Why Should a Social Media MBA Exist and Why the Corporate World Needs to Take Notice

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As social networks and their potential value to business are becoming apparent, marketing professionals should have a solid knowledge of social media and more importantly social media marketing. Simply having a grasp on how to post on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or another platform is not sufficient. Marketing professionals need to understand how to integrate social into marketing strategies.

The term “Social Media” should not be confused with “Social Media Marketing”, there is a distinction to be made between the two. Social media is an evolving and changing assortment of platforms and tools that enable businesses and consumers to share dialogue, information, and interact on a one-to-one basis or on a one-to-many basis. Understanding how to combine the traditional principles of marketing with the use of a “tool” (such as Twitter, Google+, or a company blog) to meet an organizations objectives and goals is social media marketing.

It is unfortunate that many business schools are not recognizing the potential of new technology by offering courses in social marketing. Addressing it as a whole in one week of a semester is not sufficient. Briefly covering the leading sites, how many users sign on daily, how they are used by the typical user, and when each site was created does little to educate students on the significant part social media plays in business. While these facts are interesting and some of the numbers downright staggering, they do not benefit the student long term. Meaning, the brief overview of social does little to encourage the use of social media for more than keeping in touch with friends.

Offerings should include entire courses designed to not simply teach students to use social media, but to create it. Students should learn to use social marketing techniques to conduct market research and create more effective campaigns, improve products, and generate leads. Students must be able to understand people’s behavior in social media to better target audiences as well as know how social media relates to inbound marketing. Not to mention the benefits of blogging and of course the importance of SEO (search engine optimization). University students should at the very least have the opportunity to develop a tailored social media marketing strategy for their own personal brand to further enhance their attractiveness to future employers. Those universities not offering such courses are doing a disservice to both their students and the students’ future employers.

Alas, not all is lost! Do not fret, there are a few universities who have taken the initiative to offer social media programs! For example, Southern New Hampshire University offers graduate students the option of an MBA in Social Media Marketing or a Masters in Marketing with a certificate in Social Media Marketing. I have asked my students in my Social Media Marketing class and Social Media Marketing Strategies class at SNHU what made them choose to study Social Media Marketing. The responses did not surprise me in the least as I see the value in studying social media marketing. However, their responses below go to show there are and will be quite a few marketing professionals out there eager to use social media in marketing campaigns, and I would hate to be up against them without any knowledge about social media marketing strategies. These folks are your NEW competition.

Reasons my students are pursuing a Social Media MBA:

• “Social media is not going away. Businesses and brands use social media to market themselves in a completely different way than before. I do not want my company to be left behind”.

• “The social media movement is rapidly growing, but lacks people who are actively studying the field of social media marketing and all of its various sub categories to produce experts on the many different facets of the topic. Without producing experts is to never fully harness the full potential of social media as a marketing tool”.

• “ A competitor has taken over 50% of my business with the use of social media marketing techniques. I want to possess the tools to wipe them off the map”.

• “With my thirty years in sales and marketing, and a strong computer background, I am hoping I can bridge the gap between my generation and the new with the combination of traditional tactics and social media marketing”.

• “ Social media will be a major influence on business, I want to be part of that change”.

• “I want to make myself the most ‘marketable’ I can in an over saturated market. There are many in the marketing field being asked to develop and provide social media platforms without the professional knowledge to do it correctly. I want to be able to receive a full understanding of how to create a campaign through social media marketing that will engage, educate, and entice customers, clients and the like”.

Businesses should take note of the importance of an education covering social media marketing. As most marketing professionals know, word of mouth is unparalleled by any other tool in the marketing field. Social media is the online version of “spreading the word”, and has actually been around for almost a decade. For those in higher education and the corporate world to ignore it seems a bit absurd.

If this article has sparked some interest, this is only the beginning! Be on the look out for monthly articles on the Social MBA, I will be covering topics I cover in my classes such as:

• Innovators and Enablers
• Marketing Strategy and Theory for Managing Social Media
• Tools and Trends
• Risks and Future Implications

The views expressed are those of the author, and do not represent those of Texas A&M University-Commerce or Southern New Hampshire University unless stated explicitly.

