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MKT 380 Introduction to Social Media Marketing: Syllabus

Final Exam

Due Tuesday June 7 at midnight.

Email as a word document (1 team member email and cc rest) to 

Extra Credit!

Extra credit (5 points) will be due Tuesday at 6:00 PM Week 10 via email (

More details will follow but you will be expected to analyze and compare Denny's social media presence to IHOP's. To get started look at the following platforms for each and form an assessment of which business you think is more effective strategically (encourage trial, increase desire, facilitate purchase, brand awareness, customer loyalty) on each.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr

In a 5 page single spaced report using charts and bullet points do the following:

1. Begin your report with an executive summary. Describe to the reader what you did as well as what you learned based upon your analysis. In other words, summarize your analysis and findings in bullet form. You'll have to write this last since it is based upon your findings. 

2. Compare and contrast the two companies' social media use on the 4 platforms above. Show total followers and engagement (shares, comments, sentiment). Finally, who's social currency seems higher based upon your analysis?

3. What strategic objectives is IHOP trying to achieve with each platform? Denny's? Analyse each company's social media use on each platform to discern strategic purpose based upon the ones list above. Are they effectively social in ways that encourage trial, facilitate purchase, raise brand awareness, or deepen customer loyalty? Be specific in your analysis. Do not simply describe their post. Tell me what you think the posts are trying to achieve in terms of business objectives.

4. Based upon the above, which company is more effective at being a social brand. This is not an opinion exercise. Use evidence form the two sections above to determine which has a stronger social media marketing strategic presence. Also, keep in mind that engagement is not a proxy measure of social media marketing strength! Do not tell me one is more effective than the others based upon numbers of followers and comments. In marketing, strategic effectiveness is usually determined by appropriateness of the strategy. 

Some tips: This is not an essay. This is not an exercise in sharing your opinion or how you feel or what you believe. This is a business report that presents evidence in an analytical way and arrives at a conclusion based upon that evidence. Avoid first person statements (I and we) in order to avoid sloppy analysis and defaulting back to belief or opinion. Avoid sweeping generalizations. Avoid over use of qualifying language (excellent, effective, impressive, good etc.) Present the evidence and let the reader decide based upon your evidence.

Email your essay as a word document. Google docs links will not be accepted as completed work. PDFs are not acceptable.

Due week 10 by 6:00 PM. This is a hard deadline. I'd suggest you send it early and if you do not receive a confirmation check in with me. If you wait til the last minute you're creating unnecessary risk and many of you need the 5 points this exercise is worth.


Salazar  C244 Tuesday 6:10-10:00
Professor: Michael Germano
Text: 769-287-1015
Phone:  323-343-3963
Office Location: Library North Room 1018A (Ask for me at reference desk)
Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday 3:00-3:00; Tuesday & Thursday 3:00-6:00 or by appointment

Required Course Materials

  • Tuten, T. & Solomon, M. (2013). Social Media Marketing. Boston, MA: Pearson.
  • Van Dijck, J. (2013). The Culture of Connectivity. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • @profmgermano (Twitter)


Course Description

MKT 380. Prerequisite:  Marketing 304 or consent of instructor  Surveys usage of social media tools and technology for marketing purposes. Studies the relevance and importance of these tools to new and emerging marketing processes. Some Sections may be Technologically Mediated


Course Objectives

Businesses and non-profit organizations of all types and sizes have recognized the value of social media marketing for its power to reach customers in order to meet diverse strategic objectives that range from building brands to developing customer loyalty. The need for professionals who are attuned to the new and emerging processes for engaging the marketing function in digital spaces is creating a demand for savvy social media marketing professionals. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook has predicted 14% average annual job growth for sales, marketing, and advertising professionals overall while suggesting that “…managers who can navigate the digital world should have the best prospects.”[1]

 The dramatic upheaval in the ways businesses as well as non-profits view and engage customers, as represented by social media marketing, demands that students entering the workforce are comfortable with the use of social media for strategic marketing.  There is a strong need for marketing professionals who are attuned to the digital world and the myriad options that interactive social media represents for engaging customers. This course will provide students with the background needed to successfully undertake subsequent courses in the Social Media Marketing Certificate Program at CSULA by providing a foundational knowledge of social media marketing.

