi Supply is a very real company established in 2009.
Students are given the job title of Social Media Manager and are hired to help Buhi reach their goals of increasing sale and engagement, growing brand awareness, and outperforming their classmates.
According to the assignment overview found in the syllabus, each round students are required to create 7-12 social media posts on each platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin, and Pinterest) per week or 1-2 per day.
Although the simulation is certainly advanced, Professor Baunoch still believes “real world” experience trumps all stating, “…The best way to get real world experience is actually in the 'real world;' however in the online classroom MSS is pretty close! The good thing about MSS is that you can spend a make believe budget (of $5,000), so any mistake you make is just a learning experience. MSS is very close to what it is like to schedule, post, and advertise in 'real world' social media platforms. This way, when students begin working on this either for their own business or for someone else they will feel comfortable.”
The budget can be spent on advertising but is mostly spent on promoting their posts on social media to reach a bigger or targeted market. Furthermore, the simulation gives the students a workable market to target in the form of personas and their demographics to create content catered to potential customers.
After creating their post and running the simulation, students are then given the post analytics. There, students can see which post under which platform were the most successful or under-performed. Based on metrics such as: impressions (how often a post is viewed), clicks (how often your post is clicked), conversions (the number of times someone made a purchase because of your ad), and revenue (the amount of money the company makes because of your ad). Theses metrics give students the feedback needed to get improved results each week of the simulation.
Mimic Social is an indispensable part of the class, worth 300 of the possible 1000 points a student can earn.
Upon completion of the course Professor Baunoch stated, “I hope that students take away, above all, the confidence to begin working in the social media marketing field. I also hope students learn the lingo, the strategies and most current social media trends.”
"I'd like to see more courses like this as well as something more analytical such as media studies that look at the industry more from a critical perspective,” said Professor Caplan when asked what other courses he would like to see added to the department.
This class is just the first of many more to come. As the business world continues to change their practices to match the technological advancements people use to communicate, others like it will continue to arise at CCBC.
For more information on courses in Communication & Media Studies contact the department directly or follow the link below.