Social Marketing Gets Formal with Harper Certificate Program

Article excerpt

Who's in charge of your small business' social marketing strategy?

If it's your teenage child or a similar young relative, the odds are good you're not getting any customer traffic from it, says Corinn Hilbert. The reason it isn't working is because businesses confuse "social media" with "social marketing," and there is a very big difference, she notes.

"With social media, it's arbitrary and spontaneous, with no outcomes expected. It's just sharing," said Hilbert, a social marketing consultant and founder of Be XSible LLC. "With social marketing, it's strategic and purposeful with a definite outcome expected. You want new customers. That does not happen by accident."

As social media and its potential as an effective marketing tool has grown exponentially over the past years, the learning curve for business owners to effectively utilize those tools has lagged behind. But a new program being launched at Harper College in Palatine is geared to provide focus and credibility to marketing a business online and through social media.

Harper's Social Media Marketing Specialist CE Certificate is a 48-hour, six-course program designed to give students the knowledge and tools to conduct effective business social marketing campaigns and strategies. Hilbert teaches the course, which she said is geared far beyond just knowing how to use Facebook or Twitter.

The program is designed to help business owners understand social media's role in social marketing, and how to develop and manage campaigns that provide your business with an online identity that draw new customers and develop relationships with current ones. In addition, the program also focuses on how to obtain and analyze the results in order to improve your marketing campaigns.

The course includes classes on social media and online marketing foundations; interactive content and working with search engine optimization and blogs; social media for business; email and mobile marketing campaigns; social marketing management and a social media portfolio workshop.

Hilbert said those completing the program will have know-how to develop and implement effective social marketing strategy, as well as analyze the results of those campaigns to take advantage of opportunities to grow and nurture new and existing customers.

"We want these businesses to capitalize on social media, not just be participants," she said. …