 This course is an elective for the Marketing option as well as a required course for the Social Media Marketing certificate.  The Introduction to Social Media Marketing examines the ways in which interactive technologies are changing the rules and processes for customer engagement. The course will survey the landscape of social media tools with an eye towards critically analyzing their role as effective means for delivering and receiving marketing messages and communications. Special emphasis will be placed upon cornerstone digital marketing techniques that feature utilization of technologies that depend upon customer participation. Students will be exposed to case studies and actual examples of successful, as well as less than optimal, marketing efforts that use such tools. The social media tools to be analyzed include Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, 4Square, Tumblr, BlogSpot, and Yelp! The course will introduce students to the above commonly used social media tools in the marketing and business context by critically examining the functionality and technological underpinnings that enhance their utility as marketing devices as well as the risks that might be associated with their use. MKT 380 will challenge students to look at social media in a new and more expansive way by requiring them to examine social media’s potential benefits and limitations, as well as appropriate ethical concerns, when used professionally for the purposes of marketing.


Student Learning Outcomes

Students that successfully complete MKT 380 will achieve the following:

  • Understand the ways in which business and non-profits use social media marketing to engage customers;
  • Understand the foundational vocabulary and terminology of social media marketing and social media analytics as well as the technologies involved in order to effectively communicate tactics, strategies and decisions related to social media marketing;
  • Comprehend the changes to marketing processes in a new economy that features interactive technology that allows for engaging customers in dramatically different ways from the past;
  • Appreciate the strategic implications, including risks and ethical implications, of social media marketing highlighting its “real time” aspect along with the speed and highly reproducible nature of such communication;
  • Critically evaluate a wide variety of commonly used social media and digital marketing tools in order to assess their effectiveness as well as potential risks, limitations and short-comings;
  • Analyze social media’s usefulness for businesses as a vehicle for facilitating customer communication and interactions;
  • Capably analyze new social media sites or tools that develop in the future and apply them to marketing and business needs or objectives related to developing new markets and sources of revenue.


Course Requirements

Students in MKT 380 can earn 100 points total over the course of the quarter. The total points earned will determine the final grade:
























Grades are based upon the following requirements/deliverables:

      • Class (Online and IRL) Contributions/Participation 30%
      • Exams (2) 20%
      • Social Media Marketing Analysis and Critique 20%
      • Social Media Platform Analysis Presentation and Report 10%
      • Social Media Marketing Blog 20%


Brief descriptions of each deliverable are listed below. Consult the course calendar at the end of this syllabus for all due dates and exam dates.

Class Contributions: Attendance and participation in online course components is obligatory since 30 points/30% of your grade is based upon active engagement and participation in discussions and exercises. MKT 380 is highly participatory and interactive. Failure to attend the entire class meeting and failure to adequately complete online course requirements will adversely impact your final grade. It is worth noting that class attendance and being on time is critical to doing well in my courses. Advice and interaction related to deliverables/assignments is often part of the class discussion. Missing this critical information will inevitably impact your grade. No student has ever received a top grade in any of my courses with absences. Tardiness equals an absence. Being late is not acceptable. It is disruptive to students who are on time.

Exams: The class will have two exams that will be a combination of definition and short essay. They are open book and open note but must be completed in the time allotted and all work must be in your own words. Exams will be based upon course readings. Each exam will be approximately two hours and require you to answer essays related to course materials. Each exam (midterm and final) is worth 10 points. 

Social Media Marketing Critique and Analysis: For 20 points/20% of your grade, in a short 5-7 page report (double-spaced, 12 point font, 1 inch margins) students will identify and analyze an organization or brands social media marketing presence. The goal will be to understand the overall use of social media as well as analyzing potential effectiveness vis a via specific marketing objectives. See detailed instructions at the end of the syllabus.

Social Media Marketing Platform Presentation and Report: Working in groups of 3 this 10 point project will require students to summarize and demonstrate the use and potential value of a social media site. Students will be required to look at the site from three analytical perspectives: 1. The site itself (as a business); 2. Consumers/subscribers of the site; 3. Social media marketers’ use of the site. See more detailed instructions at the end of the syllabus.

