Recap: Midwest Digital Marketing Conference 2017

I am so proud to be a part of the planning board for the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference (aka #MDMC17).

For #MDMC17, I moderated a panel for Buzzfeed and also was the main point of contact for all of the conference speakers. It was truly a challenge, but I’ve made so many great new connections through the experience.

For a full recap of the conference, including pictures and a few quotes from me, please check out UMSL Daily’s recap article below. Thanks to all the volunteers, speakers and attendees – we can’t wait to see you for #MDMC18.

Bigger, better every year: Midwest Digital Marketing Conference had Union Station buzzing


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Featured Photo Credit to: August Jennewein, UMSL Daily


An Open Letter to My Fall 2016 Social Media Students

Dear Fall 2016 “Intro to Social Media” Student,

Back. To. School. It is officially upon us. I took on the opportunity to teach undergraduate students like you about social media marketing last spring. It has been 100% worth it. Social media is not only a passion of mine, but it’s something that I get to do as part of my daily full-time job. It is easy for someone to talk about a subject, but I think I offer you a unique value proposition that I live and breathe what we’ll be talking about in this course everyday.

Last semester as a novice collegiate-level instructor, I think I learned as much as my first-ever students, but one thing that I learned for sure is that UMSL undergrads like you work REALLY hard. Many of you have full-time jobs, families, or internships that you are doing in tandem with a full-time student schedule. You are crazy busy people, but you don’t use any of the above commitments as excuses for low-quality or late work.

Given the schedule I know you keep, you can expect my utmost respect for your calendar as I know you will respect mine. You can expect me to be clear about assignments, due dates and class agendas. You can also hold me to replying to all your emails in 24 hours or less, as I know you don’t have the time to wait for answers when you are working in the creative environment of social media.

Now to the “fun” part. What are we doing in this class? We’ll have “syllabus day” of course, but here’s a preview of what we’ll be focusing our time on.

#1: You will be developing social media posts, graphics and videos. No, this is not a graphic design or video production course. Where do brands like Panera, Purina, Enterprise get their social posts? A social media manager (a.k.a. the future “you”) actually writes them, or works with someone more skilled while ensuring they are following the business’ social strategy. You’ll learn all about content planning, the FREE tools to make you look like you might be a graphic designer or video producer and the platforms like Hootsuite for scheduling your posts a month in advance to make you look like superman(woman) to your future boss.

#2: You are going to write blogs. No, this is not an English or Writing course. I’m not sure how anyone today can go into social media or marketing in general without honed writing and editing skills. Clarification: we are not writing books, or researching papers. I’ll be asking you to start practicing putting your thoughts on paper for the social media world to see on the UMSL Digital Mindshare WordPress blog: You’ll be famous, and we’ll make sure you look good doing it.

#3: You are going to support a REAL client’s social media efforts. No, you will not be paid. Being able to run your personal social media pages is great, but no marketing hiring manager really cares if you can take the best picture of your dog or chipotle burrito. You NEED as much experience as you can possibly get working with a real business and using their social media channels to build their brand, drive traffic to their website or generate sales. You’ll learn what it takes to develop quality content for a brand with established business goals, and how you can show the brand’s leadership that your social efforts were successful and strategic via social media analytics.

In closing, I am very proud to say that you will all leave this course with a professional online portfolio that will make you stand out from the other 3,000 marketing majors applying for the same 4 entry-level marketing jobs in December or May. We’ll work hard, but I promise you that what you’ll be working on will be useful to you far beyond this course and into your career. And, it might even be a little bit “fun.”

See you all soon,

Sarah Dalton

PS – I’m an adjunct. I have an MBA, not a PhD. Feel free to call me Sarah, Ms. Dalton, Professor… whichever you are comfortable with.

Guest Blog: Tips for Students with a Passion for Social Media

By: Amy Cabanas, Matteo Fialdini, Kathrin Hanke, Andrew McClure and Jacqueline Williams
Sarah Dalton works as both a Marketing professor at UMSL, where she graduated with her MBA in digital marketing, as well as in the marketing field. She describes herself as organized and creative, and is an active user across social media platforms, as well as, a blogger on her personal blog

When Sarah found out about the opening for a social media professor, she took the opportunity to spread her passion about social media to UMSL students. Sarah is excited to be contributing to the UMSL Digital Marketing Conference which will be held on April 21, 2016. We caught up with Sarah to ask her about her career, her love for social media, and her thoughts on St. Louis’ growing digital marketing scene.

Check out the interview below!

1. Do you feel UMSL’s digital marketing MBA program helped in preparation for your current job and teaching?
I don’t think I would be anywhere without my Digital Marketing Certificate. Those classes really took me to another level. When I went to school we didn’t have those classes in undergrad. So, they really rounded out my marketing education and taught me things like blogging, digital marketing, digital strategies, measurement of digital media and of course more social media. Without those subjects I don’t think I would be where I am today.

2. Where do you see St. Louis going in the digital marketing scene, and how does UMSL fit into that?
We are in the Midwest so we might not always be in all the trends like they are on the east and west coast, but I think we are definitely getting much closer. With all the great people around, it’s so easy to collaborate on ideas and with local agencies. I see the digital scene getting stronger and stronger in St. Louis, and UMSL could not be doing any better. You don’t see these kinds of classes at other schools. As UMSL continues to grow these programs and add classes, the UMSL digital marketing students will continue to be a step ahead!

3. You have your own blog, Do you think having a personal blog is essential for social and digital marketers?
Yes, I think a blog is a great way to spread the word about what you think about social. Even if you don’t necessarily know what to say, you could talk about things you see other people do, provide recaps, or blog about guest speakers. It’s a great place to showcase your writing style and what you care about in social media. If you are too afraid to start a blog or don’t think you have the time to maintain it, you can always publish on LinkedIn Pulse.

Sarah also shared some other interesting thoughts and advice with us marketing students. “Having your own blog really shows companies that you know how to build a WordPress site, that you understand content, and that you have written a few blogs. It’s just a really easy way to showcase yourself,” Sarah said.

Sarah also often references her own marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – “Gary started from the bottom and built up his social media enterprise into what it is today,” said Sarah.

Lastly, Sarah highly recommends marketing students get involved with the AMA St. Louis-The American Marketing Association, and attend the UMSL Digital Marketing conference on April 21, 2016. “MDMC16 will be a full day event of all things digital marketing. People come in from all over the country to speak to us. It’s a better value than any other conference I can think of,” she said. “And it is FREE for UMSL students (but unfortunately now sold out)!”

Follow Sarah on Twitter: Sdaltonstl