We’ve been training companies and business professionals in social media marketing for over 5 years. Over the past 3 years, a number of social media certification programs have surfaced, including ours. More and more marketers and social media practitioners are wondering: Is a social media certification worth it? As the Managing Director of the Institute for Social Media, I created one of the first accredited social media certification programs.
When considering getting certified in social media, there are a few questions to ask yourself:
Why should you get a social media certificate?
The first question to ask yourself is why you are getting a social media certificate. Some of the benefits of a social media certification include:
- Learn more about social media. A certification program will teach you about social media and you’ll learn about social media strategy, tools, best practices, measurement and more. If you are serious about learning about social media, a certification program is a great idea.
- Demonstrate your skill to employers. A certification in social media signifies that you have both knowledge of social media and the ability to apply your knowledge. A good certification program will require you to display that you have applied the material, in addition to just testing your knowledge. This is why employers look for formal education like certification to validate a candidates skill set. That being said, if your certification program doesn’t actually include application, you may be missing out on this important factor.
- Increase your credibility with clients. If you plan to practice social media as a consultant or in the work place, a certification can increase your credibility because again, it demonstrates that you both know and can apply social media marketing.
What makes a certification program different?
A certification program is different than other forms of education because (ideally) it signified not only that you have knowledge, but also that you have demonstrated the knowledge. Our online certification requires that participants demonstrate their knowledge in two ways. First, by completing a social media strategy, which demonstrates their ability to think strategically about social media for a business. Next, it requires that they submit social media accounts that they created or manage. This shows that they can use the tools of social media.
While many professionals attend training here or there, those who are serious about social media marketing look to solidify their skill set with a certification.
Again, the big difference is that certification means that you both know and have demonstrated the ability to apply the skills of social media marketing.