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Social Media Education, How?


It's great that social media education has been a topic frequently discussed on the web. It seems like there is general agreement among social media users/evangelists/consultants that education is crucial. However social media education can be quite vast and can pretty much mean anything. It's like trying to teach someone to be a mechanic in a few days or even a few hours, there's a lot to learn. The challenge is keeping the trainees up to date on that latest tools/tactics/strategies.

As you know social media is a very dynamic field and what you learn today might change tomorrow. So if we keep seeing new tools/techniques/strategies emerging almost daily, how to we create and administer social media training programs? My answer, focus on the core of social media principles. Here are the main topics I would consider (I'm going to leave a few out because I'm more interested in what you have to say):

  • how to identify existing social media communities/create new ones
  • understanding how to monitor social media and respond to positive/negative feedback
  • identification of relevant social media tools/platforms
  • high level social media strategy (steps to get started)
  • benefits/value of social media and risks of social media
  • resources needed to succeed in social media
  • case studies/examples/results of social media campaigns
  • social media measurement

So here I have listed 8 high level topics that make up a part of what I consider the social media core. Instead of focusing social media education efforts on details (that will change quickly) I think it would be much more valuable to focus on applications that are relatively constant. The details can be left to the people implementing the actual strategy or to the consultants that are advising the company.

Do you agree with me? What other topics would you add to the social media core?

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  • Oct 5 Posted 5 years ago Jill Lewis (not verified)

    I decided to get my <a href="">Masters in Curriculum and Instruction</a> though the University of Scranton online. I have been a teacher for many years and wanted to expand my teaching knowledge. The course taught me many things but perhaps my favorite was was how to intergrate media and social media into the classroom. I now use twitter in the classroom to receive feedback and have in depth discussions. Social media is cool because it is always changing and it can be grouped together with so many different outlets (businesses, schools, individuals, etc).

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  • Jul 5 Posted 5 years ago dalle (not verified)

    As far as I am concerned the best social media education is the online education, I couldn't picture it otherwise. That's why I decided to have a rn to bsn online, I get to grow my online business and get the degree I need all in the same time and yes, I intend to stay on the social media shock wave.

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    Feb 23 Posted 8 years ago nancychou


    Great post.  You cited the reasons why I'm enrolled in Xeequa's Social Media Academy.

    Cheers - Nancy

  • Feb 16 Posted 8 years ago TimMoore Nice post Jacob.

    Beyond the acknowledgment of the evolution of social influence in the buying process and the need to utilize this new energy from the people up, the whole process of proper analysis (not SEO), but social sentiment research and application of what is learned is really the nuts and bolts of not simply education, but implementation.  

    This is what we have been discussing this semester in Social Media Academy Leadership Class. Some additional highlights on these subjects are on our Facebook group:  Video's highlighting some our our recent classes may also be helpful in compiling a more detailed list of additional "How to" points in additon to the feedback Axel and SOMA Office are already receiving via Twitter.

    Great job Jacob!  I'm going to keep an eye on this thread.

    Tim Moore
    Social Media Consultant
    Business Community Strategist


  • Feb 15 Posted 8 years ago TomSwift I like this conversation. I’m also a student at the Social Media Academy Leadership Class. After attending just a few class sessions, I realized more than any other time in my career that what’s important is to communicate all of the benefits and opportunities in a way business owners can use and apply to their business. It’s about thinking business [in such a great way] more than ever.
  • Feb 15 Posted 8 years ago KevinMannion

    Good core subjects, Jason.  I'd like to add one to the list:

    The benefits of a social media strategy to the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of business.

    So much of what we hear about social media is esoteric and pretty much a closed world to the average business man or woman (especially those not in a high-tech business).  If we don't 'translate' the language and results into that of everyday business we risk alienating the majority audience and holding back the adoption of social media techniques and tools for the average organisation.


    Web 1.0 was easy for businesses to understand; at the very least they knew they needed an online brochure or showroom.  SEO was easy to understand; get more people to visit your website.  But, the next stage, the social media stage, will take more convincing.


