Coffee Tree Books: Social Media Class

Coffee Tree Books in Morehead, Ky., is located at the edge of the Morehead State University campus, so they’re often tuned in to the collegiate calendar and student comings and goings. But this year, they are particularly aware of the semester’s end and final grades–not because they are receiving them, but instead because they are giving them. You see, Coffee Tree Books is serving as a “client” for a social media class.

“I turned it over to [the students],” says Susan Thomas, owner of Coffee Tree Books. “It was very difficult to turn over all of the social media, because it’s hard for employees to not do it.”

Susan says that not only was the process a learning experience for the class, it was a learning experience for the store.

“They had to do 5 forms of social media,” she says. “So in addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, I now have Pinterest and YouTube accounts.

The class had specific curriculum expectations: They had to create a contest on social media, and they also were required to create a logo, which resulted in Duck After Dark, an evening concert series held in the store’s Fuzzy Duck Coffee Shop.

“They had to meet with me every week,” Susan explained, “and they had to post something every day.”

Susan says they were a great class, but she thinks they found that working in a group is difficult.

“There were four of them,” she says. “One needs to be the leader. One needs to be the client liaison. They discovered that they needed to plan.”

I was particularly impressed with the videos created by the student group. One promoted books new to the store that week, and the other promoted an adult spelling bee. Susan liked the ideas so much, she plans to create more videos for the store and will share the results with us later.

Now that the semester is over, the big question is: Would she serve as client again?

“I’ll have them do it again next year,” she says. “We’ll have a different starting point.”

Although Susan says she has always shied away from having personal social media accounts, she discovered that social media is about making yourself special.

“We’ll see how it converts into love, and dollars,” she says. “It’s all the same when you’re a bookseller.”

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay