An average individual checks their smartphone about 140 to 160 times a day. But even before smartphones, desktops and laptops were extremely popular and emails began to be used on a large scale for the purpose of marketing. This was in the ‘90s. Fast-forward to today and it’s not just essential, but critical, for businesses to use social media for the promotion of their services and products. Not just that, there is a heavy reliance even by politicians, governments, celebrities as well as the traditional media who employ social media specialists/marketers to get their messages across.
As times have progressed the specialisation in social media marketing has acquired dimensions that are way beyond what an average person is able to fathom. It’s not just about getting your message out there but also managing search engine optimisation, which is now a profession unto itself, while also getting evaluation and reviews from consumers.
Reviews. Yes, reviews are of prime importance. Whether it’s going to a restaurant, booking a hotel room, buying a computer monitor and you name it, the consumer is savvy and will appraise the ratings and reports that are online before making a purchase. All of this, after you have made your endeavours to make your brand known.
All of the social media platforms have acquired their own unique and significant usefulness. They often reach out to different demographics and audiences and thus businesses, politicians, governments and others for each of the platforms, depending upon the reach and the resources they have at their disposal.
Qualifying in marketing and business management helps. At the same time, there are no specific qualifications that are set out for social media specialists. Proven ability to harness the power of social media and achieve outstanding conversion rates is what is essential.
Salaries and compensations being offered are quite excellent. The average compensation paid to a social media specialist in the U.S. is $63,000 and often much higher depending upon ability.
Ninety-two per cent of the businesses are said to be of firm conviction that social media has become a prerequisite and therefore they hire the best they can afford.
Though it’s not an entirely stress-free profession, the compensations and rewards are more often than not, worth it. Once you have made your career choice of being a social media marketer you will begin acquiring the skills and educating yourself to keep pace with the constantly changing environment. While you are building the brands for your employers and clients you will keep building your personal brand too.
Just as your brands must be seen, so must your personal brand for potential employers and clients to know about your accomplishments.
Given the significance, let’s have a look at some of the free online courses on offer:
Social Media Marketing Course
Being offered by Oxford Home Study Centre, this is a short course – lasting 20 hours – does not have any entry requirements. The programme takes you through the basics of social media, teaches you to strategise and the use of different platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Social Media Marketing
The course, offered by Hotspot Academy, teaches you to develop effective strategy. Spread over four hours, the course has right lessons, 39 videos and 29 quizzes.
Search Engine Optimisation Specialisation
The programme, run by the University of California, Davis, is set at a beginner level and you shall have free access for seven days. It covers methods to optimise website content, the theory behind Google search and other search engine algorithms including on-page and off-page optimisation, optimising for local and international audiences, conducting search focused website audits and aligning business with overall strategy.
SEO Training Course
Online Marketing Strategies
This course lasts 10 to 12 weeks requiring an effort of 8 to 10 hours each week through the support of Curtin University. It is fairly extensive and teaches you the use of basic e-marketing tools, how you can apply marketing strategies such as segmentation, targeting, positioning, analyse the consumer exchange process and its outcomes, evaluation of products, pricing, distribution and communication marketing functions, use of digital analytics and more.
Managing Disruptive Change
This course is offered by RWTH Aachen University, which is ranked as one of the best universities in Europe and the world. It teaches you to spot specific disruption patterns and their potential sources, assess the degree of the disruptions and helps you choose appropriate countermeasures from a toolkit of potential actions. The length of the course is six weeks and will require that you put in an effort of 6-8 hours each week.
Reputation Management in the Digital World
This is another good course from Curtin University. Managing of reputation is paramount in any business and, according to surveys; a consumer reads around 10 reviews before trusting a business. They are also reported to invest almost 14 minutes before making the decision to buy. The programme takes you through the intricacies of how to manage online reputation. The length of the course is six weeks and will require that you put in an effort of 3-4 hours per week.
Photos: Shutterstock / Edited by: Martina Advaney