There is a huge demand for qualified Social Media Managers today and that demand is only growing. Every business is looking to expand their reach, build brand recognition, and acquire new leads through online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This is a good-paying freelance gig, too. Glassdoor reports the national average salary for SMMs as $51,000.
Despite the client demand and willingness to work, it can be hard to find trustworthy, up-to-date online courses on the subject. Here are a few of my recommendations for getting the social media training you need to succeed as a freelancer in this industry.
Social Media Manager School
If you're ready to level up and become a social media manager or consultant operating your own business, Social Media Manager School is a fantastic resource to help you get there. With this school, you'll learn how to build your best business, have access to an extensive social media tutorial library, learn how to develop an effective social media strategy, and more. They'll show you how to land better clients, manage your clients, manage your money, and get organized.
Phyllis Kare and Andrea Vahl co-authored Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. You may also know Andrea as “Grandma Mary.” Andrea was the Community Manager at Social Media Examiner for a couple of years and went on to co-found Social Media Manager School with Phyllis, who's the social media strategist for Peaceful Media and author of the Social Media Marketing ELearning Kit for Dummies.
Social Media Manager School is an awesome course with one-on-one training, but it’s not always open. In fact, the school only opens for enrollment once or twice per year. You can sign up for notifications – and get a few cool freebies – here.
Social Media Strategy School
Social Media Strategy School is a sister program to the Social Media Manager School, designed from the ground up for business owners interested in growing their business effectively with social media marketing. Andrea and Phyllis have come together again to ensure that your company's time is not frittered away on social media marketing that goes nowhere fast. This course teaches you how to build a social media strategy in just 4 steps and how to target your desired customer relevant to each social media platform.
You also get 6 items of bonus content, including Social Media Audit Checklists, Social Media Policies Templates, and a 4-Step Lead Generating Strategy Blueprint. You’ll also have access to a supportive community on Facebook. When you sign up, you’ll have access to all the school materials for a year with the option to re-up for a lower price once the year is up. Since this course also comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, there’s no reason not to give it a go – it’s incredible value for the money.
LinkedIn isn't just a place to share your work history and make business connections – it's also a place to learn! LinkedIn Learning is an absolute gem of the site, featuring a robust library of free courses on subjects as varied as business management, Quickbooks, project management, Microsoft software, and social media. Their content is made by industry experts, too.
Under the heading of social media management, you'll find over 75 courses and learning paths on offer. You can filter these results according to whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced. You can also filter the component videos according to how long each takes to watch – they range from being less than 10 minutes to more than 3 hours.
Learning paths are collections of multiple courses – for example, the Become a Social Media Marketer learning path has 17 hours of content and includes the courses Marketing Foundations: Social Media, Social Media Marketing for Small Business, Marketing on Twitter, and more. Individual courses provide you with transcripts of each expert-led video and even a place to take notes.
Taking LinkedIn Learning courses can also increase the value of your LinkedIn profile – at the completion of each course, you'll have the opportunity to add the course and the new skills you've mastered to your LinkedIn profile.
Skillshare is an incredibly useful resource full of both free and paid courses on an incredible range of topics – including pretty much everything you could care to learn about social media, managing social media, and leveraging social media for the benefit of your clients or business. These courses are created and administered by experts or even companies in various industries.
There are over 100 free classes tagged with “social media” that take anywhere from less than 15 minutes to over 1 hour to complete. Examples of classes you'll find offered include “Introduction to Social Media Advertising” from Buffer, “Easy Photo Editing for Social Media” from PicMonkey, “10x Marketing: Content Marketing That Stands Out & Gets Results,” and “Instagram for Business: Build an Engaged Community.”
If you're interested in looking into their paid classes, Skillshare's premium membership is $15 per month (or $99 if you pay for an entire year, which breaks down to $8.25 per month).
Did you know that Hootsuite has an academy? It’s true! Hootsuite provides some very basic training at no charge alongside paid courses that can lead to various certifications, all taught by industry pros.
Their free courses aim to cover the fundamentals for those new to social media – you can learn everything you need to know about how to use Hootsuite with their Hootsuite Platform Training, and you can learn how to succeed at social marketing with their Social Marketing Training course. If you are looking for something more advanced, they offer seven other paid courses from Advanced Social Advertising Training to Social Selling Training to Foundations of Social Advocacy Training. Paid courses range between $249 and $999 in cost.
You can also receive certifications from Hootsuite – you can become certified on the Hootsuite Platform, obviously, but they also offer Social Marketing Certification, Social Selling Certification, certification in Advanced Social Media Strategy, and a variety of other certifications including for the specific industries of financial services and healthcare. These certifications range in cost from $99 to $999, with most falling around the median cost of $200-$300.
Hubspot Inbound Certification
This course isn’t specific to social media, but I feel it’s important for every entrepreneur and online marketer. This course will help grow your career and your business through the effective leveraging of inbound traffic. And it does all this for FREE!
Hubspot Academy's Inbound Certification course will teach you inbound best practices and help you develop an inbound marketing strategy that actually has results. This course will take you through understanding the fundamentals of an inbound business, how to grow your business with the Flywheel Model and combine it with sales funnels, how to set business goals that make sense for you, and more.
You can complete this course at your own pace, and the various lecturers in each video put the featured marketing and sales information in easy-to-follow language with relevant, concrete examples. There are also downloadable study guides and quizzes built in to test your understanding – meaning you can feel confident in passing this course!
Another interesting aspect of Hubspot’s Inbound Certification is that it expires after 25 months – re-taking the course every couple years will ensure you stay up-to-date with your marketing strategies and that clients can feel confident in your continued mastery.
Each of these resources can be used separately or together to teach you everything you need to succeed in leveraging social media for the benefit of your business. What are you waiting for? With a ton of free options in addition to paid courses, you can get started right now!