DIRECTING TRAFFIC: Jeni Pardo de Zela, right, marketing director at Lila Delman Real Estate, looks at website analytics with Marina Hare, a Salve Regina graduate working on social media marketing at the company. Pardo de Zela credits Hare’s work on Facebook for an increase in website traffic.
For Marina Hare, social media networking is all about raising her employer’s profile – a skill the 20-year-old is perfecting in her job as digital marketing coordinator for a real estate agency in Newport.
Her unpaid internship in social media at Newport Life Magazine led to a part-time and then full-time position this spring at Lila Delman Real Estate. That and the course “Issues in New Media” taught by Donna Harrington-Lueker at Salve Regina University in Hare’s junior year that sparked her interest in pursuing a career in social media.
According to Jeni Pardo de Zela, Lila Delman’s marketing director and Hare’s boss, metrics show Hare’s engagement on Facebook is paying dividends.
“Since Marina took the job [in June], year over year, my Facebook leads increase is 500 percent,” Pardo de Zela said. “The way she’s handling our posts has been fantastic. She’s really captured the voice of Lila Delman, which is probably the hardest thing to do.”
Coursework in social media has been in place at many colleges and universities in the region for the past several years, including Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Salve Regina and the University of Rhode Island, as well as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Wheaton College.
While most schools are continually developing a still-limited array of programming, and classes remain small (up to 20 students or so), Providence College is launching a not-for-credit, six-week certificate in social media on Sept. 6 and URI expects to launch a for-credit certificate in 2015.
Janet Castleman, dean of Providence College’s School of Continuing Education, said she and Sylvia Maxfield, dean of the college’s School of Business, saw the need to expand college offerings with an intensive, less expensive course (cost: $500) that would focus not only on social media networking but also digital marketing strategy.
“One can’t function in business nowadays without having some level of understanding of social media, social media marketing and keeping up with competitors,” said Castleman. “It’s really how business is done today.”