Laurie Taniguchi Email to a Friend Enhancing Experience Laurie Taniguchi, Social Media Marketing Certificate* Graduate *formerly Social Media Certificate Social media courses give non-profit professional the tools to take her organization’s message to the next level As communication and volunteer co-ordinator at St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club, Laurie Taniguchi is responsible for the website, for creating printed promotional materials and for managing social media channels. A few years ago, she realized that she needed to find a way to make St. Alban’s social media presence more professional and effective in order to better engage the Club’s communities online. She felt that the best way to do that was to improve her skills in and knowledge of social media, so she turned to George Brown.I’d taken a number of Continuing Education courses at George Brown before. When I was trying to figure out if any schools were offering a social media program, George Brown was the first place I looked, recalls Laurie. I think that George Brown’s a school that’s recognized and respected by employers. I’d had great experiences there in the past, with great instructors.Laurie started taking courses toward the Social Media Marketing Certificate in the fall of 2011. The project-based courses taught her how to better develop and implement social media campaigns using key online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. She also developed an understanding of the tools and methods that would allow her to monitor her social media campaigns and analyze the results.It was a great way to get a better understanding of social media marketing as part of a wider communications strategy, she remembers.Best of all, Laurie was able to develop her new skills on a part-time basis while continuing to work and volunteer. And the central location in downtown Toronto made it easy for her to get to her classes after work. For Laurie, Continuing Education at George Brown meant flexibility.I’d taken a number of Continuing Education courses at George Brown before. When I was trying to figure out if any schools were offering a social media program, George Brown was the first place I looked. I think that George Brown’s a school that’s recognized and respected by employers. I’d had great experiences there in the past, with great instructors.The great thing is, if you’re not interested in taking the whole certificate, you can just take the courses you are interested in, she says. I would recommend the courses to anyone who wants to learn more about social media. I had an excellent experience.Social media is an ever-changing field, but Laurie found that the industry-savvy George Brown teachers played a key role in ensuring that the course curriculum was always relevant and up-to-date.My teachers were all fantastic, Laurie recalls. They all had a great deal of experience working in the field in a mix of non-profit and corporate environments. They were all very in touch with new developments in technology and tools. In fact, sometimes the class content had to change even during the course itself because the platforms we were talking about changed. The instructors had to be up on the latest news and flexible enough to change their lesson plans if needed.The skills and knowledge Laurie acquired with the certificate have made a big difference to not only the impact St. Alban’s is able to have through social media marketing but also the impact Laurie is able to have as a professional.Many community managers in non-profit organizations, like me, only have a limited amount of time to devote to their social media efforts, Laurie explains. It’s but one aspect of a very busy job, and we’re all juggling lots of balls on any given day. The tools and skills I learned about in the courses helped me manage our online communities more efficiently so that I could maximize my effectiveness, time and results.