Social Media Coordinator. Content Marketer. Online Community Manager. Millennials are taking over these positions, and they provide a good-looking paycheck to help pay for ridiculously high rent and student loans. Right now, with some digital advertising skills, a degree in marketing or business, and a good personality (or maybe not even all of that), these types of occupations are easily within reach of 20-something-year-olds in cities that are home for sports teams, startups, and everything alike. Businesses big and small are scrambling left and right to join the social media race, hiring individuals and giving them relatively no guidelines other than a specified demographic to create an insightful experience for, through social media. A small university in northwestern New Jersey is preparing students with 4 classes with certifications for a concentration or minor in the field of Social Media Marketing.
Not too long ago, some very innovative faculty over at Centenary University in my hometown of Hackettstown, New Jersey, assembled the idea for a state-of-the-art, New York City startup-inspired, hands-on, educational media hub for students to gain knowledge about the digital world that we are so connected to. Time went by, flooring was installed, cool spinney-chairs were purchased, the video screens were set up, and now #theVIBE: Social Media Center of Expertise is a place in which I can call my corner of campus, where the digital world is my oyster. You can take a 360°tour of the center here!
The university offers four courses—Social Media Marketing, Digital Advertising, Digital Analytics, and Social Media Strategy and Consulting.
A brief run-down of each:
Social Media Marketing. Viewing social media from marketing perspective, students will use posting and publishing tools to possibly work with a business to review their current platforms. This is the first course taken of the new program offered to students.
Digital Advertising. Students dive into the different forms of advertisements on each major social network. They have the opportunity to run Google AdWord campaigns, compete against classmates in simulations, and get to learn more about Search Engine Optimization.
Digital Analytics. More on the “numbers” side of things, this is the course in which students will gain skills in various digital analysis tools. Live social media data from around the world will be used for a realistic, educational experience.
Social Media Strategy and Consulting. This final course brings together all the skills learned in the previous three courses. During your time as a student in this class, you become a real-life social media strategist for a real business. This is where your skills are both tested and taken to the next level.
Right now, some cities with high demand for jobs in social media are New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington D.C. What do all of these cities have in common? They are all home to thousands of businesses, of which many are unknowledgeable of how to create a notable online reputation that are willing and able to hire a qualified (or un-qualified) individual to do that for them. In any of these cities, a Social Media Specialist can earn $70k+ a year; these courses are meant to prepare you for just that– being that qualified individual.
With CentenaryU sending graduates off with certifications in Google AdWords Fundamentals, Mobile Ads, and Google Analytics, these jobs are no more about having the ability to simply just “re-tweet” and “re-gram”. The field will slowly get more competitive, with trained minds now applying for these jobs, right beside self-taught analysts and strategists. You can guess who will be hired a majority of the time (the one with the certificate!). Soon, many more colleges and universities across America will soon be right behind, launching similar degree programs.