by Susan Young, President, Get in Front Communications
Many colleges and trade schools in South Texas are offering students comprehensive social media courses that directly connect with real-world business strategies. However, others are only offering classes that emphasize confident handshakes and email etiquette. Certainly, these are necessary as students seek quality employment in a lagging economy and competitive job market.
But why is there such a disparity in course innovation?
A Trajectory for Student Success
Each of knows that change is often difficult to accept. Leaders understand the importance of building consensus when introducing new concepts. As social media converges with sales and business, it’s clear that the schools that have yet to fully endorse social media as a business tool must play catch-up.
What skills do today’s grads believe they are lacking? A recent poll on LinkedIn surveyed 300 people, who were asked: If you could go back to school, which class would help you most in your job today? 32 percent said advanced social media skills.
Five reasons digital can no longer be ignored:
- Blogging – Business professionals and educators complain that millennials are weak in writing and communication. Management consultant and author Tom Peters, said: “No single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging. It’s changed my life perspective, it’s changed my intellect, my outlook, my emotional outlook and it’s the best damn marketing tool by order of magnitude that I’ve ever had. And it’s free.”
- Relationship-based selling on the Web – In sales, connecting with prospects and nurturing relationships help determine success. Trainers and educators with hands-on sales and social media experience must be better utilized to teach online networking and the value of digital communities. Students must be taught about e-mail marketing, list-building, and affiliate programs.
- Accessibility to decision makers- Social channels have given us access to CEOs, decision makers, thought leaders, and prospects that we have never experienced before. The days of trying to score an appointment with a decision maker, only to be turned away by the snarky “rejectionist” a.k.a. receptionist, are waning. In business, our point of entry now is social media.
- Branding and reputation management- Online conversations about consumer experiences run rampant, whether a business is present for damage control or not. Students must know how to mitigate these situations.
- Leadership- As students and new graduates become immersed in the business of social channels, they will learn from top thought leaders around the world. Whether it’s a Twitter chat, a LinkedIn group, or a YouTube video, experiential learning will prove priceless. A new generation of creative and bold talent will emerge.
Susan Young is an award-winning news, social media, communications, and PR professional with 26 years of experience. She works with businesses and college students who want to improve their social media and business skills in communication, sales, and leadership. Susan is President of Get in Front Communications in San Antonio, TX. Her recent accomplishment: Being named one of the ’75 Badass Women on Twitter – @sueyoungmedia.
Susan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org