So much of our life is impacted by our online presence today that many are managing their careers by treating themselves as a brand. Personal branding is marketing yourself and your career like a product.
Personal branding incorporates many disciplines: Marketing to create your brand, advertising to promote yourself, and public relations for reputation management and press coverage. Not a once and done project, personal branding is an ongoing process of establishing a desired image to obtain career opportunities.
Like it or not, you have an online personal brand. You might as well be intentional about managing it and invest time in a plan.
What signs are you sending?
A Career Builder survey found 70% of employers use social media to research job candidates and 54% have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media. Not managing your personal social media can keep you from advancing in the hiring process.
On the other hand, 57% of employers say they’re less likely to interview you if they find no information about you online. Not having any social media presence or trying to keep it all private can negatively impact your career job prospects as well.
Other research says that 91% of employers today use social media to hire talent. If you don’t participate you may be missing exciting opportunities. You can’t find your dream job if you’re not looking in the right place. With these stats in mind perhaps it is time to create or revisit your personal brand and manage it through a social media plan.
The good news is that if you know how to market a business you know how to market yourself. With some tweaking the same strategies that work for forming social media plans for organizations and corporations can be applied to your own personal brand.
How to develop a social media plan for your personal brand:
Identify your personal brand objective. What is that dream job, position, or service opportunity you are ultimately seeking? List specific titles and/or companies/organizations.
Define your target audience. Who would be the decision maker to put you in that position? Develop a “buyer persona” for the hiring manager.
Formulate your personal brand message. Identify what you want the hiring managers to think. What messages will get them there? Establish a brand voice and set focused topic guidelines to direct your posts.
Identify key social media platforms. What social channels do you need to deliver the right message to the right people? What needs to change in your current social media platforms and which do you need to add?
List key skills employers are seeking. Search job descriptions and ads. Emphasize those skills with keyword optimization of your social media content, profiles, and digital résumés. In direct messages add personalized insights about the company or person.
Become a lifelong learner. Are you missing any important skills? Find courses, certifications, full degrees or certificates to learn those those skills and earn signal sending qualifications. Then add those degrees/badges to your social profiles.
Don’t forget the value of live connections.
Finally, keep your online personal brand, but also don’t underestimate the importance of in-person connections. Seek out professional networking opportunities and attend all you can – even when many have become virtual. That live, face-to-face connection is still important and nothing is better for relationship building.
Those conversations that occur in the hallways between sessions and in chat boxes make a difference. Since the pandemic 71% of employers are rapidly expanding their digital recruiting capabilities adding information sessions, video panels and one-on-one video sessions.
Personal connections are remembered when new opportunities arise. Whether it’s a professional conference, industry trade show or career fair, invest time building in-person relationships that can be cultivated online through social media.If you haven’t been intentional about your social media personal brand get started today.
Today, there are many online training and certifications to help you learn social media and digital marketing skills. If you are a professional, student, or a professor it’s hard to know which ones to earn yourself and which to include in your courses. Below is a guide and links to certifications, badges, and additional training resources. Most are free or have minimal costs and represent a short time commitment.
Why are these professional certifications and online learning resources valuable? A Marketing Hiring Trends Report indicates that 69% of marketers are hiring and 59% want digital marketers, yet only 19% of people with those skills are looking for jobs. This represents a 30% digital skills gap creating high demand for people who can demonstrate those skills.
9 Recommended Social Media Certifications
Facebook blueprint is Facebook’s free online courses and paid certifications for marketing on Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Over 87% of U.S. marketers use Facebook and 75% use Instagram for social media marketing. Recommended certifications include:
Facebook Certified Digital Marketing Associate (8-9 hours) teaches entry level marketing skills and foundational advertising concepts on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. The online courses are free to prepare for the exam which is $150 and requires scheduling in person testing.
Facebook Certified Media Planning Professional (9-10 hours) teaches what you need to create, place and measure effective Facebook, Instagram and Messenger advertising campaigns. The online courses are free to prepare for the exam which is $150 and requires scheduling in person testing.
Additional Facebook blueprint certifications include Media Buying Professional, Ads Product Developer I, II and III.
Hootsuite Academy is an online education site offering free and paid training courses and professional certifications. This popular social media management software is used by over 18 million people at top brands. Recommended certifications include:
Hootsuite Platform Certification (3-4 hours) teaches you how to use this popular social platform to publish and engage in social media while tracking results with analytics. It is useful to understand this platform but also how many social management platforms work. The online course is free. The certification is $99 for professionals and free for college students when professors enroll their course through the student program.
Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification (6-7 hours) teaches social media marketing skills to grow followers and increase engagement. It teaches social strategy needed to meet and track business results through both paid and earned social media tactics. The online course is free while the certification costs $199 for professionals and free for college students through professor enrolled with professors who apply through the student program.
Additional Hootsuite online courses and certifications include Advanced Social Advertising, Social Media ROI, and Social Selling and require payment ranging from $249 to $299.
HubSpot Academy is an online education site offering free and paid training courses and professional certifications. HubSpot is a top marketing, sales, customer service and CRM platform used by over 15,000 businesses. Recommended certifications include:
HubSpot Social Media Certification (5-6 hours) teaches effective social media strategy to drive conversation, build loyalty and attract customers. The online course and certification is free.
