Big Companies Bank on Social Media
By Kelsey Judd, Intern
How would you like to have a free smartphone with unlimited wireless access? Don’t jump too quickly to your toes, you need to be hyperconnected, young, and possibly in the social media class offered at Boston’s Emerson College. Wall Street Journal’s “Here, Tweeting Is a Class Requirement,” highlights how companies like Sprint, Levi Strauss & Co. and Mattel Inc. are getting help from students with their online marketing in exchange for their product or services (i.e. the smartphone with unlimited wireless access.)
How did Sprint and other companies find Emerson’s Social Media class- also known as #ESM on Twitter, and not another handful of ultra-connected and hip students? Similar to other successful business ideas, it kicked off with a hashtag campaign. Instructor David Gerzof tweeted “Looking for Boston Start-ups that want an Emerson College team to run their PR or Social Media outreach for the next 4 months.” Sprint must have caught eye of this because ever since, students have been pushing Sprint’s 4G network in Boston through Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and producing YouTube videos. The results have changed both parties. The article mentioned that one student is now “. . .more likely to go with a Sprint phone than [she] ever was before. . .” and “. . . using Sprint’s Evo smartphone and working for the company has changed her opinion of the brand. . .” Sprint spokesman, Mark Elliott said, “We’re teaming up with the class again this semester it worked so well.”
I like that ESM is actively carrying out a social media campaign rather than talking about what it is during a lecture. Marc Matthews from Fleishman Hillard Digital, recently suggested to me to find a company that is lacking in social media and volunteer my time to help them. Sure, I’m addicted to Facebook and other outlets but that addiction doesn’t become meaningful until it can benefit a future employer. During my internship with Fusion, I’ve been able to gain insight and quickly pick up the skills needed to add value to a company by being able to produce and track measurable results. Engaging with customers via social media is a big deal. If it wasn’t, companies like Sprint, Levi Strauss & Co. and Mattel Inc. wouldn’t be back to the drawing boards with it in mind.