I had the chance to be able to go to the HubSpot main office in Boston this past week to meet up with a great professional there, Isaac Moche. We had a chance to meet finally in person as well as bounce around some ideas for what they are trying to do with HubSpot Academy and their education programs.

I got to see firsthand what they are doing in their offices and I had a chance to see their amazing coffee room (amazing!). Plus, it was fun to see their Teacher’s Lounge podcast go live officially while at the office with my episode. Very excited to have had this opportunity to share my story and insights about teaching social media. Thanks again, Isaac!

What inspired me to write this post was based on a comment a colleague sent to me privately via Twitter. They talked about their new role and how they were asked to teach social media this summer and fall semesters (yay!) – but they were not aware of these partnerships and asked how I have gone about in creating these partnerships with these companies and brands.

How do you form these connections? There are a few things you may want to keep in mind.

You got to be a content creator. Opportunities do not come in naturally, you have to work on getting exposure for your work. This means writing blog posts, participating in interviews on podcasts (like the one I did for Hubspot) and live video sessions, share your stories on certain platforms (ex. IG, Snapchat, FB, blogs, etc) and many more. This takes time and energy, and you may not be able to see the full results immediately. However, if you are dedicated in making a difference and are consistent in providing valuable content to your community, the word will get out pretty quickly.

You have to network. Social media is first and foremost, social. We have to reach out to brands and fellow professionals in the platform in which they are active on. Whether it is Twitter, LinkedIn, or even IG or Snapchat, you have to be present and active on the platforms of people you want to connect with and network with. This is how I connected with brands like Hubspot and Hootsuite over the years. These professionals have been really amazing to work with over the years!

Keep in mind, don’t go for the hard sell at first. Foster the relationships so it is a win-win for both parties. What can you offer the brands and organizations that no one else can? What can they do to help you without breaking the bank? These small interactions and connections foster into partnerships over time.

Because of social media and these networking opportunities, I have gotten so many opportunities over the years. This has been so instrumental to the research and teaching practices I have been doing over the years. The possibilities are endless, which is pretty exciting.

You have to give away your ideas. Okay, this is a scary concept, I know especially for fellow professionals and educators. This does not mean you give away your brain (we need that, right?!).  However, this means providing your content for others to take advantage of and learn from you. This was one reason I wanted to write my book on Amazon. Did I give away a lot of my ideas for teaching social media with my assignments and rubrics? Yes. Did I make a difference for fellow professors and young students who read and used my book? I hope so! I noticed there really wasn’t a product or book out there to tell you HOW to teach social media – and I felt this would have been a book I wish I had when I was starting out.

You have to be aware of who is consuming your content. This helps with the point raised above. You never know who will be consuming and using your content as examples. This was something I learned about when talking with Isaac. I had heard there were fellow professors in their network who were sharing my articles and posts before they even approached me. I was amazed and this was a lesson for me to learn just recently. You got to be aware of not only who is consuming your content, but are sharing it with their own community.

You have to pay it forward by helping connect others with brands. Connections and content consumption only go far to a certain point. In order for all of us to be able to make a difference in the field, we have to help others. With the colleague I had contact me via Twitter, I spent some time talking about these different points and share some tips I have learned along the way. If you have the chance to virtually introduce fellow friends and colleagues (in this case for me, social media professors) with others, that’s great! I love connecting people virtually and once they have the confidence moving forward, it’s always great to see this take place and have them make their own connections. We are all in the same page – trying to make meaningful connections that foster strong relationships that create a positive community.

In summary, there are a lot of things to keep in mind when formulating these partnerships and through social media. Speaking from experience, the opportunities are truly endless, but it all comes down to the amount of work, time, and dedication you have.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,