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Why Social Media Certification is the Wave of the Future and Without it, You will Fail

24 April 2013
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Social Media certificationAmidst the sea of “Social Media Experts” and “Digital Business Guru’s” lies a very subtle distinction between those who truly understand Social Business and those who claim to. The question has become, how can we trust any of them? The answer is slowly but surely becoming Certification.

What can a Social Media Certification do for you?

Credibility

If you claim to have ‘experience in Social Media’ with nothing to back it, you are a very tiny, old fish in an incredibly massive (possibly the largest in the world) body of water. Whether the certification is going to a Global Director of Sales and Marketing, the Community Manager of a company’s social platforms, or the improvement of a highly sought after skill-set in today’s workforce, credibility is key.

For the first time ever, the skill sets and resume building certifications that relate to the newest iteration of digital proficiencies are cheap, accessible, and increasingly credible, Said Jason Schmitt in the Huffington Post article, “Job Cred: Social Media Certification Revs the Resume.”

Now is a better time than ever before

Compared to a time when people couldn’t fathom getting a corporate job without a college degree, we are already immersed in an era when social competency is vital for Marketing, Communication, PR, Legal and even HR and Customer Service department leaders; not to mention a an increasing request for all types of employees.

Kirsten Bailey, Director of HootSuite University, unpacks one of the factors at play in the increasing emphasis on social media skills, and says, “Companies get it. They want to make sure the people they are hiring, to a certain degree, are very socially savvy and that they understand how to navigate the online network space in a professional capacity.” – Job Cred: Social Media Certification Revs the Resume, Huffington Post

Business owners have advanced well beyond getting taken by the snake oil salesmen of the social marketing industry, claiming they have the secret ingredients to a wealth of social media knowledge  that no one else possesses. We are now in a full on ‘Action Phase’ of the social business evolution – there is no longer time to worry about whether or not employees can handle social responsibilities for the company. The concern has now become the How.

Brian Solis, author of The End of Business as Usual, and principle analyst at Altimeter Group tells me, “There is a sense of urgency–the more people who go through these certification programs, the more distance they create between themselves and their co-workers that don’t. This is that disruptive time where the workforce itself has to change how it works.”  Job Cred: Social Media Certification Revs the ResumeHuffington Post

If there was ever time to dive head first into this social revolution, that time is now. But its going to take effort. And as a business owner, your time is valuable, as well as the time your employees are spending in attempts to become accustomed to this new culture. 

There are literally millions of tools available on the Internet claiming to push you towards ‘Social Media Stardom’ – one could spend a lifetime sifting through them. Social Business Certification courses offer a compact package of options that are built to accomodate the every-day, fast-paced, corporate lifestyle. 

Its all in the Name

The decision of where to land for your social media training and certification should not be taken lightly. Institutions of all shapes and sizes are starting to offer a social media certification. There are several key factors to examine during the research process. To name a few, these should be at the top of your list:

1. Past Clients – Does the company offering a certification list at least one recognizable Brand that has been certified through their program? If not, what gives them the ability to accredit you anymore than the average Joe? Give credit where credit is due; the same goes for acquiring the ‘credit.’

2. Type of Company – Whether it is a college or university, marketing agency or one of the numerous companies popping up solely for the purpose digital training and certification – there is a lot to choose from. Think about the origin of the company itself and their potential motives behind creating a certification. Well established businesses that specialize in the subject itself have more credible, real-life experience, whereas many of the others could be jumping on the opportunity at hand.

Dr. William Ward, Professor of Practice of Social Media at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, tells me, “I think one of the problems associated with some of the university programs is that some are not delivering on it. To me, it seems like the conversation was on how do we generate revenue on this rather than making sure the students are getting the skills.” – Job Cred: Social Media Certification Revs the ResumeHuffington Post

3. Their Process – How long is the course itself – is it worth your employees’ time? What type of learning environment is available? Will there ever be any real-life interaction where you can get your questions answered by an actual person? Are they charging outrageous prices in return for a list of white papers that you could have downloaded yourself? If they have not outlined their course material in detail, then you do not know what you’re paying for. A certification is not doing anyone good if the process of obtaining it has taught you nothing about social media for business.

Although there are varying options of certification credibility and value, it is hard to dismiss the acceptance of this educational tool as anything other than the changing of the guard. As someone who has witnessed all sorts of technological paradigm shifts, I feel the writing is on the wall.  – Job Cred: Social Media Certification Revs the ResumeHuffington Post

Five Components of Social Business Governance - 5

From Altimeter Group’s “Five Components of Social Business Governance” Figure 07 in “The Evolution of Social Business: Six Stages of Social Business Transformation”.

Note: SayItSocial Digital Academy was just launched and provides a host of different certification courses. Check out their list and let us know what questions you have.

About Lauren Formalarie

Lauren Formalarie is a Project Manager and Trainer at SayItSocial, focusing on digital marketing strategy and project development as well as live, virtual and eLearning training initiatives.

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