20 Best Social Media Marketing Courses to Take Online [Free & Paid]

Free Course: Social Media Certification
Kayla Carmicheal
Kayla Carmicheal

Published:

Taking a social media marketing course will help you level-up your existing skills or jumpstart a career in marketing management. And this is a good time: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 10% rate of job growth is expected for social media marketing managers from 2020 to 2030.

Woman at computer taking social media marketing course

To help you stand out from your competition in the hiring process, as well as feel entirely confident in your ability to perform in your social media role, you'll want to take a social media course and understand the basics of digital marketing.

Click Here to Take HubSpot Academy's Social Media Marketing Certification  Course

But which social media training programs are worth the investment? In this blog post, I'll cover some of the best social media marketing courses that are available today.

Social Media Training Courses For Beginners

I remember the first time I hit “publish” on a social media post for a client. I was a public relations student with an internship where I was basically the only member of the marketing team. Quite a welcome to the industry.

That was ten years ago, but I still remember the victorious feeling of pulling off my first social media marketing campaigns at that internship.

A lot has changed, but I‘m still learning — and all social media professionals are still on this learning journey with you. That’s why I‘m so excited for you to start learning today.

Many of these courses are completely free and offer an industry-recognized certification. Let’s jump into how to build an effective social media strategy with these beginner courses.

1. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by Google

social media training course from Google

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Creator: Google

Platform: Google Digital Garage

Price: Free

Skill Level: Beginner

One-Sentence Summary: Better understand digital marketing basics across a wide variety of disciplines, including social media marketing.

Google's digital marketing certification has over 300,000 students and includes two social media modules to jumpstart your social media marketing knowledge. It also provides digital marketing courses in mobile marketing, SEO, content marketing, and web optimization.

The courses explain paid and organic search and teach you how to develop search-engine-optimized web pages.

Learning how to optimize pages for search on a popular search engine (for free) sounds like a win-win. At the completion of the course, you'll receive a digital certificate you can add to your LinkedIn profile and resume.

You’ll learn:

  • How to master a wide array of digital marketing basics, such as search optimization, content marketing, and local marketing
  • How to get started with social media if you’ve never done it before
  • How to set goals for your chosen social media platforms
  • How to create a sustainable long-term social strategy

Recommended for:

Because this course covers everything related to digital marketing, it’s recommended for true beginners who’ve never been in marketing before and who’d like to learn a bit of everything (including social media marketing).

Free Social Media Content Calendar Template

Download the free template and user guide to manage your social media posts and strategy.

  • Coordinate campaigns
  • Increase your reach
  • Measure engagement
  • Plan your posts
Learn more

    Download Free

    All fields are required.

    You're all set!

    Click this link to access this resource at any time.

    2. Social Media Specialization by Northwestern University

    social media training course from Northwestern

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    Creator: Northwestern University

    Platform: Coursera

    Price: Free

    Skill Level: Beginner

    One-Sentence Summary: Learn everything you need to get started in social media marketing.

    Coursera is a great educational resource for beginners and those who are new to the world of social media marketing.

    This course by Northwestern University teaches you the social strategies you need to expand your reach and grow your followers. It touches upon social listening and lead nurturing, which most other courses don’t touch upon.

    This is important because lead nurturing is often associated with email marketing, but it can also be done (and should be done) over social media.

    You’ll learn:

    • What social media is
    • Why you need to create a social listening strategy
    • How to implement nurturing strategies in your social media marketing

    Recommended for:

    Because of its focus on lead nurturing and its foundational modules, we recommend this course for non-marketing professionals and early-stage founders who are interested in starting a social media strategy to grow their customer base.

    3. Social Media Marketing Course by Acadium

    social media training course from acadium

    Image Source

    Creator: Acadium

    Platform: Acadium

    Price: Free

    Skill Level: Beginner

    One-Sentence Summary: Get a full understanding of social media marketing while developing real-world experience in an apprenticeship.

    Acadium is an apprenticeship and mentorship program — there are a number of lessons within the social media marketing course that you can take before, after, or during your apprenticeship.

    The courses offered cover an array of social media marketing topics, including how to set up profiles on your chosen platforms and how to save time as you scale your social media efforts.

    You’ll learn:

    • How to get started with the most popular social media platforms, including Facebook, X, and Instagram.
    • How to publish posts.
    • How to stand out from your competitors.

    Recommended for:

    We recommend this course for true beginners who not only need a foundation of social media marketing in general, but also mentorship from Acadium’s group of mentors. Because it offers highly basic knowledge, we don’t recommend it for current marketers or social media managers.

    4. Social Media Marketing Foundations by Brian Honigman

    social media training course from Brian Honigman

    Image Source

    Creator: Brian Honigman

    Platform: LinkedIn Learning

    Price: Free

    Skill Level: Beginner

    One-Sentence Summary: Learn the foundations of social media marketing, with a focus on audience targeting and business-to-customer interaction.

    This foundational course by Brian Honigman, a marketing consultant, offers similar content to the other beginner-level courses on this list, with a special focus on interacting with customers through your business’ preferred social networks.

    It also includes instruction on using social media for sales and experimenting with your techniques.

    You’ll learn:

    • What social media marketing is.
    • How to use social media for customer interactions.
    • How to attribute metrics to business results.

    Recommended for:

    We recommend this course for marketing professionals, salespeople, and service professionals who want to take a customer-centric approach to your company’s social media strategy.

