Can You Learn Social Media and Online Marketing at University?

by Susanna Gebauer (@dreckbaerfrau)

Truth be told: I do not even know, what they teach in „Marketing“ at university…

Honestly, I am a mathematician turned strategic consultant turned founder/entrepreneur turned marketer. Everything I know about online marketing and social media I learned by doing: By reading blog posts, trying things out, evaluating results, stepping back, thinking again … and learning by doing.

When people ask for a book about social media marketing, I usually say: I do not know, and I have not bought one single book about social media marketing. Most books about social media are probably old and outdated by the time they are printed…

So how can they teach online and social media marketing in a school for years? By books? Or do they let their students simply browse around the web all day? That would be my way…

Still, I meet people on Twitter telling me what I should do or not, and when I ask why, they say: Because they know, they learned it in university.Everything I know about social media marketing I learned by doing: Reading blog posts, trying things out, evaluating results, stepping back,...

Most of the time I decide this advice is crap.

And worse, I get the impression the marketing courses at University fail at the one major aspect of social media, the one aspect they should teach their pupils about social media and the evolving world of online marketing: Do not take anything for granted, things change and for each and every person or company the case is different.

When we hired our first employee in marketing, we thought we would hire experience and knowledge. We were wrong: We hired stubbornness and refusal to try out new things and to learn.

No need to say, we fired her after two weeks – good decision.

Still, the best people we ever hired in marketing were students: Eager to learn, willing to try out, happy to join the discussion with their own ideas.

So maybe yes, you can teach social media and online marketing at university. But it is not so much the facts and books you should teach/learn: Students should learn on real projects how to evolve in the ever-changing world of social media, how to always keep an open mind to new ideas and unexpected outcomes.

 

Always keep in mind:

  • There is not THE ONE solution or way
  • There is no right or wrong before you tried it out and results give the answer
  • What works in one case might be wrong in another
  • There is no fixed setting: Everything can change
  • The one unwilling to evolve and to adjust is going to be the one left behind

In social media you will never know all: Never stop learning!