The ability to use social media to get people’s attention, build an engage audience and provide valuable educational content is becoming essential to thrive in today’s fast-growing and highly-competitive digital economy.

Whether you are looking for a better job, freelancing for other businesses, or building your own business you’re going to need social media marketing skills to build your personal brand and leverage social media to attract a bigger audience.

If you’re ready to start improving your social media marketing skills, the free online courses in this guide will help you learn faster without having to go back to school.

Today’s Most In-Demand Social Media Skills

If you want to stand out from the crowd of other job seekers, freelancers, or entrepreneurs then you should start by building a professional-looking website and  an active social media presence that showcases your talents and skills.

If you’re not sure which social media marketing course is right for you, I have put together a 5-minute video where I talk about the different social media skills that are in high demand today.

Did you know?

Over 80% of jobs are now found in the informal job market (meaning they are not advertised). Having a personal website, an active social media presence, and a professional network to leverage for recommendations is more important than ever.

1. Video Storytelling For Social Media

Video Storytelling

An online courses I created a couple years ago for learning how to make high-quality videos with your iPhone or Android smartphone. Learn the fundamentals of video storytelling and how to build the habit of making regular videos by documenting your experiences.

Video is a powerful medium to build relationships with your audience members and engage short attention spans on social media networks. This 1-hour online course covers everything you need to make high-quality videos anywhere using your smartphone.

1. Getting Started By Building The Habit of Video Storytelling
2. Filming and Editing High-Quality Videos On Your Smartphone
3. How To Start Vlogging Regularly With Your iPhone or Android.
4. A Creative Video Project To Share A Brand-Driven Story


2. GenM’s Social Media and Digital Marketing Apprenticeships

GenM Digital Apprenticeship

Learn from vetted business owners in remote digital apprenticeships. Gain work experience from the comfort of your own home while also taking online courses in social media management and digital marketing.

The GenM digital apprenticeship program matches you with business owners. Build your resume and portfolio, get a digital certificate when you complete the apprenticeship and take free courses on the platform to upgrade your skills.

1. Facebook Marketing
2. Google For Business
3. Instagram Marketing
4. Twitter Marketing
5. Yelp Marketing
6. Search Engine Optimization
7. Email Marketing Basics


3. Facebook Advertising Blueprint

Facebook Blueprint

With over 2 billion users (plus another 1 billion on Instagram), Facebook is one of the best advertising platforms for businesses. The social media company wants to make it easy for content producers to spend money on its advertising but many people struggle to successfully run ads that deliver results.

That’s why Facebook launched the Facebook Blueprint a couple years ago to help people become more skilled at setting up Facebook Advertising campaigns. They provide valuable training for setting up, managing, and optimizing Facebook Ads.

1. How To Create An Ad On Facebook
2. Beyond Likes: Create Ads That Meet Your Goals
3. Instagram For Business
4. How To Set A Budget and Schedule For Your Facebook Ads
5. A Beginner’s Guide to Finding Images For Your Ads


4. Google Analytics Academy

Google Analytics Academy

Google Analytics is an indispensable free tool to track online advertising spending. It’s also important to know how to set up conversion tracking goals to see which social media channels and pieces of content are leading to the most leads and sales.

While it can be quite technical to master the Google Analytics platform, a basic knowledge of Google Analytics is necessary for anyone who manages websites or social media for businesses.

1. Google Analytics For Beginners
2. Advanced Google Analytics
3. Google Analytics For Power Users
4. Getting Started With Google Analytics 360
5. Introduction To Data Studio
6. Google Tag Manager Fundamentals


5. Instagram Authority

Instagram Authority

Canadian Instagram Influencer Alex Tooby has a free introductory course on social media marketing for Instagram. She has been teaching Instagram Marketing for almost 4 years and has over 400,000 followers across 3 accounts.