    So, any business teaching on social media must talk about profitability, reduced cost of sales, lower development and support costs, increased customer adoption, easier and cheaper recruitment, and many more of the mundane subjects that concern most organisations.


    This was the very reason I signed up to training with the SocialMediaAcademy.  Having spent over 20 years in business, I wanted a structured method and understanding of social media as it applies to the average business.  Surely it’s only a matter of time before we see the same being offered by the major business schools?  I hope so.

  • JacobMorgan's picture
    Feb 15 Posted 8 years ago JacobMorgan thanks everyone for all of the comments and great discussion on this topic.  social media education is and will continue to be a huge topic for discussion.  im curious to see where we will be in a year with the education process.

    thanks for all of your comments!



  • Feb 15 Posted 8 years ago AxelSchultze (not verified) Good question Jacob. We asked a similar question when we started the Social Media Academy in January and the education program is pretty much what you outlined - as you know. If you follow @SoMediaAcademy on Twitter - we received a whole series of additional inputs:
    - A special class for real estate agents
    - A class for the major tools i.e. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook...
    - A dedicated class for sales people.
    So here is what we will announce next week:
    We split the education into three groups:
    1) The leadership class (as is all including a full semester)

    2) Functional classes

    3) Industry specific classes

    But we also discussed a few topics I`d like to hear feedback about:
    Social Media Academy is very expensive. Is that OK given the value or is just too much?
    People say: why need an education at all it is so simple. If companies don`t get it forget it.


    Look forward to see additional comments



  • Feb 14 Posted 8 years ago christianbriggs1 Great question!  I am glad someone is finally bringing this up!  I think a much-overlooked part of practical business education is the power of theory - or in other words the things that will teach the learner not just a method, but how to come up with their own methods - as well as how to critically evaluate existing methods.  In my opinion, the more complex and fast-moving the field, the the more we need to move a little bit away from teaching people rote methods that may change tomorrow and instead move a little more toward teaching them theories that will help them to think for themselves over the long haul. 

     So as a simple example, instead of just teaching people about the 5 steps to get an organization using social media (though i think simple "steps-based" education is very useful!), we ought to also be including, in easily-digestible ways, more theoretical concepts behind those 5 steps like how media changes organizations (Marshall McLuhan's media theories on "electric speed"), how organizational leadership can best lead the charge (Albert Bandura's Social Learning Theory), how social media might improve collective organizational awareness (Weick's Sensemaking).   

    This way, when, as you point out, the tools/techniques/strategies emerge, change or go away, practitioners will still be left with skills that will allow them to understand, evaluate, and even produce their own new ones.

  • Feb 14 Posted 8 years ago DebMal I definitely agree that the core principles need to be learned.  Knowing these helps us to adapt in an ever-changing environment.  One thing I would add to your list is the general philosophy of social media - that it's about relationships, building credibility and trust, adding value, etc.

    I am in the middle of taking a Social Media Marketing course at VAClassroom that is teaching us best practices and using a variety of current social media platforms and tools for examples.  I agree that it will take ongoing committment on their part to keep updating these courses with the latest and greatest.  But having these examples and demos is helping me to learn better than if it were mostly theoretical.  So I'm wondering if it's possible to teach an ever-changing topic without an ever-changing course.  Unless maybe you were to split out the detailed bits (examples/demos/etc) into a separate module.  Then there would just be that module that might need a lot of updating and the rest could remain relatively stable.

    In regards to keeping up, VAClassroom has also set up their own social network and forum where we can continue to connect and learn about new developments after the course is over.  Another good option for keeping up with the details.
  • Feb 13 Posted 8 years ago craigmurray I just came across this article spotlighting what seems to be an awesome class for students at Parsons around this subject:
  • Feb 13 Posted 8 years ago LoriFazio There is a big training gap that needs to be filled. And traditional training providers struggle to hook up and get on the same page with gen-xers and millenials who will be driving social media and conversational marketing soon. The University of Phoenix model, the ITT training, the DeVrys. How do you put a framework around an area that is intuitive and so hands on? And the notion that companies "retrain" kids to unlearn the habits they learn in school doesn't work with social media because most companies are late adopters and cautious. 

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