Snapchat Explore is Snapchat’s free online course and professional certification. Over 33% of U.S. marketers use Snapchat for social media marketing. Recommended certification is:
Cision University Program is Cision’s online training program for college PR classes. The curriculum teaches this popular Cision PR software through college courses that apply for accreditation Recommended certification:
Google Analytics Academy is an online education site offering free training and professional certifications for Google Analytics. Over 88% of search traffic worldwide occurs on Google. Recommended certifications include:
Additional Google Analytics Academy courses and certificates of completion include Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics 360, Google Ads Measurement, Google Shopping Ads, and Google Ads Apps.
HubSpot Academy is an online education site offering free training courses and professional certifications. Recommended certifications include:
HubSpot Inbound Certification (2-3 hours) teaches the HubSpot Inbound methodology for driving customer acquisition from a marketing, sales and service perspective. The online course and certification is free.
HubSpot Content Marketing Certification (6-7 hours) teaches a strategic content creation framework for creating and repurposing effective content for search engines and customer engagement. The online course and certification is free.
HubSpot Inbound Sales Certification (2-3 hours) teaches specific skills useful to sales people. It explains inbound approaches to personal sales for identifying new prospects and connecting with them. The online course and certification is free.
Additional HubSpot courses and certifications include Inbound Marketing, Growth Driven Design, and Email Marketing.
SEMrush Academy is an online education site offering free training and professional certification for search engine marketing. Over 5 million marketers use the SEMrush online visibility management platform. Recommended certifications:
Mobile SEO Certificate (2-3 hours) teaches the specialized knowledge for mobile website visibility. The online course and certificate is free.
Technical SEO Certificate (5-6 hours) teaches the essentials for the technical aspects of search engine optimization. The online course and certificate is free.
Additional SEMrush courses and certificates include SEMrush platform functions such as SEMrush Site Audit, SEO Toolkit, Competitive Analysis, Keyword Research, Technical SEO, Link Building, Rank Tracking and Backlink Management.
Amazon Advertising learning console is an online education site offering free training and professional certification for Amazon Advertising. Over 54% of product searches start on Amazon. Recommended certification is:
Amazon Sponsored Ads Accreditation (3-4 hours) teaches Amazon Sponsored Ad types, targeting, strategy, reporting and optimization. The online course and certification is free.
Amazon Stores Accreditation (1-2 hours) teaches Amazon Store, benefits, features and how build and promote an Amazon Store. The online course and certification is fee.
Institute for Brand Marketing is a collaboration between Adweek and IBM Watson Advertising to provide free online courses and badges to teach brand marketing with technology.
Advanced Marketing Technologies (4 hours) introduces you to innovative marketing technologies such as machine learning, AI and blockchain and how they can drive business success. The online course and badge is free.
Monetizing Engagement (4 hours) covers ways companies can monetize engagement across social channels to measure ROI by attributing sales and other KPIs to marketing efforts. The online course and badge is free.
Academy of Influencer Marketing by Traackr influencer marketing platform. It offers courses teaching influencer marketing skills, strategy and measurement. The first course is free. Advanced courses are $495.
Adobe Creative Cloud Tutorials is an online education site offering free training for Adobe Creative Cloud software including Photoshop, InDesign, Premiere, After Effects, Illustrator, Adobe XD, and Adobe Spark. Over 90% of the world’s creative professionals use Adobe.
Adobe Education Exchange is a free learning program and community for educators to ignite creativity in thier classrooms and leverage Adobe software.
Canva Design School is an online education site offering courses from the popular graphic design platform Canva. Free online courses include Graphic Design Basics, Social Media Design, Branding Your Business, and Presentations to Impress.
ConvertedU by Leadpages is an online education site offering free and paid training and professional certification for conversion marketing. More than 40,000 small business use Leadpages to build landing pages, pop-ups, alerts and websites. Free online courses include Email List Building and Leadpages Launchpad. Paid courses include Conversion Marketing and Drip Marketing Certifications.
Google Academy for Ads is an online education site offering free courses in Google Ads, Google Marketing Platform, Google Ad Manager, and Google My Business. Google Ads Certification is available, but you must work for a Google Partner business and use that business email to take the exam.
How to Use TikTok for Business by Later is a free 35 minute video course. The course gives insights into creating viral videos, understanding TikTok’s algorithm and using TikTok ads to reach new audiences.
Pinterest Academy is Pinterest’s online education site offering free training courses for marketing on Pinterest. Over 35% of U.S. marketers use Pinterest for social media marketing.
Social Media Examiner Training Videos is a YouTube channel by this popular soical media publication and conference. Their channel offers short training videos by social media experts. Videos are updated often and are usually 5 to 15 minutes long.
YouTube Creator Academy is an online education site offering free courses that teach setting up YouTube Channels, YouTube Content Strategy, Video Production, YouTube Channel Optimization, Money & Business, on YouTube, and YouTube Policies & Guidelines. Over 53% of U.S. marketers use YouTube for social media marketing. A YouTube Certification is available, but only for those with a YouTube partner manager or access to Content ID.
11 Additional Online Learning and Certification Options
Whether you are a professional, student or professor I hope you find these recommendations to be useful. Even though I’ve highlighted 40 free and low cost online learning courses and certifications I may have missed some. What online courses and certifications have your used that your find to be valuable?
Ready to put these skills and certifications to use in a social media job?
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.