aurie Taniguchi noticed that digital technologies were becoming an increasingly important part of her work as the Communication and Volunteer Coordinator of the St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club. She took a few continuing education courses in website design and copy editing before starting courses in George Brown College’s Social Media Marketing Certificate. The certificate program develops students’ skills by designing and implementing successful social media campaigns in six courses offered in-class or via online learning.

“Before taking these courses, I was wasting time on apps by not using them very effectively,” Taniguchi says, who admits that she previously found herself falling into a social media vortex — needing a better way to manage her time and increase her effectiveness. “Now I have a better understanding of how to use apps like Hootsuite to schedule my posts.”

Putting social media skills to use

“Online learning made it easy for me to work around my own schedule while still being just as effective and personal as an in-class program.”

Taniguchi completed social media marketing courses on campus during her evenings, citing Facebook and Twitter courses as the most practical and enjoyable. She explains how she put her newly acquired skills to use in solving a problem at work: “I thought it was a long shot, but I sent a tweet asking if anyone knew an architect that may be able to help us out with blueprints for a renovation. Within an hour, an architecture firm that had no previous connection to the Club phoned and asked us if they could donate their services to the project.”

Flexibility in online learning

Unlike Taniguchi, TD Bank Strategic Communications & Creative Solutions Manager Kristen Coutts completed the Social Media Marketing Certificate online. “My days don’t often go from 9–5,” says Coutts, who also balances commitments like volunteering, marathon training, and time with loved ones. “Online learning made it easy for me to work around my own schedule while still being just as effective and personal as an in-class program.”

After completing some of her initial courses, Coutts organized an internal viral campaign with TD Bank. “In order to create buzz and gain momentum around a new community page, I launched a contest using the principles I learned in my intro, Facebook, SEO, and Twitter courses,” Coutts explains. She created quality content, paired it with an enticing prize, and used a variety of tactics — like great design and catchy copy while implementing SEO principles — in order to spread the word. “The campaign was a tremendous success,” Coutts says. “Nothing like it was ever done before in the business I support."