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Social Media Certifications: 8 Places to Get Certified in Social Media

POSTED 03/11/2013
By Glori Urban

Social media marketing is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the latest CMO survey1 from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business found out that companies will spend more than 10% of their marketing budgets on social media efforts this year. “Social media, as a percentage of marketing budgets, is expected to more than double over the next five years,” says Chris Moorman, director of the CMO survey, which surveyed 468 chief marketing officers in the U.S.

According to another recent study from the Zeno Group,2 one third of business executives still neglect social media when making business decisions, further indicating there is ample opportunity for introducing the concept of social media to the C-suite. Thus, highly skilled social media marketers will be in demand. What’s unfortunate is that probably more than half of so-called social media gurus don’t know what they’re doing. Moreover, companies are becoming more picky with their hires. Consequently, you need to have the right credentials and experience if you are seeking a successful career in social media. It’s a good thing there are a number of different platforms out there offering social media certification courses that boast solid credentials and a list of impressive clients. If you’re looking for a legitimate way to boost your knowledge and build out your resume, here are some of the top social media certificate courses available right now.

Market Motive

Social Media Marketing Training and Certification Market Motive offers two social media certification course options: a self-paced plan for $299 per month, and an instructor-led certification program for a $3500 flat fee.

market motive social media course with Jennifer Evans-Cario

Industry experts like Jennifer Evans Cario serve as Market Motive’s course instructors.

Market Motive carries the endorsement of the US Department of Labor and the Better Business Bureau, and has a roster of topnotch clients such as Adobe, Microsoft, and Salesforce.com. The course is taught by best-selling authors, consultants, and speakers, including faculty chair and president of Sugarspun Marketing, Jennifer Evans Cario, who has advised companies such as Verizon, Highlights for Children, and American Greetings. The couse curriculum is quite detailed and showcases video clips that will help determine if the program is right for you. Students can expect to receive a thorough overview of social media marketing and online reputation management as well as the intricate details of how to operate successfully in all of the major social networks.

Cost $299/$3,500
Course Length Self-Paced/Self-Paced + 90 days coached training
Format 100% Online Self-Guided/100% Online Self-Guided + Coaching
Special Requirements Coached option has fixed start dates. The next class starts April 1st, 2013.
Good to Know Cross-training allows you to study (and acquire certification in) as many topics as you like such as Search Engine Optimization, Web Analytics, Conversion Optimization, and Pay Per Click Advertising. Market Motive also regularly produces new videos and webinar workshops on a monthly basis to keep their content and resources fresh.

Online Marketing Institute

Social Media Marketing Certification OMI’s Social Media Marketing Certificate provides a very specific curriculum for pinpointing and reaching target audiences with a clear strategy across many different platforms.

online marketing institute social media

OMI is known for its courses on social media and digital marketing.

This $859 certification course offers a thorough, in-depth look at exactly how popular social networks can be used. The great thing about this course is that it is designed not just for solo entrepreneurs but also for social media managers of large companies. In fact, OMI has reputedly served clients such as Cisco, Netapp, and Quest Diagnostics. Students are taught by consultants and social media experts from Fortune 500 companies, covering relevant topics such as “Social Media Marketing Landscape: Competitive Strategies for 2013” and course electives like “LinkedIn for Personal Branding.” The instructors have impressive credentials and include the likes of Jasmine Sandler, CEO of Agent-CY, a top-performing online marketing agency that has an impressive portfolio of big time clients, and Ekaterina Walter and LaSandra Brill, social media experts of Intel and Cisco, respectively. OMI also offers a certificate program on Digital Marketing Essentials that complements the Social Media Marketing Certification and can provide training on overall digital and social media planning.

Cost $859
Course Length Self-Paced
Format 100% Online Self-Guided
Good to Know Instructors include social media expert managers from big companies. The programs boasts 150+ classes and more than 8,000 students and counting.

