Is social media marketing certification important?

David Graham By Oct 17, 2014

certified

In order to remain competitive, companies on a global basis are resorting to implementing social media marketing in some form or other. Most organisations are winging it without any clear strategy whilst others are very precise and have a structured approach. Many organisations do not have expertise and look to the market for help. There are many self-proclaimed social media marketing “gurus” or “experts” out there so it is advisable to check out their credentials before you use their services.

Here is a quote from Corey Smith’sBeware of the social media ‘guru’” article, published on LinkedIn:

“Be wary of the self-proclaimed “guru.” You’ll see them coming if you watch. Here are a few key hallmarks:

  • They are proud of their expert status and are the only ones who use it to describe themselves.
  • The only thing on their marketing résumé is that they are great in social media.
  • They came from another field in the last year or so and suddenly know how to do everything like creating Facebook pages.

The primary kicker is that they really don’t understand how to translate the art of being social online from their offline efforts. They often think that just by being on social media you are suddenly going to be successful.”

Be careful when choosing a training provider

Social media marketing has not been around for a long time, and currently the industry is not regulated. All the digital agencies have realised that this is a great place to make money, so most of them offer courses. Besides the agencies, there are many independents also offering training services. As the industry is not regulated, I advise you to exercise caution before making your choice.

Are you receiving certification from a theorist or a practitioner?

When scouting for social media marketing certification courses, ask the following questions. Who is providing the training? How did they come up with the training Programme? Is it based on theory or from experience acquired from participation? The point I am conveying is that it is easy to source material and regurgitate it at a training event. I would far rather learn from an experienced social media marketer who has been in the trenches and has the battle scars.

Is the certification credible?

If you are planning on using the services of an agency or an individual, ask them if they are certified and the name of the association where they acquired certification. Check to see what the Programme offers and what the certified social media marketer should be capable of delivering once certified. Have a look at the background of the training provider, evidence of success and names of companies they are working with. I chose Boot Camp Digital to do my personal certification because of its background, the course content, the books it has written on the subject, testimonials from its customers and the fact that it has been hired by companies such as Google, General Electric, NASA, the United States Senate, Procter & Gamble and Prudential.

Do they practice what they preach?

I believe the best possible way to gauge the capability of the company or individual you choose to work with and the organisation where they received their certification is to see what they are doing from an online marketing perspective. I Googled “social media certification” and looked at the organic results. Boot Camp Digital not only appeared on the first page of the organic results, it also walks the talk. It practices everything that is covered in its training courses, with good effect.

Certification may not be important

There are agencies and independent consultants out there who were social media marketing pioneers and early adopters. They have learned all the theory and developed experience and expertise through trial and error. These are the people who develop the training courses and certification programmes. If you come across one of these individuals, then certification is not important, but make sure you check out their credentials properly.

Conclusion

Working with a person or organisation who carries a certification does not guarantee good results, however it does provide some peace of mind. I will far rather work with someone who has expended time and expense to get certified. Failing certification, do a good job in researching their background, capabilities and achievements. Look for case studies, customer testimonials and recommendations.

What are your thoughts on the subject of social media marketing certification? Do you have any comments? Would you like to add anything? I would love to hear from you.

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