This 7-day courses teaches you how to brand yourself and build an engaged audience on Instagram. Over the duration of a single week, you will have daily lessons in your email inbox to learn how to:

1. Set up your bio to increase followers and clicks on your link.
2. Choose hashtags that increase your engagement.
3. Strategically create content that keeps followers coming back for more.
4. Promote your products and services without being salesy.
5. Position yourself as the authority figure in your niche.
6. Monetize your account regardless of it’s type or size


6. Hubspot Academy’s Inbound Marketing Certification

Hubspot Academy

Marketing automation platform Hubspot offers a free Inbound Marketing Certification Program. While their courses are aimed at professionals in the digital marketing and social media industries, someone at any level of understanding can learn a lot about content marketing here.

In the Hubspot Academy, you can watch the videos at your own pace and follow the course frameworks. When you complete all the online courses in the program you can take an Inbound Marketing Certification Exam to get certified.

  1. Essentials of an Effective Inbound Strategy
  2. Optimizing Your Website
  3. The Fundamentals of Blogging
  4. Amplifying Your Content with Social Media
  5. Creating Content with a Purpose
  6. The Anatomy of a Landing Page
  7. Perfecting the Conversion Process
  8. Sending the Right Email to the Right Lead
  9. The Power of Marketing
  10. Taking Your Sales Process Inbound
  11. Cultivating Happy Customers


7. Social Media Marketing Specialization

Social Media Marketing Specialization

This social media marketing specialization from Northwestern University is designed for freelancers, executives, and marketing professionals who want to develop more knowledge of social media strategy.

It consists of 6 social media courses along with creative project. If you complete all the required online courses, you can get certificate from Northwestern University to highlight your new skills on your resume or LinkedIn.

The full specialization costs $49/month to write the tests and get the certification but you can choose to the option to “Audit The Course” and get access to all the instructional content for your own self-directed learning.

1. What is Social Media?
2. The Importance of Listening
3. Engagement & Nurture Marketing Strategies
4. Content, Advertising & Social IMC
5. The Business of Social Media
6. Social Marketing Capstone Project


8. Personal Branding and Design Thinking

Personal Branding and Design Thinking

What comes up when someone Googles your name? That’s your personal brand and it’s much more important for today’s high-paying jobs than a resume and cover letter.

Ideally, if you’re in a competitive market you need a professional-looking personal website, active social media accounts where you are engaging your audience, and a professional network on LinkedIn you can leverage for recommendations.

In this 4-part online course, you develop your personal brand and apply design thinking principles to get clear about who you want to help with your social media content. By the end of the course, you will be able to rapidly prototype your ideas and create a new brand-driven website.

1. Empathize: Getting To Know Your Ideal Audience
2. Define: Defining Their Problem and Your Unique Value Proposition
3. Design: Ideation and Creative Brainstorming
4. Prototype: Rapidly Prototyping Your Offer On A Website


9. Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content

Viral Marketing

This new social media course taught by Wharton Professor Jonah Berger and author of the best-selling book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” teaches you some of the key ideas and concepts behind viral marketing and crafting content that inspires people to share.

You have the option to audit the course for free or you can purchase the online course and get a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

1. What Makes Ideas Sticky?
2. How Social Influence Shapes Behavior
3. The Power of Word of Mouth
4. Social Networks


10. Writing for Social Media

Writing For Social Media

With attention spans getting shorter by the day, social media requires a special talent for copywriting that grabs people’s attention. This free online course provides a framework so you can write effective copy that leads to clicks and eventually sales.

This 4-week online course from the University of California Berkeley seeks to answer these questions: How do you connect with your audience? How do you write for these critical channels? How do you get heard on social media networks?

1. Know the audience you are writing for
2. Customize content by audience and delivery method
3. Utilize effective social media writing strategies
4. Communicate effectively in a noisy digital environment

Building Your Personal Brand Using Social Media

While these free social media courses are a good start, you can only get good at social media by regularly creating and sharing your own stories and content through blogging, photography, and videos.

Most people just consume and share other’s people content but when you start making your own content you can really build a powerful social media platform for your brand.

The key to social media is building social proof for your expertise. It doesn’t matter what certificates you have or which online courses you have taken, what matters most is that you can demonstrate that you can build engaged social media audiences.

I hope you find one of these social media courses right for your needs and it becomes a catalyst for building your personal brand and help businesses grow with social media marketing.