Teach Business Today #7

Social media, retail giants, and identifying your audience

Hi there!

It has been a bit of time since we connected last.

I decided to give myself a technology break last week. I finished my school year on June 30 and went straight into Canada Day and a few days away from the city.

It isn’t until after the first week of our time off in summer that I realize how mentally exhausted I am. I love every minute I spend with my students and fail to recognize the impact it has until there’s some time away.

However, I feel recharged and ready to start preparing for the upcoming school year in whatever method we use.

Let’s get into it.


This Week’s Business Education Ideas

1. Potential U.S. TikTok Ban

My students put so much time and effort into TikTok over the past few months. I imagine that is the same in many schools across North America.

I believe a TikTok ban will irritate its userbase, but alternatives have already appeared.

Discussion Points:

  • What impact will a TikTok ban have on the teenage userbase?

  • Do you see value in TikTok, or can it be removed without any major repercussions?

  • How can TikTok be used effectively in education?

  • Why is TikTok used instead of other video platforms like Youtube or IGTV?

Assignment Idea:

Students can create an educational set of TikTok’s around a passion or interest area. The TikTok’s can be instructional or informational.

Students can then combine then to create a longer-form video for Youtube or IGTV.

To expand on this idea, have students do an analysis of the analytical information from all platforms they share their content. This will give them an understanding of their userbase, which videos connect with their audience, and the ability to go viral.


2. Identify Your Ideal Audience

Target market is an outcome in a variety of my business courses, but it only scratches the surface.

Students know the different segmentation methods but must learn how to use that to leverage their content towards their ideal audience.

Josh Spector structures it in a way that allows students to take the basic information to the next level and start leveraging them for growth.

Discussion Points:

  • Is it more important to create something or identify your target market first?

  • How specific should a target audience be?

  • Is a very small but specific audience or a generalized audience more effective for sales? (Some talking points can involve competition or your niche being so focused down that many don’t see value in it)

Assignment Idea:

Have students work through the five steps.

Once they’ve developed their ideal audience, have them create something that fits into that audience. It can be written, auditory, visual, or any other method they want to tackle.

I’ve had students do this exercise and received a variety of blogs, vlogs, tutorial videos, podcasts, and songs.

If students can accurately connect their ideal audience to their product, they’ve developed understanding.

An extension could be trying to market their idea to their audience through social media channels. I try to encourage my students to take this route to gain practical knowledge of digital marketing and content creation.

Related: Target market profile on the teacher icebreaker activity


3. Walmart+

Retail wars are fun to watch.

Walmart is going for the big fish with their new subscription platform that will directly compete with Amazon Prime.

I believe this can cause a disruption in the e-commerce industry just like other subscription platforms, such as Substack, has on the newsletter industry.

Discussion Points:

  • Do you believe Walmart can compete with Amazon with this subscription service?

  • Which departments should Walmart put more focus on to be able to sway users to their service versus Amazon Prime?

  • Do you believe this will be a bigger draw for people who don’t live near Amazon distribution centres but do live near a Walmart Supercentre? Why or why not?

  • How can Amazon respond to this with its Prime offering?

Assignment Idea:

Students can develop a subscription service for offerings in the community or school. Some ideas my students have developed include:

  • In-class delivery of cafeteria or school store items

  • Fast food delivery for other students

  • Lawncare/snow clearing on a monthly fee schedule

Don’t just end it there. Have students come up with pricing, target market, competitor analysis, and marketing methods.

Some may decide to launch these as side hustles.

Related: Profitable High School Student Side Hustles


4. Tesla is Now King of the Hill

I feel it was less of an if but more of a when Tesla becomes the world’s most valuable car company with how quickly they’re growing.

I just didn’t think it would be this fast.

It’ll be interesting to see how other car manufacturers try to compete and if Tesla will look to provide different options for those who want an electric car but can’t afford the current models.

Discussion Points:

  • What factors caused Tesla to reach this feat in the timeline it did?

  • What ways can other car manufacturers, like Toyota, try to gain back the top spot? How do you think Tesla will respond to those new ideas?

  • What impacts will more electric cars on the road have?

Assignment Idea:

Have students develop arguments both for and against Tesla. This can lead to some interesting class discussions and debates which promote peer learning and puts control of the classroom into their hands.

If you believe a debate wouldn’t work, students can share their arguments through a variety of other means.

I like to challenge them to take on something out of their comfort zones, such as a Youtube video or podcast.


5. Building a Social Media Community

Matthew Kobach is one of my favourite follows on Twitter. He consistently produces actionable content that can be applied to your own social media efforts.

I’ve used strategies he’s shared through Twitter and his workshop with David Perell with my own Twitter account and I’ve seen a difference in my reach and growth.

What’s even better is my ability to connect with like-minded educators across the globe.

Discussion Points:

  • Is high school too early to begin building an online community?

  • Do you believe others would listen to advice or ideas from a high school student? Why or why not?

  • What advantages/disadvantages happen both short-term and long-term by having an online community?

  • David Perell often states that his Twitter account is more valuable than his University degree. Why do you believe that is?

Assignment Idea:

Have students create an outline of how they’d approach building a social media community. This can include:

  • A content calendar for a time period (I usually use 30 days)

  • Their specific target market

  • How they’ll approach their biography and profile page

  • A list of people they can learn from (and hopefully interact with)

  • What areas of focus they’ll take on (specific interest areas)

I like to have students create an outline instead of doing it because not every student is ready to try to build an online community at that age.

However, an outline will give them an idea of where to start if/when they decide they’re ready.

Related: My approach to gaining more Twitter followers


An Educational Recommendation

Ana Lorena Fabrega and David Perell recently discussed the difference between online learning and remote learning.

It was a super interesting discussion that helped me start plotting my next steps as an educator. If we end up going back to remote learning this school year, I will apply a lot of the strategies they outlined to better the experience for my students.

You can check out the discussion here. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.


Final Words

I plan to be back in your inboxes on a weekly basis from now on. I know some of you are returning to your classrooms in a few weeks, and I want to make sure you have a good amount of resources to get started with.

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer so far.

Take care. Until next week,

Sean