Each semester in my upper level SEO/SEM class, I pick a local business for my students to do a ‘case study’ on the company’s digital presence, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, their website. The owners come to the class at the beginning of the semester and discusses their background, passion, why they have the business and how it came to be. They discuss how the business works, customer target audience and demographics, strengths as they see them and any opportunities they may be aware of. And also the competition as they see it. This semester's selected company was Mudpie Texas,a retailer located in Highland Village, TX that sells apparel and accessories for babies, toddlers & women along with home decor items.
The students’ role is to listen to the owners like a consultant. This semester, they were organized on 16 teams. Their focus was to learn and understand the business, and in particular, come up with techniques that a small business owner can utilize, using what we're learning over the course of the semester. They use what can be found digitally, such as website, facebook, Instagram and Yelp. Their output was a paper and a PowerPoint they are graded on.
I then selected the 4 best, and the owners come back to class for the presentations. Both students and the company owners find the process rewarding and a great learning experience.