The ability to use social media to regularly engage people, build an audience and express your personality is becoming an essential digital skill for everyone. It can help you find a job because it shows businesses and organizations a window into your personality, interests and how savvy you are with new social technologies.
If you’re interested in improving your social media skills or building a career in social media these online courses and certifications can help you learn the ropes. The demand for people with “social media marketing” skills has risen 47% in the past year and is projected to continue growing at a fast clip as more business move marketing spending from paid advertising into content marketing and social media engagement.
Where social media really becomes valuable in a business context is when you can use these social networks to raise brand awareness and also get new customers, leads and sales for a business. This is where inbound marketing comes in. Inbound marketing is about creating and sharing valuable content designed to appeal to customers and attract qualified prospects to a business.
Surprisingly, there aren’t many structured MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) for learning social media and inbound marketing online. I’m sure this will change and there will be many more social media,
Did you know? Over 80% of jobs are now found in the informal job marketing (meaning they are not advertised) so having a social media presence and regularly networking (online and offline) is more important than ever.
There is an interesting story behind DS106. It begins in the spring of 2010 when University of Mary Washington professor Jim Groom wanted to re-imagine how storytelling could be taught in the digital age. There was so much interest in the course that in the Spring of 2011, Groom opened the digital storytelling course to allow online participants to join.
Inbound marketing pioneer Hubspot offers an excellent free Inbound Marketing Certification Program. While the course is aimed at people in digital marketing and social media industries, anyone can improve their knowledge of inbound and content marketing by following the 11 free classes and completing the reading assignments and optional homework assignments.
You can watch the videos at your own pace and when you complete all the courses you can take an Inbound Marketing Certification Exam to get a certificate from Hubspot. The courses
- Essentials of an Effective Inbound Strategy
- Optimizing Your Website
- The Fundamentals of Blogging
- Amplifying Your Content with Social Media
- Creating Content with a Purpose
- The Anatomy of a Landing Page
- Perfecting the Conversion Process
- Sending the Right Email to the Right Lead
- The Power of
- Taking Your Sales Process Inbound
- Cultivating Happy Customers
This fun video course from email marketing provider Constant Contact shows you how to use social media to get business results. You can learn the basics of social media 101 and how to use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,
Here is a breakdown of the topics covered in the course:
- Social Media 101 (4 chapters)
- Facebook (17 chapters)
- Twitter (17 chapters)
- LinkedIn (13 chapters)
- Blogging (3 chapters)
- YouTube (9 chapters)
- Ratings and Reviews (6 chapters)
- Location-Based Services (7 chapters)
- QR Codes (3 chapters)
- Email Plus Social Media Marketing (4 chapters)
This brand new MOOC from the University of Salford in Manchester, England helps you develop your professional online profile and use search engine optimization and social media marketing tactics and strategy to improve your online presence. This course has a lot of great information!
- Personal branding online
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Use of social media for international business development
- Copywriting online
- Legal implications of social media
- Monitoring and reporting
Get a “diploma” in Social Media Marketing in just 15-20 hours with this free course provided by online course provider ALISON. It explains the use of email marketing, affiliate marketing, using social media tools such as Twitter, podcasting and blogging, and how to create a successful Facebook page.
- Introduction to Web sites
- Introduction to autoresponders and eBooks
- Using autoresponders to build a list
- Affiliate marketing and increasing Web site traffic
- Email and Affiliate Marketing Assessment
- Introduction to Social Media Marketing
- How to use Twitter
- Audacity for Recording Podcasts
- Podomatic – Publish Your Podcasts to the Web
- Blogging on the WebSocial Media Tools
- Assessment Module
- Facebook – Create your Personal Profile
- Facebook – Creating your Facebook page
- Facebook – Increasing traffic to Facebook pages
- Marketing with Facebook Assessment
- Final Assessment
6. Study Social Media Presentations and White Papers
Studying social media presentations and white papers can really helpful. Here are some freely available white papers from top social media businesses:
- The Social Business Textbook from Spredfast
- Inbound Marketing Whitepapers and ebooks from Hubspot
- HootGuides, whitepapers and case studies from Hootsuite
GFC provides short, well-structured courses on popular topics in social media and how to better use technology. These courses are a bit rudimentary but are great if you’re an absolute beginner and you need to get up to speed on the basics of setting up a profile, finding people and sharing content.
- Twitter 101
- Facebook 101
- LinkedIn Basics
- Pinterest 101
- Beyond Email
- Blog Basics
- Networking Basics
- Digital Lifestyle
- Information Savvy
- Internet Basics
The foundation of making money online for many bloggers and social marketers is to leverage SEO, social media followers and inbound marketing content to build an e-mail list. This course from top blogger Glen Allsopp shows you how to build and monetize your audience with e-mail marketing.
- Introduction to Cloud BluePrint
- The CloudBluePrint Core
- Choosing A Niche
- Choosing A Domain
- Finding Web Hosting
- Squeeze Pages
- E-Mail Marketing
- A/B Split Testing
- Attracting Traffic
- Follow Up Content
- Generating Income
- CloudBluePrint Overview
Glen also has a very useful guide for growing your blog audience that details how he grew his blog to 10,000 subscribers in one year. He writes some of the longest, most engaging marketing-related blog posts and routinely receives 100s of comments on each post so he’s an excellent person to learn from.
- The 4 key elements to growing a popular blog
- Why most blog marketing tactics are a waste of time
- The one strategy you need to explode your blog traffic
- My extra traffic sources and stats figures
This online course from MOOC course platform Canvas Network is a beautifully structured course with regular e-mail updates, activities, assignments and collaborative online study groups. Unfortunately, the most recent session has ended but you can sign up on the page to get notified when the course is offered again and in the
Another one of the social media MOOCs available online, this course is provided free by the Department of Communications Studies at West Virginia University. As can be expected from a University, this online course is more heavily focused on theory, inquiry and learning how to ask the right questions to improve your understanding.
Social media is revolutionizing communication, business and government so I think it’s important to explore the philosophy implications and impact of these changes to deepen your understanding of online communication. The course is 4-weeks but there is a lot of material packed into each week of studies.
- Learning to Cope With Our Robot Overlords
- Love at First Like
- Cyberbullying: The Dark Side of Online Communication
- This is Your Brain, This is Your Brain on Media: Understanding and Conquering Technology Overload
BONUS: My Social Creators Academy ($29/month)
In Social Creators, I teach you how to develop a distinctive personal brand and I give you a process to follow to tell your story clearly and concisely so it will resonate with your audience. You will become a visual storyteller by learning to create eye-catching images and videos that grab people’s attention on crowded social networks and inspire them to learn more about you.
Here’s what you can learn to do in Social Creators:
1. Create a personal brand, identify your target audience and spread your message online.
2. Gain more exposure using the latest growth marketing techniques to expand your reach.
3. Develop a more engaged audience and build your first 1,000 email subscribers.
4. Cultivate meaningful relationships with influencers and get them to share your content.
5. Build your social influence as a thought leader in your industry or area of expertise.
Become part of my Social Creators membership community and learn social media and digital business skills in an online community of creative entrepreneurs,
The Connection Economy:
We are leaving the industrial economy and entering what marketing guru Seth Godin calls the connection economy. With automation and outsourcing eliminating most routine work, the most highly paid digital skills of tomorrow will require a high level of creativity and social intelligence. Ultimately, the ability to connect with people.
You can learn this highly valuable
With that insight in mind, you can start building your own audience and you will realize you can achieve anything you want through the power of relationship building.