As social media certifications become more and more common, there are a number of things to look for to determine if you are choosing the best social media certification program. Don’t waste your money on a program that doesn’t give you what you need. Here are things that I’d recommend considering when evaluating a social media certification course:
First, determine if the certificate in recognized in the industry. This may be difficult as social media is still relatively new, however consider the credibility and experience of the individual or organization offering the certification. For example, our certificate program was accredited, which means that it meets the standards of higher education.
2. Qualifications of the Instructor
Look at the qualifications of the instructor, and assess their social media presence. A strong social media instructor should be active on many social networks and have a following. How is the instructor qualified? Have they written books on the topic or taught courses? If the program instructor can’t easily be found online, or has a mediocre presence, you may want to think twice. Look for people with real experience in social media marketing.
3. Number of Instructors
Is the program taught by one instructor or many? I’ve participated as an instructor in both types of programs, and what I’ve found is that a single instructor program tends to be more comprehensive and cohesive. Multiple instructor programs are often not coordinated well, so there may be material overlap or missing material.
4. Requirements to Gain Certification
Look at what is required to gain the certification. A strong certification program will require you to demonstrate knowledge and application of the knowledge. While the application of knowledge may mean that the certification will take you more time, it is usually worth it as you’ll also get feedback on your ability to implement social media marketing.
5. Cost of the Program
Cost is obviously a factor, as many programs cost $2,000 – $3,000 to complete. Consider the value that certification brings you, and compare the factors in different programs to determine if a high-priced program is necessary for you to achieve your objectives.
6. Length of Time to Complete the Program
Some programs allow you to work at your own pace, while others require you to follow a specific schedule. Some programs can be completed in only 30 days, while others take 3 – 6 months. Look at your own schedule and determine what makes sense for you.
7. Topics Covered in the Program
Look at which topics are covered in the program – the more comprehensive the better. Even though more topics = more time, the more that the program covers the more you’ll learn. Also, look for a balance of strategy topics and topics covering how to use specific tools.
8. Live Time with Instructor
Not all certification programs give you live in-person time with your instructor. The best programs include live time with an instructor for you to ask questions and gain additional insights.
9. Continued Access to the Materials
Be sure to check how long you continue to get access to the materials. You may want to brush up or look back over the content, so be sure to check how long you get access to the content.
10. Frequency of Updates of Materials
Find out how often the materials are updated. Some programs are created and never updated to reflect changes in the social networks or strategies. Look for programs that are updated regularly, or have live sessions to get the latest from instructors.