Social media forced digital marketing to evolve. Consumers now learn about the latest products and services from their social feeds. However, not all social networks are created equal. For example, an ad that performs well on Twitter may perform horribly on Facebook. That's why it's important to understand how each platform works in order to curate advertising content on each site.
Fortunately, learning the ropes of social media marketing doesn't require a business degree. Instead, this is a trade you can learn entirely online. Here are a few online resources to kick-start your learning efforts.
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From the masterminds behind LinkedIn, Lynda compiles video courses from expert teachers that can be viewed on any device. Membership begins at $19.99 a month, which gains you unlimited access to all of the site's content. This site offers a range of courses from the basics, such as Facebook for Business, to more niche and advanced topics, like Social Media for Government and Corporate Video Weekly. Fortunately, you may already be eligible for a free membership, especially if you're a solopreneur starting out. Check with your local library to see if they offer a free membership with your library card.
edX – which also runs mooc.org – is a massive open online course (MOOC) provider. Many of the courses are self-paced but follow a more traditional classroom feel compared to a DIY approach. However, even classes with a start and end date allow folks to access and interact with content after the course has ended. Notable courses include Reputation Management in a Digital World by Curtin University (self-paced) and Social Media Marketing by Boston University (which begins on April 18, 2018). Membership is free.
Coursera has also compiled many MOOCs from top universities, such as Yale University and Stanford. Membership is free, but some courses require payment. There is also the option to pay for a certification, indicating you've successfully completed a course. For instance, Coursera offers Social Media Marketing Specialization from Northeastern University, which begins on February 12, 2018, and runs for six weeks.
Similar to Lynda, Udemy instructors are industry leaders rather than established academics. Although with Udemy you pay for each course individually rather than with a monthly membership, there are more timely, specialized selections to choose from, such as Facebook Ads and Facebook Marketing Mystery Guide 2018 and Instagram Marketing 2018: A Step-By-Step for 10,000 Followers. Plus, many courses are under $20.
Unlike the other sites mentioned above, Skillshare is creator-focused. In other words, anyone can submit a course to Skillshare. As a result, the content is much more personalized. For instance, Brian Peters, the digital marketing strategist at Buffer, offers his own Introduction to Social Media Strategy course. Membership to Skillshare is free, but access to certain content requires a Premium membership, which costs $15 a month.