By Todd Bacile | August 1, 2012
Recently I was invited to participate in Florida State University’s College of Communication & Information’s Q&A session called “The 10 in 10 Series”. This brief question-and-answer session is designed to invite knowledgeable professionals into the classroom and answer 10 questions in about 10 minutes regarding newer emerging media used for business application. This is a great concept that benefits students by exposing them to unique perspectives from industry experts and professionals.
I wanted to share the content of my Q&A session due to the interesting array of questions posed by the students. The full length video from my 10 in 10 session with the students is available below (or you can click this link if the YouTube video does not load in your browser). Alternatively, on this page for the sake of brevity I have edited the transcript from this session to provide a succinct recap of my answers. I hope you find this information helpful.
Question 1: What was the first site you ever joined on social media?
Answer: Facebook. Four years ago I returned to school full-time to complete an MBA after working 10 years in the business world. I quickly realized that my fellow students were not communicating much through email. Facebook was the popular communication medium of choice for students. If I wanted to communicate with my fellow students, joining Facebook was a necessity.
Question 2: Do you use any planning or organization management tools to help you get through your day?
Answer: Yes, Hootsuite. It is an easy to use platform that enables a person to schedule content postings, update content in real-time, and monitor Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn activity. Hootsuite also lets a user run reports and analytics regarding when people interact with your created content. From a marketing perspective this is valuable information that identifies optimal times to engage with your audience.
Question 3: What is your favorite social media platform and why?
Answer: It’s a tie: Facebook for interacting with friends and family; and Twitter to stay up to date with news and maintain connections with other professionals.
Question 4: What are your top 5 social media platforms that everyone should know about and join?
Answer: LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and a Blog such as WordPress or Blogger. These sites offer a nice mix of personal vs. professional contacts and more versus less rich content.
Question 5: What is the next big thing in social media?
Answer: Social influence metrics such as Klout or PeerIndex. These metrics quantify a person’s capacity to influence within social media channels. This potentially will change how marketers identify influential consumers and interact with them. Klout and other services are still in their infancy and still working out some of their bugs, but the future for these services is bright.
Question 6: What are business students being taught regarding social media?
Answer: Surprisingly, not a lot at some universities. Some schools still do not offer an Internet Marketing or Electronic Marketing course. Here at Florida State University I believe my e-Marketing class is one of the more advanced digital marketing undergraduate classes from an accredited AACSB school. My class covers social media, mobile media, and emerging technology topics. I do not limit my course to only include a review of what various social sites and technology tools do. In contrast, I show students how a business can use these tools for marketing application and strategy; and discuss how a business needs to tie-in business objectives and strategies with these tools.
Question 7: How do you measure return on investment (ROI) for social media campaigns?
Answer: There is a big debate about that right now, because nobody has “the” correct, proven answer. Different research and statistics claim different dollar amounts for a Facebook follower or a Twitter follower, but these values vary widely because it depends on what is being measured. One thing business people must keep in mind when assessing the return on social campaigns: do not throw out your “business brain”. By this I mean business people must develop measurable goals and objectives before a campaign, then assess if these were met upon completion of a campaign. This sounds simple, but most firms have a social media presence without a well-developed social media strategy. If a company develops measurable goals as part of its social media strategy, then it is easier to assess the return on a campaign.
Question 8: What do you recognize as a key difference between social media and traditional media from a marketing perspective?
Answer: Traditional media, such as TV, radio, and other mass media, enables marketers to talk “to” consumers. Social media enables marketers to talk “with” consumers. Social opens up two-way communication. However, many marketers (including my example in the video) are screwing this up by extinguishing two-way communication when a brand loses control or does not attain a desired outcome.
Question 9: What is Klout and why do you recommend students use it?
Answer: Klout and similar companies attempt to measure each person’s capacity to influence others within social media. It sends a quantifiable signal that a person is (or is not) active and potentially influential within social channels. A high Klout score sends a signal to hiring firms that a person not only has active social media user accounts, but also knows how to engage and communicate with others via social networks. Some hiring firms are using a Klout score to screen job applicants. For example, one hiring manager I know will toss out any applicant’s resume if the applicant has a Klout score under 35.
Question 10: What is your advice for someone seeking a career in social media?
Answer: Blogs! Blogs are older than many popular social networks, yet blogs can be useful for students to illustrate their content creation skills. Many entry-level social media jobs are in the area of content creation for brands. Blogs can show that a person knows how to communicate, knows how to write well, and is able to create content for the purpose of dissemination to the masses. One knock on business students across the U.S. is that they are poor communicators and have poor writing skills. Blogs help to overcome these perceptions (assuming you write well!) and can act as a portfolio to show a potential employer. Such a portfolio can enable a student to get their foot in the door for that first social media marketing job.
Todd Bacile is a marketing doctoral candidate and instructor for Electronic Marketing and Services Marketing in the College of Business at Florida State University. Social Media Marketing Magazine recently ranked him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Todd’s research on mobile and social media marketing topics has been presented and at numerous national marketing conferences and published in the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing. Please visit his website for more information regarding his research. You can contact him on Twitter @toddbacile