Reflection: 

Social Marketing for Entrepreneurs with Aaron Dinin was a great class for me to take as I have varied interests and learning about how to build a brand and use social media to create an influence is extremely cross applicable over industry and type of work. The technical skills we took away from this course will be invaluable in our career development and will also allow us to differentiate ourselves when we enter the workforce. Most millennials overlook the customer side of social media and as a result of this class, I and rest of those who took it have a deep understanding of how the customer side of social media operates and we can use that to our advantage. As social media becomes increasingly important, having the technical background to understand the influence it has and how to build that influence will be imperative when seeking to better promote our ideas, ourselves and our companies.

Skills

The specific techniques and processes that we grew to understand were those around what made successful social media campaigns. During almost every class, we analyzed the “best/worst” examples of recent social media activity put out by celebrities, influencers or companies (depending on which module we were in). By going into each of these three types of social media users, we were able to get a wide breadth of understanding across how different goals can be achieved through similar platforms and also which platforms work better for which kinds of users. For example, understanding that a celebrity may use Instagram more often than Quora, because they have a life that people like seeing and people are not necessarily interested in their advice, like they would be in the advice of an influencer, let’s say. It was great to see the best/worst examples because we could have critical conversations about what made the social media effort one that was good or one that was bad.

Takeaways

It was great that I had taken Social Innovation and the I&E Keystone prior to this class because I was able to draw connections between the ventures and companies I had studied in those classes and the social media strategies I was learning about in the elective. Trying to make those connections allowed me to get a deeper understanding of how those companies operate and also how their social media strategies could be altered to be potentially more effective.

My major takeaway from this class was that one’s influence on social media is going to grow to be a bigger test of one’s competence in the workplace. Another key concept that I took away from this class is the idea of trust and how important it is when building social media branding. In almost every successful post or campaign we analyzed, some element of trust was incorporated. Whether it was trust in the quality of the product, or trust in the individual’s authenticity, trust was always something that had to be taken into account in order to make a difference.

Social media is a huge part of entrepreneurship and its role is only growing. All the classes I have taken at Duke that have been about modern leadership and the future, especially those part of I&E, have incorporated social media and its influence. For example, I took a Public Policy class called “Leadership, Policy, Change” and we learned about several leaders and social movements throughout history and today including the Arab Spring and the Black Lives Matter movement. Both of these movements have huge social media components that we analyzed in great detail. Point being, social media threads its way through almost every facet of modern society and therefore taking Aaron Dinin’s class was an extremely beneficial way to help carry out my goals for the certificate because of the way we analyzed social media to its core from the customer side. I am looking forward to taking the Capstone during my senior year and using my skills from this elective to enhance my learning experience.

Artifact: Social Media Bus Route

By the end of the semester, we all had a solid foundation for understanding how to construct, maintain, and grow a social media presence. For our final project, we had to construct a social media plan or “bus route” for ourselves or an organization of which we are a part. By compiling all the strategies we learned into the social media bus route, we gained a greater and more practical understanding of a lot of what we learned in class. Putting the concepts we learned from readings, case studies, and guest speakers into practice allowed us to troubleshoot and come up with solutions for points where we felt there were roadblocks to our brand’s success.

*Photo from ATLAS Prom!*

I chose to do the social media bus route for ATLAS, a mentoring organization of which I am the co-President. ATLAS is an organization where Duke students with chronic illnesses mentor Duke hospital patients who also have chronic illnesses. The group is small and would definitely benefit from added publicity and marketing. I am very passionate about the success of this group and therefore creating the social media bus route for ATLAS was something I really enjoyed and something I found especially useful. You will find the social media bus route I created attached below.

Social Media Bus Route