Whether you’re actually teaching in a school setting, running a corporate training program, or trying to educate consumers about your new product — social media may be the vehicle you need to succeed.
Why social media works as an education tool
- Its social — which means its more interactive and more fun. Rather than listening to boring lectures or reading training manuals, students interact with other students and the professor. Consumers collaborate to help solve problems, suggest work-arounds, and encourage increased use of your products. We call consumers “Partial Employees” when they perform these behaviors because they help you achieve your marketing goals. Social Media can build a community of consumption that supports users, increases their loyalty to your brand, and encourages additional purchases.
- It captures current cultural norms – in other words, people already spend time in social networks. That means they’re already in the same place where you’re putting your information. Global social media time online increased 82% in just one year — to over 5 hours per day according to Brian Solis. In the US, the average amount of time spent using social media rose over 200% to over 6 hours per day.
- Learning through social media is multimedia — involving reading, listening, and viewing video. Social media is perfect to learners of all types, including Kinesthetic learners who have to manipulate things to understand them.
How to use SOCIAL MEDIA
Commercial Uses to Support your Marketing Strategy
When you introduce a new product social media and blogs can be used to let consumers know about your product, demonstrate the product, answer questions that help consumers evaluate the product and get the most out of their product purchase.
Once consumers buy your product, they may need information on how to set it up, how to get the best performance from your product, upgrades available for your product, etc. Using their social network to get this information out is so much more fun and has a greater impact than static brochures, instruction manuals, and email updates.
Consumers might already buy your brand Half your battle is over because they already like your brand, they trust your brand, and they will buy your brand again. Now, capitalize on this by using social media to demonstrate new uses for the brand to encourage increased consumption of your product.
Overcoming Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive dissonance, or buyer’s remorse, is that feeling you made a mistake when you bought a product and is a major factor in returns. Social media can help overcome buyer’s remorse by validating the decision to purchase the product.
When you provide training through blogs or other social networks, you develop authority as an expert on the topic. Being an authority gives your brand credibility and helps build trust (and sales) for your product.
- Brian Solis and Chris Brogan (and others) use authority developed through their blogs to sell their books.
- I use “Ask a Marketing Expert” every Friday to support my network of professors and marketing experts, develop their authority, and bring in new business for them.
- WordPress offers training on its publishing platform. This has made it the most commonly used blog platform resulting in sales of its premium themes.
Educational Uses (Schools and Corporate Training)
According to a blog post by Mashable, teachers are beginning to use Social Media in their classrooms with dramatic results including increased student learning and lower absenteeism.
Edublogs currently supports almost 600,000 blogs for individual teachers and institutions such as Stanford, Cornell, Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, University of Connecticut, Georgia Southern University, and University of Illinois. For as little as $900/year, Edublogs provides private, secure blogs, enterprise level reliability, and institutional branding on the school’s domain. Less expensive packages are available for use by individual teachers for their own classes. There’s even a free version which features fewer options.
Professors can add assignments, hold office hours, encourage student discussion. Much of what professors currently do on Blackboard could be more easily accomplished using a blog or other social media. The paid version of Edublogs also includes elements such as Wikis for collaboration on team projects.
- I currently use this blog to support my university classes (I teach at Howard University) because I find it easier than Blackboard and students like it better.
- Students use “Ask a Marketing Expert” to get opinions from practitioners and academics at other schools regarding the material we cover in class.
- Dr. Theresa Clark from James Madison University uses a Facebook fan page to help disseminate information on job openings, interesting, related blog posts from others, and other related information.
School or Institutional Level
Social media can be used to effectively build the school’s brand among their primary target market — young adults and teenagers. Parents are also increasingly using social media, making social media a perfect marketing tools for institutions.
- Dr. Steven White, from UMass – Dartmouth uses his blog to discuss educational issues facing today’s universities, as well as other marketing information.
- I use a Facebook fan page to disseminate information regarding campus recruiting visits, guest speakers, scholarships, and other information to students in the School of Business at Howard.
- Blogs can be utilized to generate conversation between existing students and applicants to make both feel part of the university community and encourage enrollment. These conversations will help them get more out of their college experience, help them find an institution fitting their needs to discourage transfer, and ease transition to a new environment to reduce drop-out rates.