Traditional and Social Media Coincide

Today’s college students are digital natives, but what happens when you extend their social media output to a business standpoint and combine it with traditional media? I am summarizing an academic study by Melton and Hicks for my J452 class called “Integrating Social and Traditional Media in the Client Project.”  




This study hypothesized that integrating both social media and traditional media in a student-based client project would expand students’ understanding of social media from a business standpoint and teach them communication aspects in business.




  • Two undergraduate business classes were assigned to work on different aspects of a business project as a convenience sample. The exact number of students is not disclosed.


  • Students were chosen to use social and traditional media for a client’s upcoming charity concert to give them real business experience. The classes were given a $300 budget, whereas the client usually spent much more on traditional media.


  • A lower-level business class was chosen to work specifically on the social media aspect of the project, and an upper-level business communication class was chosen to work on traditional promotional strategies.


  • The student outcomes were measured by a survey of the participating classes.            



Both the students and the client benefited from this social and traditional media collaboration.

The students gained skills and experience in

  • Researching and analyzing surveys.
  • Budgeting for promotions and advertising.
  • Implementing a business strategy.
  • Networking with charities and businesses.
  • Training to work with clients.
  • Aesthetic and technical skills in building websites and making videos.
  • Corresponding professionally to management companies.

The client benefited by

  • Increased sales: the concert hit their record profit for the past five years.
  • More exposure: they now have many active social media outlets and followers.
  • Money saved: the client spent $300 on marketing, which is $1,000 less than previous years.


The study was limited by time. Since the opportunity came up mid-semester, there was not ample time for all of the students’ social and traditional media strategies to be implemented. There was also not enough time to build as strong of a Twitter or Facebook following as they had hoped.



This study demonstrated the researchers’ hypothesis that social and traditional media collaboration will expand students’ understanding and skills in both media forms.




Melton, J., & Hicks, N. (2011). Integrating social and traditional media in the client project. Business Communication Quarterly, 74(4), 494-504. doi:10.1177/1080569911423959