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Social Media Marketing

By Jeff McCauley, Marketing Teacher, Davis High School

Seth Godin, a thought leader and business guru once commented, “If you graduate with a 4.0 from high school, what are you good at?” His answer; “high school.”

Sadly, in many ways he is right. However, in CTE we continually work to remain relevant, to be on the cutting edge.

This past fall the Davis Marketing Group at Davis High School piloted the first high school Social Media Marketing class in Utah, and possibly in the entire country. The reason for the class—simply to help students remain current and secure a competitive edge with relevant skills and knowledge.

The course was designed to cover the technology and application sides of social media in business. For each platform or medium, including Facebook, Twitter, mobile marketing, blogging, YouTube, etc., students studied three specific areas:

  • How to use the platform/medium (the technology and “how to” aspect)
  • How to use the platform/medium in the business world (application)
  • How companies have used these platforms/media (case studies)

Through the course students developed reveal pages for Facebook pages, QR codes to direct scanners to websites, phone calls or videos, and iPhone/Android mobile apps. They created a list of influential business leaders to follow on Twitter and learned to personalize their YouTube page.

Kate Simpson commented, “I felt that the approach of learning by doing, rather than simply reading a textbook, [gave me] the skills that I can apply right now.” She also feels her use of social media has changed as she approached it from a professional perspective since future employers will no doubt look at her digital life in the interview process.

Lauren Underwood said, “The class opened new doors in the world of marketing that I will use the rest of my life.”

To a great degree, Breanna Barton is correct when she says, “Social media is the future of marketing.” While traditional marketing is critical, there will always be a role for social media marketing.

In a recent article in the Standard-Examiner, Darin Bernston of SEO.com said, “From an employer like us, we think it’s great that it’s being taught in high school to help get the students more prepared before college, since social media is becoming a big strategy for many companies.” It’s what is happening now and is something you definitely have to embrace, since social media is basically word of mouth on steroids.”

While social media marketing in secondary education is in its infant stages there is certain to be growth of such program offerings. In the fall there are plans by as many as six additional high schools to offer the course.

The big concern, of course, is that there will always be skeptics who contend social media is a trend, a fringe topic. I wonder if those who thought the Internet was a fad want to reconsider?

The Growth of Social Media

UtahCTE.org note:  Jeff McCauley and Breanna Barton were quoted in the January edition of Utah Business Magazine, “Schools Offer Social Media Classes to the Next Generation of Marketers.” Mr. McCauley’s class was then featured in an article in the Standard-Examiner on January 20, “Schooled in Social Media.” On February 1, a local TV news station visited Mr. McCauley’s Social Media Marketing class. Read their report online at KUTV 2.


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