CCCC offers Social Media Marketing certificate

11-08-2012
Curriculum Programs

SANFORD – It’s not all just fun and games for Facebook and Twitter users any more. In fact, for some Central Carolina Community College students, tweets, hashtags, pins and like will soon mean serious business.

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Beginning January 2013, CCCC will become the first community college in North Carolina to offer a certificate program in Social Media Marketing (SMM).

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“CCCC is a college of firsts,” said Business Technologies Department Chair Drew Goodson, who is responsible for the development of the program. “We’re continuing that tradition with our Social Media Marketing certificate.”

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One of only a few curriculum credentials of its kind in the nation, the college’s SMM program will focus on the use of social media technologies, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others, to enhance business strategies and reach customers in innovative ways.

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“The way people receive and process news and information is changing,” said CCCC President Dr. Bud Marchant. “Businesses need to know about and understand this new way of communicating in order to get their message out. Our hope is that this new program will provide that kind of help.”

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Goodson credits Marchant with the vision for the new program: “Dr. Marchant saw the great potential benefit that SMM education held for our student population. He championed the idea and fast-tracked the program’s creation.”

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The field of Social Media Marketing itself is on a fast track of growth in the business sector. In fact, according to Goodson, the job of “Social Media Manager” did not even exist a few years ago but is now commonplace.

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Not only a field in its own right, but the applications and principles of SMM are also being grafted into business models of all kinds, including government, human resources, sales, communication, and non-profit work.

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“The future is bright for people with real social media knowledge and skills,” Goodson said. “Marketing has always been an important part of business education.”

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He continued: “The emergence of social media has created entirely new ways for businesses to interact with their customers and market their products and services. Social media is an additional skill that makes prospective applicants more attractive for the kinds of jobs they are already seeking.”

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Goodson envisions the college’s SMM certificate holders having an advantage as job-seekers because they will be able to tell prospective employers: “in addition to the duties you have outlined, I can help you build a social media presence to help grow your business.”

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“I believe that will be a powerful tool that will help students get hired,” Goodson said.

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Social media is typically thought of as the types of electronic communication people use to share content and resources among online communities. SMM Certificate program students will receive an education in this cutting-edge area of marketing with the most up-to-date knowledge of the emerging social media industry.

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Students will participate in a variety of learning activities, from traditional reading assignments and discussion boards to hands-on projects, case-based marketing studies, and the development of their own Social Media Marketing Plans. Topics of study include social media basics, ethics of social media and marketing strategies.

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The SMM program is a five-course online curriculum that follows a two-semester track of 16 total credit hours. Courses combine social media classes with business and marketing classes.

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Of the five courses, two are a required part of the Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration curriculum; any of the other three courses can be credited as a business elective for the A.A.S. curriculum.

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The SMM courses offered for Spring 2013 will be limited to the first 25 students who register for the program; the first program graduates are expected in December 2013.

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No special admission requirements apply to the SMM program though students will find familiarity with computers and Internet navigation aid their success. Communication and writing skills, previous use of social media tools or prior marketing experience would further benefit program students.

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Students do not have be part of the Business Administration A.A.S. curriculum to earn a SMM certificate.

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Current students interested in the SMM curriculum should meet with an academic counselor to add the certificate to their course of study as a double major. Interested students new to the college should complete a CCCC application, indicating Social Media Marketing as the program of study.

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For more information about CCCC’s certificate program in Social Media Marketing, visit www.cccc.edu/curriculum/guides/C25120S0.pdf.

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