How-to Guide

3 Social Media Certifications That Will Elevate Your Digital Marketing Skills

In a constantly changing field like social media marketing, you HAVE to have a life-long learning mindset.
– Arik Hanson, ACH Communications, Inc.

Did you earn your degree in the days when a pin was used for a bulletin board on your dorm room wall, a snap was something you did with your fingers, and a gram was the woman who sent you care packages? If so, it may be time to elevate your digital marketing skills with a social media certification.

Even if you’re a recent graduate with a degree in digital marketing, your knowledge and skills are likely already out of date. The challenge to keep up with the fluidity of social media channels, tools, and trends is only getting more difficult.1 Arik Hanson said it best: “In a constantly changing field like social media marketing, you HAVE to have a lifelong learning mindset.”2

Are Social Media Certificate Programs Worth the Investment?

Experts disagree on the usefulness of social media certifications, especially ones with a high price tag. While a social media certification may not be necessary to landing your dream job, some hiring managers may see it as a bonus, plus it can give you a leg up with clients.3,4 However, before you enroll in one of the three types of programs described below, or in any certification program, it’s important to vet the course by asking the following questions:

  • Can I sample an online class to make sure the format suits my learning style?5
  • What are the dates of the case studies used in the course? In the rapidly changing world of digital marketing, it doesn’t take long for a social media strategy to be out of date.
  • Does the course material teach general best practices or is it tied to one proprietary marketing tool or platform?

1. University-Affiliated Certifications

If the idea of class discussions and student interaction appeal to you, university-affiliated programs may be the best option to boost your skills. Several colleges and universities, like Rutgers, Georgetown University, Pepperdine University, and UCLA, to name a few, offer social media certifications with online classes.
Cost: Prices range from $1,999 to $6,575.

2. Platform-Specific Certifications

If you’re looking to set yourself apart with the only official social media certifications for Facebook and Twitter, both offer programs for advertisers:

  • Facebook Blueprint offers two certifications—one for buying and one for planning. Prepare for the test through a series of free, self-paced online courses and webinars. Once you feel comfortable with the material, prove your knowledge by completing a supervised Blueprint exam.
    Cost: Facebook Blueprint Certification exams cost up to $150 per exam.
  • Twitter Flight School offers a free online education program available to advertisers around the world. The interactive curriculum “is packed with exclusive consumer insights and research, in-depth product tutorials, and fresh case studies.” When marketers graduate from an interactive “flight path,” their expertise is recognized with a printable certificate and an official badge to display in their email signatures or on their LinkedIn profiles.6
    Cost: Free, just sign in with your Twitter account.

If your time is limited and you can only pick one skill to improve in 2018, choose #storytelling.

3. Specialty Certifications

From search engine optimization to social media monitoring, there are hundreds of certifications designed to make you a better social media marketer by teaching a specific job-related skill. If your time is limited and you can only pick one skill to improve, choose storytelling. Content marketing through storytelling is one of the six biggest opportunities for brands to drive deeper engagement and improve brand affinity. The School of The New York Times offers a Certificate in Content Marketing taught by T Brand Studio’s leadership team, who will teach you to become a master in content marketing with courses around story mining and how to tell stories with video.
Cost: $1,450

Looking for free tips to build your social expertise? Check out the Lithium resource library for how-to guides, webcasts and case studies on social media management, analytics, customer service and much more.

1 LinkedIn - "Are social media certification programs a worthwhile investment?"

2 LinkedIn - "Are social media certification programs a worthwhile investment?"

3 Sitepoint - "Social Media Certifications: Useful or Useless?"

4 LinkedIn - "Are social media certification programs a worthwhile investment?"

5 U.S. News - "Boost Social Media Skills With Online Courses"

6 Twitter - "#TwitterFlightSchool is now open to all marketers"

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