RU Marketing Class Helps Author Make Best-seller List

cover of Kathryn Jordan's book

A social media campaign created by 10 teams of RU College of Business and Economics (COBE) students helped make a local author a three-time Amazon best-seller.

Forty students in Assistant Professor Gary Schirr's MKTG 471: Social Media Marketing class promoted "Voices: Words from Wise Women," Kathryn Jordan's motivation and self-help book, using social media tools and techniques. On April 24, the book scored a top 100 sales ratings in Amazon's categories of job hunting and career guides (14th place), leadership books (43rd place) and self-help success (45) to earn best-seller designation.

Various student teams promoted the book on different platforms including Twitter and Pinterest, where they "pinned" a picture of the cover. The class produced and uploaded video endorsements and tips from Jordan to the book's website and its "StumbleUpon" discovery site. Teams also created and posted online advertisements on the student-run Radio Free Radford site, which led to 1,700 hits on the Voices Web page, and on Facebook and Google preceding the book's launch date.

"The class helped demystify social media. They made it seem possible to do and continue to do on my own," said Jordan, a certified career counselor and former career-services director in higher education.

Jordan contacted Schirr for social media guidance, and he recognized an opportunity for a project with achievable goals for the university's first class combining new media and marketing. Schirr introduced the course this spring to give students an opportunity to study the dynamic world of new media and to prepare to apply it in a marketing context.

"Businesses are increasingly investing money in social media marketing at the expense of their traditional media spending," said Schirr, who developed the course with a COBE seed grant. "Days like this make teaching fun."