Jessica Rogers
This monthly Social Media MBA column is contributed by Jessica Rogers. Jessica is a Dallas based Adjunct Marketing Instructor at Texas A&M University- Commerce and Full time Faculty at Southern New Hampshire University. She is currently working on her PhD in Business with an emphasis on Marketing; her dissertation research is focused on Social Media. Jessica teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses in Marketing, including Social Media, and has 16 years of field experience in business and marketing before starting her teaching career in 2009. Jessica holds a BS in Business Administration and an MS in Marketing. +Jessica Rogers
Jessica Rogers

@DrJRogers

Social Media Marketing Professor @SNHU COCE; Adjunct @tamuc -Wife/mommy/PhD'16. #68/Top 100 Mktg Profs on #Twitter. Lover of #smm & hot wings; fluent in sarcasm
15 Step Guideline To Create Your 2015 #Digital #Marketing Strategy http://t.co/QIxvHvlx2q via @jeffbullas - 22 hours ago
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Comments

  1. says

    Totally agree more B-schools should be offering an immersion experience in social media for business. At the University of Nevada, I teach an undergraduate management course entitled Social Business and at the MBA level a course called Personal Branding. All students in both courses create a Google + profile, LinkedIn page, Twitter account, professionally personal Facebook page, and blog. A month from now, all 70 will be blogging regularly and tweeting almost daily. Creating social objects and sharing them in social media is an entirely different experience than just reading about it. Our hashtag on twitter is #unrbrand. Thanks!

  2. says

    Totally agree! As a person with degrees who knows the value of education, I have to admit that it is frustrating not to be able to add a credential related to the type of work I do for my clients (social media marketing). Also, whenever I want to add another qualified individual to my team, I am horrified that business and marketing students have very little to NO understanding of SMM and I don’t have the time to train them. Your message is one that needs to get out there Jessica. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  3. says

    Jessica, this is the right move for credibility and establishing legitimacy and standards for the social media marketing industry. Glad to see that institutions are offering a relevant curriculum. 

  4. says

    Huh? Reading some of those responses why people sign up for MBA programs is reminiscent what I ask my students who attend day-long workshops. Surely someone is forking over tens of thousands of dollars for more than propelling their own company forward when the landscape changes daily. Where’s the strategic/proactive reasons and not the reactive ones?

    And, in your third paragraph, I believe you meant to write “social media marketing” and not “social marketing,” yes? The two are vastly different.

  5. says

    I completely agree that social media should have a stronger presence in education…but I disagree that it should be MBA focused.  A deeper understanding of social media should be taught and leveraged at much earlier stages of our education system – perhaps as early as high school or college. 

    Part of me wonders if that is part of growing up today – as we learned how to use Microsoft Word + Powerpoint, so too will students learn to leverage social media to their advantage early in life. 

    Although I’m biased as a founder of professional networking service (meeteor.com), I view the power of social media through the lens of the individual. The power of social media goes much farther beyond business – it has important ramifications for the personal brands we build online, and how those brands impact our careers.  91% of employers check Facebook profiles before making a hiring decision! It would behoove our students to learn how to harness that power instead of being caught unprepared! (And perhaps sharing a little too much about we did last Saturday night…)Awesome article!

  6. says

    Great post.  I do agree with Ari Hertzog that more people and companies need to be proactive and not reactive.  SNHU and other business schools have found that there is and will be a need for an educated workforce and many students and companies have found that there is value in a “classroom” and even though navigating through different social media tools can be fairly easy, the strategy and application to business planning may not be.

  7. says

    Phillip- I too agree that SMM should be addressed earlier (in addition to graduate school). I have heard of only a handful of High Schools offering Marketing courses with a little SMM sprinkled in and also a few Under Grad courses with a week or two focus on SMM. This is unacceptable in my opinion, especially for those who will be newbies to the workforce.

  8. Claire says

    Definitely glad to see people are starting to see value in Social Media Marketing MBA courses.  Any other schools besides Southern New Hampshire University that you know are moving in this direction?

  9. says

    I am an avid social media practitioner and evangelist currently helping a very large enterprise develop its strategy. I also have an MBA. 

    While I think that it is important that schools incorporate social media into their curriculum, I don’t think a distinct MBA in social media is warranted. The strategy fundamentals taught as part of most MBA programs are more important than social media. 

    Most failures by organizations with social media are because they ignored strategic fundamentals and expected too much of social media. Had they aligned social media with their corporate strategic objectives and associated success metrics, they would have been better positioned to succeed.

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