Mediabistro

Social Media Certificate Program Mediabistro, a highly regarded online education site for marketing and media professionals, offers its Social Media Certification Program for $1,650. Self-motivated learners don’t seem to mind the price tag, considering that the program’s enrollment doubled from 2011 to 2012, and is expected to grow further in 2013.

mediabistro social media certfication

Mediabistro’s program helps you develop professional-grade social media skills. It also grants access to Freelance Marketplace and AvantGuild.

Required classes include Social Media 101, Facebook Marketing, Twitter Marketing, and the popular Social Media Marketing Bootcamp. This program also requires two electives, such as courses on community management and social media metrics. The program is designed to arm participants with a complete social media skill set. Instructors include big names like Jim Hopkinson of the popular The Hopkinson Report3, who teaches Twitter Marketing and Advanced Blogging, and Ogilvy4 (renowned global advertising firm) Vice President Geoffrey Colon, who teaches Facebook Marketing. Upon completion of the course, students are given a certificate of completion and 12-month access to Freelance Marketplace and AvantGuild, tools that help with job hunting and professional networking.

Cost Students can opt for an up-front payment of $1,650 for the full program or take individual classes and apply for certification after.
Course Length Self-paced
Format Online – with some select courses offered in New York City
Special Requirements Courses must be completed within one calendar year to be eligible for certification.
Good to Know Dozens of other complimentary courses offered, including Search & Online Marketing, Strategic Mobile Marketing, and Email Marketing. Other popular Mediabistro courses include Food, Fashion, and Travel Writing.  

Splash Media U

Social Media Marketing Master Certification Splash Media U is run by Splash Media, a full-service social media marketing agency and offers more than 500 online social media marketing classes which are filmed in a state-of-the-art $5.5 million virtual set studio.

splash media social marketing certification

Splash Media’s certification program offers comprehensive social media training from industry experts.

The program emphasizes learning from experts who are currently practicing the strategies they teach and by using case studies of actual clients. Most of the instructors are Splash Media consultants and are actively leading and managing social media marketing  projects for clients such as AMX, CareNow, Meritas, and Victory Energy. Splash Media U has also recently been accredited by the Southern Association Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, a division of the AdvancED Accreditation Commission.

Cost $1,250/each for individual courses  in Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn; $4,950 for the Master Certification (General Studies, plus all 5 areas)
Course Length Self-paced
Format 100% online. Expert instructors are also available via phone.
Special Requirements Courses must be completed within 9 months to be eligible for certification.
Good to Know Payment options are available for those who cannot pay the full amount upfront.

  • Pay in full, 10% discount:  $4,455
  • 6 Months: Deposit of $750, 6 payments of $700
  • 12 Months: Deposit of $400, 12 payments of $371.16
  • 18 Months: Deposit of $400 plus $180 setup fee, 18 payments of $262.78

HootSuite

HootSuite University For $30.99 per month, HootSuite’s social media certification program is a great way to enhance your skills and resume at an affordable price.

hootesuite university course offerings

HootSuite University offers courses on social media essentials, trends, and best practices.

HootSuite University is a well-maintained program that provides video-based learning opportunities specifically tailored around the HootSuite dashboard, aiming to give graduates the skills to manage social media efforts with ease. The program also features video-based courseware, lectures on the latest social media marketing trends, and regular webinars featuring leading experts who share real-life case studies. HootSuite University also partners with collegiate institutions to empower college students with marketable social media skills. Partners include  Syracuse University, City University of New York, and University of Technology Sydney.

Cost $30.99 per month
Course Length Self-paced
Format 100% online
Good to Know The monthly fee also includes an upgrade to Hootsuite Pro which is valued at $9.99/month. In addition to certification, HootSuite also offers graduates a place in their Social Media Consultant Directory, boosting online visibility!

PR News Online

Certificate in Social Media The PR News Online program is a conference-based certification. The organization puts on four major social media/digital marketing/PR conferences per year. After attending four conferences in a two-year period, attendees are entitled to a certificate.

PRNews social media conference callout

Get credits for PR News’ certification program by attending its conferences.

