Social Media Marketing 101 for College Grads

I recently graduated college and I came into my internship with Ignite thinking I would be able to dive into working at a social media marketing company without any worries, but I was wrong. Having been with Ignite for a month now, I realize it would take a yearlong course to even begin to understand everything that happens in a social media marketing agency.  I guess college hardly taught me anything about social media.  So, after a month of diving in head first, here are a few good examples of what I wish I knew before I started working at Ignite.

Social Media ≠ Facebook

First and foremost, social media does not equal posting on Facebook. In college, I helped plan a number of different marketing campaigns where we thought we were “ahead of the game” by incorporating a simple contest on Facebook. Well news flash to everyone out there like me, Facebook is not the only social media site out there and posting questions to a Facebook wall and picking random winners is not necessarily a strategic and innovative marketing initiative (not to mention, it is against Facebook’s official Promotions Guidelines).

Social media marketing campaigns are best when they are strategic, innovative and creative. It also is good practice to incorporate a number of different social sites such as Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and various blogs to support each other. Here are some social media campaigns that opened my eyes to the world beyond Facebook wall posting:

  • The Museum of Me – Intel – This application creates a visual archive of your social life and displays it in a beautiful gallery. This is a strategic and innovative approach to generating universal buzz and interest of a brand that has a specific target audience.
  • Toyota 100 Cars for Good –Toyota—This is a campaign that reaches out to do-good organizations that are in need of a new car. This was a creative yet simple way to host a giveaway while generating positive awareness around your brand.
  • Like It, Reveal It, Win It – Samsung TV – This campaign doubled Samsung TV’s fans in six weeks. It is an innovative way to host a giveaway on a Facebook tab while remaining true to the brand. (Disclosure: Ignite client)

VIAs (Very important Acronyms)

My first two weeks at Ignite, everyone might as well have been speaking in Na’vi. With so many different terms, acronyms and shorthand being thrown around, I didn’t know what meant what. Luckily, I quickly picked up on a couple terms I kept hearing over and over.

  • SEO (search engine optimization) is an acronym I never once heard in college. Since I’ve stated at Ignite, I’ve had some training with SEO and what I do now understand is it is the process of increasing the visibility of your website/blog in search engines by using proper coding and good content supported with key words and links. Still sound like Na’vi to you?  Check out SEOMoz for more goodness.
  • UGC (user generated content) is another acronym I had never heard of but definitely had partaken in. UGC is social media content that is generated by fans, followers, etc. The content can be as simple as a comment or post but also can be social media sites providing campaigns for their fans to publish their own content (See, you’ve probably partaken in it too.)
  • WOM (word of mouth) this acronym I had at least heard of in college, but in the context of social media- I never knew how strong the connection was.  ‘Word of mouth marketing’ is what social media marketing is, trying to generate content that will become positive conversation worthy buzz.

Communications Research 362: Valuable or Useless?

Communications Research 362 is a course I took in college. Qualitative, quantitative, CPM, surveys and focus groups are all terms that will be ingrained in my head forever after that course. My question now, though, is why didn’t we learn anything about analyzing websites?

Before coming to Ignite I knew you could track ad clicks online but the course never covered anything on analytics software. I was amazed to find how much time, thought, and energy goes into analyzing site traffic, understanding visitor behavior and figuring out how people arrive on particular sites. If you’re like me and have never learned any of this in your communications research class, spend some time playing around with these tools. They definitely opened my eyes to a potential Communications Research 462 course that might actually be valuable in the field of social media marketing!

  • Google Analytics is the ultimate analytics tool, it shows you how people found your site, how the explored it and how you can help them enjoy their experience on your site.
  • Google Alerts is a tool where you can sign up to receive email updates of the most relevant Google results based on your topic of choice (your company, a competitor, etc.)
  • Social Mention is a tool similar to Google Alerts but instead of search results, it sends email updates from relevant social media sites based on your topic of choice, (your marketing campaign, your brand, etc.)

After walking across the stage and getting my official diploma I felt I should have learned it all, but it’s that first dive into the “real world” and starting a job where you learn something new every day.

But when it comes to social media marketing, get ready to learn something new every hour!

Ignite Social Media