This week, Louisiana Tech students will enjoy a well-earned fall break that will last until the end of November. Then – winter quarter begins.
Winter quarter is generally seen as the worst of the four quarters, but not because of any part of the subjects taught, which are similar, if not the same, as the ones taught the rest of the year. We generally have three weeks of winter quarter, followed by a lovely two-week holiday break, and then we return in January to finish it out.
Maybe it’s not winter quarter that’s the problem. Maybe it’s just the cold winter months of January and February, along with the holiday hangover that culminates after three months of Hallothanksmas.
Winter quarter is one of the two quarters I get to teach my favorite class, COMM 440: Social Media. I love this class for many reasons, but probably one of my top reasons is because my students in the class get to partner with a non-profit or business in the community and help design a social media communication strategy for the organization.
In the past, we’ve worked with MedCamps, Ruston Farmers Market and downtown Ruston, just to name a few. My students do a client background, a social media analysis of the organization as well as competitors (or, in some cases, we call it “inspiration analysis”), a SWOT analysis, and then they design the strategy.
Social media, while it’s well known, well discussed and well researched, is not as easy as sitting down and sending out a Tweet or posting a picture on Instagram. Goals are involved. Timing is important. Audience is key. There’s so much more that goes into a successful social media campaign than simply saying, “We need to be on social media.” That’s why businesses hire individuals to run social media accounts; it takes vision, it takes innovation, and it takes a lot of time.
Not only that, but it takes research. This social media class, as I tell my students on the first day, is not a cakewalk. It is hard work and delves into academic, scholarly research as well as statistics. It’s figuring out what message needs to be given to which audience on what channels during what timeline to effectively meet the organization’s goals. It’s time consuming – but it is so very rewarding at the end, for me, for the client, and for my students.
My students work with two clients over the course of the quarter – a midterm and a final client. Currently, we have a midterm client but are still working on a final client, and this is where our community comes into play. I am looking for a final client for this quarter and a couple of new clients for our students to work with in the spring quarter. If you are interested in working with my senior-level students, are willing to answer some questions and visit our class twice, please email me at email@example.com. I’d love to discuss options and how our students might be able to partner with your organization.