Choosing the Right Social Media Marketing Degree: Online vs. Offline
The specialized knowledge or skill acquisition in promoting a specific product or service on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. is covered in a social media marketing degree. Several universities and colleges offer such courses in the form of masters in social media marketing.
This specialization program is the need of the hour, considering the increased competition amongst brand developers and service providers in terms of promoting their product and services online. By developing an active presence on various social media platforms and employing the strategies developed while pursuing a social media marketing degree can essentially help in the diversification and expansion of a business brand.
Importance of A Masters in Social Media Marketing Degree
In a gradually emerging marketplace, with increasing numbers of online businesses and service providing organizations, it is important to develop the knowledge about promoting a specific product or service to a targeted audience. With the increased emphasis on consumption of knowledge and content online via social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other such social networking sites, it has become important to creatively depict and market a product or service that is meant for a specific audience. Most consumers have shifted their focus towards online shopping and accessing online services post the pandemic, making it an urgent concern amongst service providers and business owners to promote their ideas and products on social media by applying the knowledge available in the hands of social media marketing experts and marketing consultants. A genuinely well-crafted and usable product or service can only reach a mass audience by engaging in appropriate social media marketing skills developed upon acquiring a masters education in this field.
As per the reports of a recently conducted survey, social media engagement rates of consumers in 2023 have significantly increased by 4.25% for the platform of Tiktok among other social media marketing sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Pros of An Online Social Media Marketing Degree
An online social media marketing degree is instrumental in various ways to aspiring marketing strategists and social media marketing consultants. These benefits include:
- Knowledge of Consumer Audience on Social Media Platforms: A social marketing degree pursued online helps in gaining deep knowledge of the consumer audience on various social media platforms. By closely observing the pattern of consumer engagement on specific platforms, an aspiring marketing strategist or business developer can appropriately handle the business expansion and management.
As per reports of a recent survey, the Instagram advertising services are consumed and viewed the most by 18-24 year old populations comprising 30.6% of the consumption pattern including both male and female. This knowledge can only be accessible by engaging in social media marketing major.
- Affordable Course Fees: The course fees of an online social media marketing degree are generally reasonable and affordable for most aspiring students and learners. The normal course prices range between 5,000 INR to 10,000 INR for a typical degree that is conducted across a period of 6 months to 1 year.
- Flexibility to Attend Sessions Remotely: These programs are conducted 100% online and therefore a student can attend the course sessions from any location and do not need to stay restricted to the corners of their house. These courses can be easily attended even while on a vacation.
- Pre-Recorded Sessions: All conducted sessions are pre-recorded and therefore provide the flexibility to the individual to attend them at their own time, under circumstances when they cannot attend them during the live sessions.
- Self-Paced: These courses are self-paced and thus each specific module can be completed at an individual’s own pace based on their preparedness and schedule availability.
- Certified: These courses are certified and affiliated under reputed institutions worldwide and are included with a performance and completion certificate upon successful completion of the entire course. These certificates are ideal for including in the resume.
As per the reports of a survey, the annual median salaries of social media marketing graduates amount to an average of $140,000 and are ranked as the highest earning managers among other managing posts in business organizations.
Cons of An Online Social Media Marketing Degree
It is important to consider several disadvantages and cons of an online social media marketing degree. These include:
- Limited Interaction: Most social media marketing degrees that are conducted online do not involve interaction with other individuals pursuing the same course and the interaction is limited to the faculty and the students in a universal sense. This limits the knowledge of the aspirant to the session module content and does not help them understand the perspectives of others.
- Less Engagement: Most students do not experience enough engagement and interest in online programs of marketing in social media since the faculty cannot be seen or experienced physically and the student can easily get distracted since they are attending classes from comfortable locations.
- Limited Output: Most online programs in marketing related to social media involve limited outputs since they are primarily involving basic skill acquisition and since they are conducted for a short span of time, therefore they involve lesser output as the course certificates are not easily accepted by job recruiters and top marketing organizations.
- Lack of Industrial Exposure: Most offline courses in social media marketing do not include compulsory internships or industrial engagement and therefore they do not help students acquire knowledge of the industrial practices. This reduces their ability to network with professionals and find a place in the social media marketing industry.
Pros of An Offline Social Media Marketing Degree
There are several advantages of an offline social media marketing degree. These benefits include the following:
- Increased Networking Opportunities: Most offline programs in social media marketing are oriented towards industrial exposure. These programs help in analyzing and understanding the trends in prospering businesses that employ social media marketing tactics to grow their business.
- Opportunity to Consult Professionals: Most offline programs in social media marketing involve increased opportunities to interact with professionals in the marketing sector and learn some interesting strategies to promote business services and products that have high potential. These opportunities can truly help shape a meaningful career.
- Good Career Prospects: The current career prospects of a social media marketing program graduates are truly high. They can easily witness career options in marketing consultancy, marketing and social media advertising agencies, collaborate with top business organizations and service providers as well as look for careers as social media influencers or brand ambassadors.
- Universal Applicability: The applicability of a masters in social media marketing is truly universal. The various skills of advertising, promotion, sales as well as social media presence and engagement are helpful in various aspects of life. These skills are helpful in solving several problems as well as easily adaptable in other fields of specialization.
- Exposure to Different Locations: Since most students prefer pursuing a degree in social media marketing in international destinations, therefore they get an exposure to the social media marketing strategies and trends of that location and analyse the key difference between both of them and hone their internal understanding.
- According to a recent survey, the major brand discovery occurs on social media platforms, constituting 64% of the overall consumption pattern among other platforms such as vlogs, endorsements and other advertisements. This primary insight of promotion of a brand can only be attained upon taking a social media marketing major in university or college.
Cons of An Offline Social Media Marketing Degree
There are some cons of pursuing an offline social media marketing degree as well. These include:
- Excessive Course Fees: Social media marketing is a popularly demanded course among students and therefore the course fees for an offline program in the given field are excessive. This makes it difficult for some students facing financial issues to pursue the given program. The fees are high for shorter duration programs of 1 year as well.
- Time-Bound: Most students believe in multitasking and take up increasing responsibilities on a daily basis. They might also be performing part-time jobs at some organization and might not be available for in-person full time classes. The offline format is not a convenient option for most students.
- Increased Onus on Self-Study: Most masters programs in social media marketing lay larger onus on self-study, making it difficult for students to cope up with the intensive modules each semester. The programs involve a facilitative aspect of the faculties and they do not include major intervention of the faculties due to their limited availability.
A social media marketing degree is important in multifaceted dimensions. It has several interesting advantages such as knowledge of ongoing trends of products and services on social media, consumer preferences, increased promotion of a particular product or business service to a targeted audience as well as its applicability in the general business market. Apart from increasing knowledge in good business practices online, the given program is also offered by reputed universities and colleges in both online and offline formats. Offering eligibility to students coming from different disciplines and majors, this field is the need of the hour. It can be pursued at any given point with limited resources and thereby makes it an ideal option of study for most students.