If you’re serious about a career in social media and digital marketing it’s essential to get quality training you won’t find get from your 9-5. Social networks and all digital platforms are continuously updating and we need to how to use them, how others are interacting with them, and of course in the local context*.
Now that they’ve become big business, and have a financial incentive to do so, most social networks offer certified courses available online on a free, freemium or premium basis. Some like Google, Hootsuite and Hubspot have been doing this for a while, but now they’re joined by Facebook (inclusive of Instagram) and Twitter.
As a trainer myself I’ve become a bit of a junkie for courses. Fortunately, some of the courses are quite short or cover a broad area – for those who don’t want to go too deep, too detailed; or at least not yet. Regardless, you’ve got a lot of choice.
Here you go…
Blueprint is their learning programme which covers Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram; but not yet WhatsApp. Given how widely used these platforms are in Jamaica it would make sense to start here. It’s free, but you pay a US$100 fee to take the exams to certify you for either: Planning or Buying. Both certifications also require you to take the Core exam – which many people may choose to stick with, just that won’t give you a certificate.
In this game for the longest; offering free certification for Analytics and ADS; and now also mobile sites and digital sales. Educators can also get certified for nominal fees. Google Squared, their digital leadership course is most definitely premium in cost and unlike the other courses in that it includes live classes, group work and lasts five months. I would recommend it to those whose employers are prepared to pay; or if self-employed like I am: paid myself, which was motivation enough to get it done!
Hootsuite Academy has courses certifying you to use their platform and social networking in general (both free). They also do an Advanced Social Media Strategy certificate with SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Checking as I write this I realise that Hubspot Academy now offers a total of 12 courses about their own platform, but also on topics ranging from design to sales. Inbound Certification is a solid foundation course to help make you an all-rounder from content to social to email.
Fitting the brevity of Twitter, Flight School has two learning paths – marketing leadership or executive leadership (for ‘building your personal brand’) – and you can finish the whole thing inside an afternoon.
Study tip: If you don’t get granted study leave or learning time from your employer, suggest timetabling yourself 30 minutes or an hour daily to make it part of your routine. That worked well for me but otherwise, due to my workload, some remain half-finished. Setting yourself target completion dates and scheduling the exams might also help you focus.
*A drawback is that these courses don’t include content or case studies from Jamaica and developing markets. However! (shameless plug) I incorporate local case studies and behaviours in the workshops I do. But if you really want to get closer to the ground, go and ask a high schooler – I’m fortunate to work with youth and the exchange is definitely mutual.