I received recently an email invitation to take an online course offered by Hootsuite’s Podium, and decided to go through the course materials before taking their certification exam. The curriculum consisted of six courses and some 40-plus videos.
A few days after completing the course, I took the exam: A one-hour “social media marketing” exam to see if I could demonstrate “competency and proficiency in the tactical applications of the essential elements of social media marketing”.
And I passed. 🙂
Were the online courses helpful?
Personally, I found the inside tour of each social media tool (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) most helpful. Some of the under-the-hood explanations about how each application can most effectively reach the widest possible audience helped me separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to discerning which communications strategy could be more effective with which social tool, without falling into a “copy cat” trap.
Some of the content was easy for me, because the strategic elements of effective communications haven’t really changed since I received my degree in 2002. Communications is still about establishing measurable goals and objectives, understanding your audience(s) and creating messages that jibe with both.
A lot of the course materials included general lessons in communications strategy, which I still use today; so, it’s possible that I might have passed the exam without having followed the course material. But I’m a believer in life-long learning, so I don’t object to sitting through classes and taking in knowledge.
Overall, taking the course and the exam reminds me that my Master’s degree and what I’ve learned is not irrelevant, and is, in fact, the basis for the popularity of the apps we integrate in our communications plans today!
Ready to get certified? Or, at least, be certifiable?
I think it’s important to note that Podium in no way encouraged me to write this blog post, nor are they paying me to endorse their courses. But I am more than happy to do so.
As I mentioned before, the course curriculum is free, so you can take the courses without taking (and paying to take) the certification exam at the end. The curriculum is divided into six content modules, which are further broken down into bite-sized videos (no longer than three minutes each). Each module also comes with some course materials that you can refer to for more detail–or for your own projects.
The way the course is structured, you can decide to go it slow and spend no more than 15 minutes on learning each day — or you can power through all the content in one weekend. I went for something in between. (My plate’s pretty full.)
You’re never too old to learn!