Future Marketers Already 'Get' Social Media

by Tracy Panko on December 20, 2010

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While the business leaders of today work hard to solve the puzzle of how to measure their social media tactics in a manner consistent with their other financial measurements, high school students—our leaders of tomorrow—are creating social media measurements without the boundaries of repeated behaviors and past practices.

The good news is that five years from now, when the high school students of today start graduating from college, they will not only be proficient and used to communicating online, they will have already been practicing and creating methods of measurement.

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest speaker in an advanced marketing class at Lee’s Summit West High School. The topic I was asked to teach about was ‘How to Measure Social Media.’  Students in this class are participating in a DECA competition where they must present the marketing plans that they have created for a participating businesses, complete with social media budgets, tactics and measurements.

(DECA is an international not-for-profit student organization that is created to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools around the globe.)

These 16 to 18-year-old Internet-savvy students inherently understand the value of the data that is on the Web. A Pew Research Center study shows over 64% of all teens already create online content of their own.  This same group is already accustomed to evaluating their authored content based on the feedback of their friends, family, and other social network friends. Naturally, the concept of evaluating the social media tactics of a business seemed obvious.

I focused on creating a presentation with basic principles, but my audience never once questioned whether a solid online strategy should include social media. Instead, they instantly absorbed the information I’d presented and were quick to put together ideas for how they could measure the tactics they were creating in their business presentations.

Traditional marketers have a series of metrics and methods that are deeply ingrained in who they are—they have been using them for years. The forward-thinking ones are applying their knowledge to web marketing and social media and working to create new metrics that make sense.

Future marketers will have completely different worldview. Raised organically on new concepts like social networking, file sharing, and cloudsourcing, these students will approach marketing from the ground up in a fundamentally different way.

I went to the high school with the concern on whether or not my audience would understand the foundations of what I was presenting, but I left inspired and excited about the future opportunities my company will have to hire these open-minded, uniquely experienced creative thinkers.

The great communicators of tomorrow will be experienced at tactics, strategies and measurements of social media before they even graduate from college.

Image from emailmarketingreports.com.

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