Today’s digital world is quite interesting to navigate as a startup entrepreneur.  On the one hand, it’s exciting to have access to so many potential consumers for your product through social media.  However, as people are becoming more digitally savvy, it’s harder to reach them through all of the noise.  Not to mention, social media and technology are constantly changing, and so are the way people use it.

UMSL (University of Missouri-St. Louis) is now offering classes that can help marketers, business owners and entrepreneurs understand this changing landscape, how to implement marketing campaigns and techniques that work in this new environment, and the tools that are available to help marketers navigate.

Before you start thinking that you need a young intern to handle your social media, remember – There is a big difference between someone who uses social media and someone who uses social media for marketing.  And, it’s not free.  Yes, the account you create is free, but to really make social work for your business you have to invest the time into it.  How much time does it take?  Social Media Examiner found that the majority of marketers report using social media for 6+ hours each week.

There’s a reason companies are devoting this much time, too.  Awareness, Inc. found that social media use has increased 356% in the U.S. since 2006, and Internet users spend three times longer per day on social media and blogs than they do their email.  Do you see the opportunity that you have?  But it’s only there if you understand how to maximize this landscape.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies who don’t.

Lab42 found that 87% of U.S. Facebook consumers have liked a brand, and Exact Target shows that nearly an equal amount (81%) of consumers have unliked or removed company posts from their feed.  Social media is not about blasting sales messages to those who follow you; it’s about building personal relationships with your customers on a very large scale with the right tools.  Just because social media takes place online, it’s still a very simple idea.  You’re simply having a conversation, but that conversation just happens to take place online.

It sounds a little daunting, right?  It doesn’t have to be.  UMSL’s Social and Digital Marketing Certificate is offering courses such as digital strategies, strategic search engine marketing, web analytics, media buying, planning and analysis, e-commerce strategy, and many more, all taught by industry experts.  Check out the next upcoming class – Web Analytics – August 2,3 and 10 being taught by the program director Perry Drake.

UMSL is Drake’s alma mater, but he’s been teaching at New York University for the last 14 years.  He’s excited to be back in St. Louis, and his return couldn’t have come at a better time.  Studies have shown that by 2013, lead management campaigns integrating four or more digital channels are expected to outperform single or dual channel campaigns by 300%.  Are you ready to take advantage of this new and exciting media landscape?  If not, make sure you check out UMSL’s new program.  You can take a one-day course for $299, two-day course for $499, or a three-day course for $749.

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