Social Media Marketing Blog: Worth 20 points students will keep a blog that shares trends, news, ethical considerations and examples of social media marketing that they observe or come into contact with. The goal is to engage in analysis of social media marketing issues and topics that are introduced during class and demonstrate mastery of concepts involved via application and analysis. The blog begins immediately. There is no grace period. You must start your blog the first week of class. Detailed instructions are available at the end of the syllabus.


Course Policies

A student that succeeds in MKT 380 must demonstrate the following traits and characteristics:

  • Owns or borrows a copy of the textbooks and reads them regularly;
  • Observes all university policies related to academic honesty and adheres to them at all times;
  • Shows up on time and prepared for class each week and stays focused for the entire period;
  • Actively engages professor and classmates during discussions and class activities;
  • Adopts disciplined study/work habits that allocate at least 4-6 hours per week on average for outside preparation and completion of requirements;
  • Is fully aware of all due dates, exam dates, course requirements and asks professor (via email or office hours) if they do not;
  • Checks email regularly and communicates with professor in a timely way when needed;
  • Does not make excuses for missed deadlines or failed work and instead offers solutions to the problem of not meeting course requirements;
  • Works effectively with colleagues on three group projects/presentations;
  • Acts like an adult who accepts full responsibility for their choices and actions whether they result in success or failure;
  • Commits fully to their professional success as a student while achieving balance in their personal life so it does not impinge upon that commitment.




Students with Disabilities

The university provides reasonable accommodations to students with documented physical and learning disabilities.  The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD), located in Student Affairs Room 115 coordinates all documentation of disabilities (323-343-3140)



If you have any questions at any point during the quarter please contact the professor via email or during office hours as soon as possible.


Detailed Class Schedule

Class Schedule




Topics Covered


Required Reading


Due Dates & Deadlines



Introduction to course and requirements

·     Syllabus review

·     Course introduction

·     Team selection

·     Paper topic selection




Blog URL


Twitter handle



Web 2.0

Social media sites and monetization

4 Zones of social media introduced

5th P of marketing (participation)

Careers in social media marketing

Tuten & Solomon Chapter 1

Van Dijck Chapter 1




Introduction to strategic social media marketing

·       Overview

·       Planning process introduced

·       Campaigns (tactics and results)

Tuten & Solomon Chapter 2





Social consumers

·       Social media marketing segments

·       Digital consumers

·       Why people do what they do online

·       Diffusion of innovation in a wired world

Tuten & Solomon Chapter 3;


Van Dijck Chapter 3




Digital communities

·     Evolution of online communities

·     Strong and weak ties

·     How ideas travel

Social Influencers

Tuten & Solomon Chapter 4;



Social Media Marketing Critique 

Class Begins at 7:30



4 Zones of social media: Zone 1 Social Community

·     Activities

·     Marketing Applications


Tuten & Solomon Chapter 5;


Van Dijck Chapter 4




4 Zones of social media: Zone 2 Social Publishing

·     Activities

·     Marketing Applications


Tuten & Solomon Chapter 6;


Van Dijck Chapter 7





4 Zones of social media: Zone 3 Social Entertainment

·     Activities

·     Marketing Applications


Tuten & Solomon Chapter 7;


Van Dijck Chapter 6

Social media site presentations and reports



4 Zones of social media: Zone 4 Social Commerce

·     Activities

·     Marketing Applications


Tuten & Solomon Chapter 8

Social media site presentations and reports



Social media measurement and metrics

·     Quantifying success

Data mining and social media

·     The role of social media in marketing research

·     Big data and social media

Social media and privacy/ethics

Tuten & Solomon Chapters 9 & 10;


Van Dijck Chapter 8

Social media site presentations and reports





Final Exam

Class schedule subject o change. Any changes will be communicated during class meetings.

Full Syllabus

Complete course syllabus including instructions for all assignments.

Course Twitter Feed

You will be expected to follow the course/professor's Twitter feed as part of the class (counts towards class participation points). I will post entries on news and issues relevant to social media marketing.


Hint: You can have all of my tweets send directly to your phone as a text message by texting 'follow profmgermano' to 40404 (off profmgermano to stop)

Texts on Reserve

Social Media Marketing Certificate Info

Like social media? Earn a certificate in social media marketing. Open to any majors. Take MKT 380 plus 3 of the new social media marketing courses and you earn the certificate.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300