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Social Media in the Real World: Successful Applications of Social Media Strategies is a course I am teaching at San Francisco State University: College of Extended Learning starting at May 2nd.


To describe the course, I ask the central question:  How do established companies in business-to-business, business-to-consumer and non-profit areas use social media to build their businesses? The course provides a closer look at the strategies and planning used by effective social media practitioners within organizations. Case studies and hands-on projects will reveal which strategies are most effective and why. You’ll learn to think strategically and adjust your plan to changes in the community conversation. We’re sold out for Spring 2011, but the course is available again in the Fall 2011.


This page is a resource for students taking the course now:


Syllabus (PDF opens in a new window / tab)

Professor: Jennifer Neeley (Lindsay)




Course Materials


Week 1

Case studies Dell and The Obama Campaign

Required reading:

ArticlesTechCrunch on Dell Outlet, Twitter 101 for BusinessObama’s Internet StrategyBusiness compared with strategic models and the Social Media Strategy Struggle

Models: Common Social Media Models

Class project: Create a Social Media Strategy, Due: On or before our last class, Saturday, May 15, 2011 from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM. UPDATE: Your final assignments are now due on Monday, May 23rd, 2011 by noon PDT.

Step One – Due via email day of or prior to Week 2:

Complete a Social Media Audit

Measure your chosen company’s online presence against two to three competitors


Use the following sites to track your unique Web site traffic (remember to grab the permalink!)

Web Site Meta Data

Social Media Presences


  • URL to your company and competitor pages
  • Number of Likes
  • Activity frequency – Roughly how often is the company posting?


  • How often are users interacting with the company’s posts?
  • Do they have a custom Welcome or Landing page? Does it imply or strictly require that you “Like” the page to see the wall?
  • Frequent names interacting with company?


  • Twitter URLs
  • Number following
  • Number followers
  • Listed (public or private?)


  • Custom background? What’s it say/promote?
  • Which link shortener / tool do they use to publish? (e.g. Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Seesmic or another)


  • Company page link
  • Number following?
  • Number of employees
  • Percent male to female
  • Top schools
  • Recent hires / People who’ve left (lots of hiring / firing?)
  • Where leave to? (Where they come from is useful, too)


Business listings

  • Google Places – Ratings, number of reviews and sentiment (positive, neutral or negative)
  • Yelp – Ratings, number of reviews and sentiment (positive, neutral or negative)


Is the location “claimed” by the business?

Week 2

Example strategy document: Download Word Document | Download PDF

Reading assignments:

Links discussed in class:

Week 3

Course wrap up – Please refer to schedule below for important details about this class:


FINAL PROJECT DUE DATE:. I have checked with the university and am extending the deadline to email in your final assignment extending an additional week plus weekend. Your final assignments are now due on Monday, May 23rd, 2011 by noon PDT. I cannot grant additional time beyond that date, but I do hope it comes a relief and provides time for you to do a deeper drive into the findings of your Social Media Audit. My goal is to have feedback to you by our final class on Saturday so that we can discuss any questions or concerns you have based on said feedback. To reinforce the importance of the Final Project, you cannot pass this course without meeting this requirement. No exceptions.


FINAL CLASS: Our agenda for Saturday, May 14, 2011 from 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM reads below. Please note that you must come prepared to discuss items in the agenda below – my lecture time subject to change based on 3:30 PM opportunity, which I will move up and eliminate other session time to accommodate. Please review each item here carefully and provide feedback if needed:


9:30 AM – Roll Call – Please add your name to Office Hours list on the whiteboard during or before roll call if you need one-on-one time (if you cannot stay after class, please contact me immediately to make other arrangements)


9:45 AMDiscuss Required Reading & Questions – How did the examples provide illuminate / not illuminate your thinking and process?


10:45 AM – Exercise – Course Project: Real World Considerations: Each of you come prepared with 3 to 5 questions written on index cards or cut into 3″ x 5″ rectangles about the real world application of your assignment. Working table by table, your classmates will draw one of the index cards and present the dilemmas / questions in front of the class for feedback. Please phrase your items anonymous to you and your business – we will get more specific as we discuss


11:15 AM – Break: You must return and be sitting in your seat no later than 11:30 AM


11:30 AM – Interactive Lecture: How to overcome common hurdles to succeed strategically in the real world – Expanding on the topics discussed during the exercise, I will work with you to provide best practice guidance and examples


12:30 PM – Lunch: You must return and be sitting in your seat no later than 1:30 PM – Please feel free to bring your lunch, although there is no refrigeration available that I am aware of. Please feel free to bring food back with you, but be sensitive to potentially odd smells or loud crunching / noises. Please exercise your judgement and be considerate in order to foster a focused and open learning environment!


1:30 PM – Interactive Lecture: The Role Of ROI (Return on Investment) and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) – Social Media And Selling To The C-Suite


2:30 PM – Interactive Lecture: Measuring Success – How to use analytics to refine and engage and discussion of student findings


3:15 PM – Break: You must return and be sitting in your seat no later than 3:30 PM


3:30 PM – Course Project: Finalizing your strategy – The Pitch: Think about how you would pitch your strategic recommendations. Please come prepared to discuss and ask questions for the real world implementation of your Final Project: If you have a pitch ready that you would like to try on the class – please email me and let me know immediately. Any materials you need projected must be emailed to me and you will have 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes for Q&A + feedback.


4:00 PM – Course Discussion / Final Q&A


4:15 PM – Course Evaluation


4:30 PM – Course Sessions Complete – IMPORTANT REMINDER: Final assignments are now due on Monday, May 23rd, 2011 by noon PDT.  You cannot pass this course without meeting this requirement. No exceptions.


4:30 – 5:00 PMInstructor Office Hours. Hard stop at 5:00 PM. Please make arrangements beforehand if you have a specific need.

Course ends. Final pass / fail submitted after review of final project and submitted no later than university deadline.

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