Who needs a boring Communications degree when you can now major in Facebook and Twitter? Several colleges across the United States now offer social media programs in which students study the elements and application of social platforms in a business setting. This may seem like a waste of time or just plain silly, because who doesn’t know how to use Facebook, right? In reality, social media is a complicated web of content and strategy, and even four years may not be enough time to learn how to successfully use social media to make money.
To be clear, these new social media programs don’t include classes like Facebook 110 or Instagram Filters 203. Most programs include a mix of marketing, design, production, and an emphasis on social media courses that cover all the bases of digital communication. Newberry College in South Carolina’s curriculum includes courses like SOM 101: Introduction to Social Media and SOM 301: Social Publishing Platforms. These courses teach students how to alter and implement traditional branding techniques into social network platforms.
Still not convinced? Seventy-five percent of internet users are active on at least one social media site and 66 percent of companies believe social media is core to their business. It’s projected that in 2017, over $35 billion, yes billion, will be spent on social media marketing. (Lepage, 2015) Companies aren’t paying that kind of money to have any old schmuck control its social media ventures. They want people who know the the social space inside and out. There’s a multitude of career opportunities in social media, too−I’d be shocked to discover a marketing agency that doesn’t have a department specifically for social. Just ask Julia, our Social Media Coordinator here at Transformation. She spends 40 hours a week managing the social media sites of our clients, and I bet if you asked her, she’d tell you she wishes she could’ve majored in social networking in college.
For good or bad, social media has taken over a portion of our lives and isn’t going away any time in the near future. It only makes sense that educational institutions are capitalizing on the rise of social and giving students opportunities to make a career out of it. Like marketing in its entirety, social media changes every day and it takes an expert to continually connect social trends to revenue. Getting paid to tweet is a very real-life thing, but not without a greater understanding of social networking than the average Facebook user.