A winning strategy – Learning to make social media work for you

Social media enables you to talk directly with your target market, but it shouldn’t be all one-way noise. Businesses – and their marketers – should be using social media as a listening tool, too, says educator Michael Ewer, stressing the ability to find out what customers are thinking is one of its greatest assets.

“Social media forces you to become nimble, look at the market, read and respond more quickly,” he says.

“You need to listen to your customers and learn to read the market more accurately to be successful.”

Getting the best results from social media campaigns is at the heart of TAFE SA’s Diploma of Social Media Marketing, the first nationally recognised qualification to be offered in the field. The online course, which launched this year, has been developed by national and international social media experts with content based on developing a social media campaign from start to finish.

Michael, TAFE SA’s Principal Lecturer – Marketing & Communications, says interest in the course was high from the outset and 52 students enrolled in the first unit, Plan, Implement and Manage a Blog and Content Marketing.

“Almost 90 per cent of Australians between the ages of 15 and 64 years are active social media users and social media advertising is growing rapidly,” Michael says.

“There’s been phenomenal growth in the industry and this course is a great way for school leavers and those already in marketing roles to learn how to make the most of social media. I say to school leavers that you won’t become an influencer, that’s not what it’s about, but you’ll learn to market a brand.”

The Diploma of Social Media Marketing is a 12-month, full-time study commitment (or part-time equivalent) with eight units of competency covering the basics through to creating compelling content, positioning it, finding customers and driving sales.

It is essential for students to have a business or product to market, although it doesn’t have to be their own enterprise.

Michael says people can volunteer their time for someone in need of social media promotion, and he’s also starting to receive enquiries from small business operators and start-ups wanting to be used as a model.

The initial group of students is working in areas such as tourism, wine, clothing, agriculture and botanical gifts and Michael says they are already reaping benefits from the study.

“They do an assignment for me, then they apply it in their own businesses, and they see some success. They learn that it’s not about random posting but that there’s a strategy involved,” he says.

Current students fall into three categories: school leavers who want to work in the industry; people with start-up businesses who want to engage with customers on social media; and marketing personnel who want to formalise their knowledge or find a better way to do things.

India Gad works as a Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager at Morphettville Race Course and enrolled in the course to get some official accreditation for her experience and learn some additional skills.

“The up-to-date resources and information in the Diploma of Social Media Marketing is ideal,” she says.

“I’m able to easily implement new skills into my day-to-day role and it’s great to be able to put my new learnings to use immediately.”

The busy mother of five says the online delivery of the course has been ideal, enabling her to structure study around her work and family commitments.

“The lecturers are so available, and we have a social media marketing group online so I can network with the other students,” she says.

In 2020, the Diploma of Social Media Marketing will be available on campus or online as demand continues to grow.

For more information, visit https://www.tafesa.edu.au/courses/business-marketing/sales-marketing

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