This past weekend, September 23rd and 24th, Sysomos had the opportunity and pleasure to host the second session of IAB Canada’s inaugural 360° social marketing certificate, as part of their 360° program.
After two days at the IAB Canada offices, that included engaging social media discussions, hands-on Sysomos training, and classroom activities, we sat down with IAB Canada’s Director of Education – Kelly Sanderson – to learn a little more about what it is students look for in the social marketing certificate and why IAB Canada approached Sysomos to be a partner with them in their inaugural semester.
Here’s what Kelly had to say:
Why did IAB Canada start the social marketing certificate portion of the 360 program?
In the past we’ve only offered social media training in a one day format. Students would come in and sit down us for one immersive day where they learn the strategy behind social media marketing, content development techniques, how to develop a social brand, etc but the course didn’t provide students with any hands on training with the essential social media marketing platforms that people are actually using in the industry.
To create a program that was more practical we first reached out to our social media committee and we asked them “if you were hiring someone for a social media position, what platforms would they need to know to become immediately useful to your team?” and the most frequent ones they came back to us with were Sysomos as well as the native channels of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. From there we reached out to our partners and asked them if they wanted to participate.
Now when students get a Social Media Marketing certificate from IAB Canada it signals to employers that they know not only why a brand should be in social but they also know how to action on it from both a paid and earned perspective. This makes the certificate far more valuable to employers than it had been in the past.
What career stage do you find the 360 program students tend to be in?
People who are attending the program tend to be starting their careers or transitioning from other roles. Primarily they are either in college or university, a recent grad, or they have been working directly on the marketer or agency side of the business for 1-2 years. So while they may know how to use some tools, we’ve found that if the workplaces they come from are small or busy, they may not have been able to learn all the tips and tricks or explored all of the features for the tools they are being asked to use. They have a base understanding of how to use them, but are looking for more advanced training to get more out of the tools and bring more value back to their current positions or future positions.
What would you say are the social marketing skills students are looking to learn or sharpen in the social marketing part of the 360 program?
Students who are enrolled in the program are definitely looking to learn not only why they need to be using some of the industry standard tools but also how they can use them, and importantly from both a paid and earned perspective. What we find is writing and developing content for social can mean so many different things depending on the channel you are writing for. When students have a better understanding of what approaches to take on what channel, how to analyze and uncover meaningful trends and success with social content can be an invaluable resource to current and future employers.
This is the inaugural semester for the social marketing certificate portion of the program, where do you see the program evolving from here?
Ideally what we would really love to see is the IAB Canada social marketing certificate to become more engrained within the colleges and universities here. This way students will immediately have that hands on training. We’ve been talking a lot with our education partners and members about incorporating parts of this certificate into their core curriculum and a lot of them are very excited about it. We’d love to have the content taught here to be part of the curriculum for media and marketing students so they have that practical, hands on, experience before they enter the workforce. That way it lightens the load for marketers and agencies to do training and it means they don’t necessarily have to take time out of their work to attend professional sessions like this. All in it allows them to be more prepared for their jobs when they begin.
We’re thankful to the students who joined us on Friday and Saturday. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us, the Sysomos family of products and the digital marketing landscape. We’re excited to see what’s next for this group of early career professionals!