How to use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to market businesses is the focus of a new course commencing this September at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT). Social media marketing is one of the fastest growing areas in global business.
Social media websites and channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and Instagram have millions of users, and companies are increasingly using them to market themselves.
The two-year Higher Certificate in Social Media Marketing (AL655) will give students the practical knowledge and skills to succeed in this fast changing industry. As part of the course, they will undertake industry-related projects to develop their communication and technical skills.
A series of master classes by industry leaders is currently in preparation for the course, which will provide an unparalleled learning experience for students. According to AIT marketing lecturer, Orla Thornton: “There are simply not enough social media and digital marketing professionals in Ireland to meet industry demand at present. A talent gap has emerged between the skills required for marketing jobs and the number of people who possess those skills and this course aims to fill that gap.
According to recent figures, digital marketing spend is growing at a rate of 20% per annum, so we need skilled professionals to keep up with this trend.” Head of the Department of Business Studies, Owen Ross, said: “AIT is to the fore in developing a course in this cutting edge area of business. In developing the higher certificate and in planning for the follow-on degree in digital marketing, we were very much guided by the needs of industry.
Students will spend a lot of time ‘doing’ on this course, so that when they graduate they will have the skills to be able to organise a Facebook campaign, they will understand how a video can go viral on YouTube, and they will have experience of app and website design.” The numbers involved give some sense of the significance of social media platforms. Manchester United, for example, currently has 24 million likes for its Facebook page, while Lady Gaga has some 23 million followers on Twitter. Four billion videos are viewed daily on YouTube, Pinterest has grown to become the third most used social network in the US within two years of launching , while Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion a mere 18 months after launching.
Application to the course (CAO code AL655) is through the change of mind facility of the CAO, which is available from 5 May until 1 July. Further information about the course can be found at www.ait.ie/socialmediamarketing