Certificate in Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy and Management Certificate (15 hours)

This certificate will focus on the skills needed to create, analyze and optimize social media content and campaigns. This will include an understanding of the forces that are driving change in media and information and the rise of social media. Students will learn to define and analyze audiences for and with social media and to measure the effectiveness of social media strategies. They will also learn the best practices and principles in social media management, effective social media content and campaigns. Students will take these required courses:

Information Insight I (JOUR 860)
3 credit hours

This course will introduce students to the broad concepts and theories of information, media and audiences. The goal is to ground students in the broad concepts of the master’s program and to push them to identify their direction and goals for a certificate or for a degree. Students will gain the following skills:

  • Search and locate basic data and information resources
  • Manage information with digital tools
  • Communicate ideas clearly and concisely for research proposals, capstone projects, and other graduate-level work
  • Analyze relevant case studies
  • Apply legal and ethical principles to work with data and social media

Analyzing Audiences (JOUR 865)
3 credit hours

This course will focus on identifying appropriate audiences for media and information, as well as gathering information and analyzing audiences using primary and secondary sources. It will include creating, analyzing and interpreting analytics for websites, mobile technology and other forms of media. Students will gain the following skills:

  • Identify audiences for media, information and content
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of media messages
  • Use social media for research
  • Gain a basic understanding of the available tools for audience analysis

Social Media Strategy (JOUR 866)
3 credit hours

This course will provide a broad overview of the social media landscape, examining the development and use of various platforms, best practices in the use of social media, and the tools available for managing social media and social media analytics. The course will take a strategic approach focusing on social media as a conduit for larger content strategy and will cover such areas as content marketing, content curation, behavioral targeting, and segmenting target markets on social networks. Students will create a social media plan for themselves or their organization. Students will gain the following skills:

  • Understand changes in strategic communication brought about by new digital technologies
  • Critically analyze academic and policy papers on contemporary issues concerning social media-based strategic communication
  • Use research and analytics tools to identify and measure social technographics of an organization’s key audiences and to evaluate an organization’s social media campaigns
  • Understand ways to effectively craft and deliver an organization’s messages to its key audiences via different social media platforms
  • Use open source tools to create, curate and share social media content
  • Understand how to build and maintain personal branding online

Information in Context (JOUR 898)
3 credit hours

This writing-intensive course will explore the many ways that disciplinary focus influences the meaning and understanding of information. It will help students approach problem-solving in an interdisciplinary way, and allow them to understand how context can open new paths to understanding and meaning. Students will gain the following skills:

  • Explore how context shapes understanding
  • Understand framing, filter bubbles, confirmation bias, correspondence bias and other ways that information becomes distorted
  • Approach problem-solving in an interdisciplinary way, including such areas as culture, history, politics, society and business       
  • Evaluate information from the perspectives of diverse audiences
  • Strengthen writing skills through the lens of contextual problem-solving

Social Media Metrics (JOUR 867)
3 credit hours

This course will examine the evaluation, tools and best practices in integrating social media metrics into a strategic plan. Students will gain the following skills:

  • Measure social media effectiveness through the use of appropriate metrics
  • Analyze social media metrics 
  • Choose the best way to evaluate social media messages
  • Explore various types of software for evaluating social media
  • Apply best practices to social media evaluation