The website does not have a lot of information about the program since it was only launched last summer. However, we were able to speak with PR News Online representatives to confirm details about the program. The conferences are very heavy on how-to content as opposed to Q&A and panel discussions. While the certification is new, PR News has been actively organizing Social Media and Digital Marketing Conferences for more than five years, and has a rich history in the PR industry. The one-day conferences are information intensive, and staff has informed us since the program is so new, the real value is in the conference itself. Thus, the certification can be thought of as value added. Those who become certified are honored at conferences, entitled to discounts at future conferences, and have fodder for their resume. The events feature speakers from a long list of respected organizations such as Whole Foods, Audubon Society, Toshiba, and Bank of America, just to name a few. The rub is the price tag, as each conference pass costs a minimum of ~$1K, excluding airfare and accommodations for two days in New York City, San Francisco, or Florida. However, if you have a corporate sponsor, the program will not only equip you with solid social media education but also open up great networking opportunities.

Cost Minimum of $4k for conference passes. May require airfare and lodging.
Course Length Four 1-day conferences that can be attended over a 24-month period
Format In person seminars at all day conference.
Good to Know PR News Online is just one of a portfolio of products from Access Intelligence. The company’s flagship product is PR News, a print publication that is in its 69th year of publication.

Expert Rating

Social Media Marketing for Businesses For an affordable social media certification program, it’s hard to beat the $99 price tag offered by ExpertRating.

expert rating social media certification

Expert Rating’s Social Media Certification is ideal for companies who want to train their employees to be social media savvy.

Those interested in learning their way around social media marketing can take the Online Social Media Marketing for Business course to enhance their resume. Accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), this course offers a series of 17 comprehensive yet easily digestible lessons on how to manage and optimize your profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube for best results. The company’s targets are primarily large corporations and boast clients such as IKEA Systems, Convergys, and Fiserv, with a focus on prevention of mis-hiring as well as testing employee skills and efficiency. They offer certification programs in everything from First Aid, CPR and Weight Management to Sigma Six and SEO. The course is completely self-paced and successful certification relies on self-learning. As it is a testing site, there is no information about instructors, which can be a disadvantage when you have a question about a specific topic.

Cost $99.99
Course Length Self-paced
Format 100% online
Good to Know ExpertRating offers Combo Packs with various course combinations for a discounted price.

Rutgers

Mini-MBA: Social Media Marketing The Rutgers Mini-MBA course consists of nine modules that focus on creating business strategies using social media.

rutgers social media marketing program

Rutgers offers certification through their Social Media Marketing Mini-MBA program.

This program focuses on identifying, connecting, and engaging with top influencers of one’s business or field, an approach to teaching social media marketing that stands out from the other courses. The course is administered at Rutgers campus in Newark, NJ and class sizes are typically small, allowing instructors to individually interact with students and immediately respond to questions while maintaining a learning-conducive environment. Instructors are globally recognized digital marketing experts and authors, including David Berkowitz, VP of Emerging Media from the award-winning digital agency, 360i.5 It is also an approved program for workforce training grants. Graduates can receive CEU and CPU academic credits upon completion.


Cost $4,995
Course Length 9-week program or 1-week accelerated option
Format Instructor-led classroom setting (Newark, NJ)
Special Requirements Set dates (Courses starting March 28th, April 1st, June 3rd)
Good to Know Students are supplied with their own iPad where they receive the course content. Funding may be available for those receiving unemployment benefits.

Conclusion

In the coming years, social media marketing is only going to get bigger. But knowing how to tweet and update your status is not the same as using social media to influence and analyze trends, engage customers, and grow businesses. It takes the right set of knowledge, experience, and skills to become a real social media expert. Quality courses can help you get ahead by improving your skills and making sure your resume can compete with a host of others competing for the same positions you seek. With numerous social media certificate programs online and off, finding one that can accommodate your budget, schedule, and specific needs is as easy as a Google search. Become genuinely social media savvy and invest in a quality certificate program now!

Footnotes
  1. Social Media as Percentage of Marketing Budget. The CMO Survey[]
  2. Social Media: A Corporate Reputation Blind Spot? Zeno Group[]
  3. The Hopkinson Report[]
  4. Ogilvy[]
  5. 360i[]
Jagged Edge Media JAcom Consultants