Hootsuite has added a new certification to their education program: the Social Media Marketing Certification. This adds to Hootsuite University and the Social Media Strategy Certificate as their education options. It’s part of their new plan to train 1 million people in social media by 2017, because as they say “jobs that require social media skills have increased by 89 percent”. It’s needed. Hootsuite has also launched a new portal keeping all the education offerings together. I love that it’s called Podium. A place where social media education can put us all.
I’ve written about Hootsuite University before, so I’ll focus on the new courses and Social Media Marketing certification.
I found the Hootsuite University useful and gained a couple of jobs from being certified, and this certification is even more relevant. There’s a lot less focus on how to use Hootsuite, and a lot more on running some amazing social media campaigns.
As a Hootsuite Ambassador, I was fortunate to get early access. So thank you, Hootsuite Community.
There are three weaknesses in Hootsuite University and none were carried over to the new certification. The UX, the three certification exams were only how to use Hootsuite, and you could certify without knowing anything about social media. I suppose those last two blend to make it two weaknesses.
What’s different from Hootsuite University?
The Social Media Marketing certification is seven courses. Six are social media knowledge: different platforms, community, analytics, etc. The final one is the certification exam. You can do all, any or none of the courses and pass the exam. You only pay to sit the exam, so if you’re new to the industry it’s possible to gain the knowledge without having the certificate to brag with. The exam also gives you a year of being listed in the Professionals Directory and more perks. One of the jobs I picked up was from being listed in the Hootsuite University directory, so I recommended going all in.
There are a couple of terms and tips unique to Hootsuite so I do recommend completing the courses. I decided to sit the exam before completing all the courses and just scrapped in a pass. But I’ve never played with social advertising, so I did go back to complete that one. They are quick. I took a bit longer to do then because I was the guinea pig and taking notes, but Hootsuite estimates the video courses take four hours and that seems about right.
A new layout also makes it easier to work through the courses. When you first log in, you’re given the option of choosing a stream (beginner or intermediate), but apart from that you’re free to choose your path. I suppose the Social Media Marketing certification isn’t really that different from Hootsuite University, just cleaner. Choosing the all courses option give you a rather pretty course list with flat design. It also gives you a list of your completed and yet to be completed courses. I love the sense of achievement when you finish and a massive 100% appears on that course icon.
As mentioned, the courses cover the required skills to be a social media coordinator or manager. The first few tools are completely management tool agnostic, and the how to use Hootsuite is missing, even though it would be useful. But we also have Hootsuite University for that. All the courses were developed with the help of a rather impressive advisory board, ensuring their industry relevance.
It’s quick and painless and you can keep sitting it for free until you pass. Of course, if you complete the courses you should pass the first time. It took me, maybe, 20 minutes. Another Hootsuite Ambassador just told me it took them ten minutes. You have an hour, but I doubt you’ll use it.
There’s no indication of your score until you have finished. If you bomb out at the start then you won’t know until 60 questions have been completed. Still though, if you have some experience or have watched the videos you won’t bomb out. It’s not basic, but it’s also not too difficult. Yep, it’s baby bear just right for coordinator or associate level.
When you’ve passed the exam then you can set up your profile in the Professionals Directory and download your certificate. I love that the directory lets you mark if you’re looking for work or willing to relocate. That’s very useful for recruiters looking for new people, without hassling those happy in their roles.
Social Media Marketing Certification Exam Cost
It’s a bit less than Hootsuite University, but with an annual, up-front fee. It gives you 12 months of being listed in the professionals directory. The certificate is yours forever. At $199, it’s less than AMA or PRSA membership and for social media managers in Seattle a bucket-load more useful.
Who is Social Media Marketing Certification for?
Entry to mid-level social media marketers. It’s very tactical, with an introduction to strategy. It would also be useful to marketers who dabble in social media, but I imagine the cost is a tad prohibitive. Of course you can still do the courses for free.
For more experienced social media marketers, Hootsuite has partnered with Newhouse Syracuse University for the Advanced Social Media Strategy course. It’s more in depth, and more expensive, and also on the Podium.
Do you have a social media certification? Have you done some training? Tell us about it in the comments. If you want a review of the Newhouse course, I’m open to a scholarship.