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Hands-on social media

Photo courtesy of Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids

UD social media program partners with school gardening nonprofit organization

This spring, participants in the University of Delaware’s Social Media Marketing Strategy Certificate program will grow their social media expertise while helping a gardening education nonprofit organization perfect its online brand and social media initiatives.

The UD program will team up with Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids (HFHK), an outreach program that helps Delaware schools integrate vegetable gardening programs into their science curricula.

“Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids is a very small nonprofit that has brought gardening education to more than 10,000 Delaware public school students,” says founder and president Thianda Manzara. “We are very good at what we do, but we are not PR or social media experts. We're very excited about the opportunity to work with UD's social media class to develop a sustainable plan that will allow us to expand our audience and increase engagement.”

Participants in the UD program will work directly with HFHK as a real-world case study to apply the social media and communication tools taught in the program. Participants will present HFHK with a comprehensive strategy, including platforms, audience analysis, content calendar, and social media marketing campaigns.

The Social Media Marketing Strategy Certificate program begins Feb. 14 and covers such topics as establishing a brand online and determining the right social media platforms; engaging an audience with rich, fresh and relevant content; using best practices in crisis management; and launching a product, campaign or initiative by using social media to drive action.

Now in its fifth year, UD’s Social Media Marketing Strategy Certificate program is an award-winning program and is recognized for its approach to community engagement and experiential learning opportunities.

Past semesters’ client-partners have included Preston’s Playground, Girls on the Run Delaware, Friends of Newark K-9 Officers, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware, Bellevue Community Center and Communities in Schools of Delaware.

"Part of what makes this course so unique is the hands-on experience that students are able to have thanks to our partnerships,” said Holly Norton, director and lead instructor of the UD certificate program. “This semester, as we anticipate our collaboration with Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids, there are so many great visual storytelling opportunities, and our instructor team is anxious to get started!"

In addition to Norton, who is digital content manager in UD’s Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM), the faculty team also includes program founder Meredith Chapman, director for digital communication at OCM, and Sarah Goldfarb, digital content specialist at OCM. Joining them are Matthieu Plourde, a freelance instructional designer and educational technology consultant, and UD alumna Lisa Ford, director of digital marketing at Capital One.

Added Chapman, “Social media is changing every day, so this certificate program is constantly evolving. Our schedule includes virtual sessions where we bring in top social media talent from across the country, industry leaders like Erik Qualman of Socialnomics and Brian Selandar of Whistle Sports, as well as innovative businesses such as Mayo Clinic, AAA, FedEx and Capital. The mix of case studies with real-time strategy development sets our students apart once they graduate because they have gained not only an education but also built a portfolio to support their hands-on learning.”

The class meets Tuesday evenings from Feb. 14 to May 23 in Newark. Several class meetings are online. Students will complete the certificate program in approximately three months. There are no prerequisites to enroll in the program.

The Social Media Marketing Strategy program is offered through UD’s Division of Professional and Continuing Studies. UD students and UD alumni are eligible for a discount when enrolling. Other discounts include a military/veterans discount, and a group discount when two or more individuals from one business or organization register for the program.

For more information, including a detailed curriculum description, visit the program website, write to continuing-ed@udel.edu or call 302-831-7600.

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