Updated on January 8, 2017
Eager to get started on using social media to promote your personal brand or your employer? Trying to decide how to best beef up your resume? Aside from volunteering and reaching out to small business owners and nonprofits for real-life application, let me tell you a bit about this social media marketing course and certification that can support your professional goals.
If you’ve heard or read anything about inbound marketing, you know it starts with attracting potential customers for the top of your marketing funnel. You attract your target audience with content that answers their burning questions — when they don’t even necessarily know yet what their exact pain point is or what solution they might be looking for.
An excellent example of content marketing is how brilliantly the Hootsuite Academy with its blog and online courses establishes itself as a thought leader, answering questions on social media marketing, and providing an education. You don’t feel you’re being “sold to” – but you are! With every blog post and video that answers your burning social media questions, Hootsuite rightfully gains your trust and builds a relationship with you.
Sharpening the Saw
You know, that ol’ 7th habit of highly effective people. A few years ago, I let my job take over my days and nights and I wish I’d found the time to pursue as much continuing education as I’d like to. Let history not repeat itself!
A fellow digital project manager I met during the Freelancing 101 workshop at Brainstation also suggested to work on certifications – and I’d agree that really wouldn’t have much of a downside.
Social Media Marketing Certification Benefits
- Industry-recognized certification – Hootsuite has a strong brand in the social media marketing space
- A permanent online certificate
- Listing in the Hootsuite Certified Professionals Directory
What I value most out of this is that 3rd party validation that I do know my stuff, that I can show to clients and employers. It’s not just me saying I know what I’m doing. A lot of my work is confidential so work samples aren’t as straightforward. So it’s great to have credentials and certifications that strengthen a personal brand like the badges that say “As seen in Good Morning America” or “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”.
Who should take the Social Marketing Certification?
- Self-taught digital marketing professionals who would like to show 3rd party credentials
- Marketing communications and public relations professionals who wish to bridge their traditional education with social media marketing
- Small business owners who want to own, grow and manage their digital presence
- Any go-getter individual who wants to establish and grow her personal brand
What does it cover?
- Introduction to Social Media Marketing
- Optimizing your Social Media Profiles
- Social Media Strategy – from A to Z
- Growing Your Online Community
- Content Marketing Fundamentals
- Social Advertising Fundamentals
How long does it take?
I started out watching the videos and religiously taking notes and treating it as a class. I thought I would support my practical knowledge with theory. It was a good way to start, and if you haven’t done any social media advertising or managed any Facebook pages, the material is definitely worth the time you’ll put into it. After a couple of modules, I decided I’ve been doing all this stuff anyway I know this, just do the exam already, and I got a coupon to take the exam at a discount, so I did! I passed the first time and got a 95%.
There are Learning Guides, videos, and additional resources. Especially when you’re starting out, it’s a good idea to do the exercises in the Learning Guides. The Hootsuite Education Team did a great job of distilling what exercises and thought-starters will help you, your personal brand, your business.
As of Jan 2017, Hootsuite Academy offers the following certifications:
- Hootsuite Platform Certification USD 99; Course Material is free
- Social Marketing Certification USD 199; Course Material is free
- Social Selling Certification USD 299; Course Material included in Certification fee
- Advanced Social Strategy Training & Certification with S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University USD 2200 or USD 194/mo
- Social for Health Care Training & Certification with Mayo Clinic USD 400
Like Hootsuite on Facebook and you may just be able to see an ad for a limited-time offer for a Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification discount. I saw the ad December 2016 and January 2017.
So should you take the Social Marketing Certification?
I’m glad I took the Social Marketing Certification and I can show off this badge! It was a good exercise to just get myself refreshed and have access to some structure in this wide wild world of social media.
What happens next?
Celebrate! Add the Certification on my Profile, LinkedIn, and resume. I’m glad I crossed that off my list, and possibly add Social Selling Certification to my task list for later in the year… There are a number of other professional organizations and certifications I’m considering still.
Any other professional certification or continuing education you would recommend?