#FireDrillFridays: Should I Get My Social Media Certification?


I saw where you have a social media certification.

Is this something that's necessary or required in order to move up the ladder, or did you get yours because you don't have a masters degree or a traditional marketing background.

I'm trying to decide if I should get my social media certification or not. I've also thought about going back to school.

Any advice is helpful!



Social Sally (not her real name)


Hi Sally,

You're packing a lot in this question, but I'll do my best to break it down for you --

You are correct in that I don't have a traditional marketing background, at least education-wise. I attended a private, 4-year college and got my BA degree in Theatre and Communication Studies. When in school, however, I participated in several things that put me on the marketing path, such as managing publicity and box office sales for our theatre department for a few semesters and studying corporate and crisis communications.

You can read more about that here.

But social media as a discipline wasn't taught in schools at that point, so everything I've learned about social media in my career has been by actually doing the thing.

Experience can be incredibly valuable over book-learnin'.

When I wanted to learn social media marketing for businesses, I picked up some how-to guides, created a page for my dad's woodworking company at the time and studied the process as I went.

That was nearly ten years ago, and, if you know anything about social media, you know how much has changed since then.

For the past ten years, whenever I wanted to become good at something related to social media, I simply set aside time to learn it, and then applied what I knew. Sometimes that would take the form of webinars or conferences. Sometimes I would attend free or cheap classes and luncheons (local libraries and professional organizations are a treasure trove of continued education).

Other times, I would take a more formalized approach.

That was the case last year when, as a birthday present to myself, I applied for and received both the Hootsuite Social Media Certification and Facebook Blueprint Certification.

Although I already had experience running successful Facebook ad programs, the Blueprint certification solidified much about what I already knew, and it allowed me to better communicate with both media and creative partners in an agency setting.

A certification in social media is never necessary in order to have a successful social media career.

However -

If you're a visual learner or auditory learner, taking these types of formal classes a