    5. E-Marketing Specialization by the University of California, Irvine

    social media training course from irvine

    Image Source

    Creator: University of California, Irvine

    Platform: Coursera

    Price: Free

    Skill Level: Beginner

    One-Sentence Summary: Start with the basics and then scale up to paid advertising and develop a mobile-first marketing strategy.

    This social media training covers the fundamentals of social media, but accelerates to cover more complex topics like digital advertising and applying testing and analytics to your strategy.

    A unique part of this course is mobile-first marketing — you'll be a very valuable member of your marketing team if you can bring these fresh insights by U of C into your strategy.

    You'll learn:

    • How to choose which marketing channels to focus your strategy on.
    • The fundamentals of using social analytics tools.
    • The basics of mobile-first marketing.

    Recommended for:

    Marketers looking to use social media to complement the rest of their digital marketing strategy.

    6. Social Media Marketing by The Open University

    Social Media Marketing by The Open University screenshot

    Image Source

    Creator: The Open University

    Platform: The Open University

    Price: ​​£200.00 (approximately $250)

    Skill Level: Beginner

    One-Sentence Summary: Learn to create social media engaging content that will help your brand achieve its marketing goals.

    This is a paid course that allows you to learn at your own pace while still interacting with co-learners.

    The first module covers big-picture topics like user journey mapping and misleading data, which is a unique focus for a beginner course.

    One of the points of this online course is “What differentiates great social media?”

    The passion and expertise really shine through with an outline this in-depth.

    You'll learn:

    • How to map the user journey.
    • Drawbacks and risks to different social media platforms.
    • What separates great social media content from just good content.

    Recommended for:

    Given how much material this course covers, social media managers or new social media team members could really benefit from this training.

    Free Social Media Content Calendar Template

    Download the free template and user guide to manage your social media posts and strategy.

    • Coordinate campaigns
    • Increase your reach
    • Measure engagement
    • Plan your posts
    Learn more

      Download Free

      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      7. Social Media Marketing by Great Learning

      Social Media Marketing by Great Learning screenshot

      Image Source

      Creator: Great Learning

      Platform: Great Learning

      Price: Free

      Skill Level: Beginner

      One-Sentence Summary: Explore the potential that community and brand advocates have in your social strategy.

      Starting with the basics, this course quickly ramps up to discuss the more complicated side of social media, such as storytelling, cross-channel campaigns, and leveraging chatbots.

      This course also touches on community management and working with brand advocates to elevate your social media presence.

      You'll learn:

      • Planning and content publishing.
      • Basics of advertising and campaign monitoring.
      • Fundamentals of fostering community.

      Recommended for:

      With 1.5 hours of training, this is a great beginner course for anyone who needs to dip their feet in the social media world but isn't immediately developing and executing their own strategy.

      8. Social Media Marketing in Practice Specialization by the Digital Marketing Institute Creator: Digital Marketing Institute

      Social Media Marketing in Practice Specialization screenshot

      Image Source

      Creator: Digital Marketing Institute

      Platform: Coursera

      Price: Free

      Skill Level: Free

      One-Sentence Summary: Understand what content stands out on social and how to get your viewers to engage.

      The first half of this social media training focuses on the fundamentals and developing a content strategy. Then, the course dives into individual platforms. It covers Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, X, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

      With an emphasis on breaking through the noise, storytelling, and building relationships with viewers, this course helps viewers craft social media posts that further their overall marketing plan.

      You'll learn:

      • How user behavior is changing, and how marketers can adapt to meet consumers where they are.
      • Specific opportunities and challenges of individual platforms.
      • How to use the buyer’s journey to create content that influences viewers.

      Recommended for:

      Budding digital marketers who want platform deep-dives before committing to a specific social channel.

      Social Media Management Training For Mid-Career Professionals

      I‘ve done social media for local government offices, nation-wide organizations like the American Red Cross, and countless clients.

      One thing I’m sure of? Platforms will never stop changing, and I'll never be done learning and improving my skills. Social media training is meant for professionals at all levels, not just newbies.

      Especially since the job of an entire social media team is often given to one person in under-staffed organizations. Digital marketers need to regularly upskill just to keep up.

      With these resources, you can do so from home and often for free. Let's dive into these resources.

      9. Social Media Certification by HubSpot

      Social Media Marketing hubspot course highlights

      Creator: HubSpot

      Platform: HubSpot Academy

      Price: Free

      Skill Level: Intermediate

      One-Sentence Summary: Learn how to create an inbound social media marketing strategy.

      HubSpot's social media certification course is a robust program designed to help you attract customers and partners, and build brand loyalty. Because social media is the key to inbound marketing, this course ties in the two concepts seamlessly.

      The course is flexible enough so that you can work on it on your time. It covers essential topics such as measuring ROI, extending reach, social media content creation, and social listening.

      You might also select to take specific lessons within the HubSpot Academy course — for instance, this one on Social Media Advertising.

      We also have an incredibly easy-to-use social media management tool that will help you set all of these ideas in motion.

      Get a glimpse here:

      You’ll learn:

      • How to develop a social media marketing strategy to generate brand awareness for your business.
      • How to use social media listening to find out what works best for your followers.
      • How to extend your reach on social and leverage influencers to attract new audiences.
      • How to get the most out of your social media investments.

      Recommended for:

      Because this course immediately jumps into social media strategy, we recommend it for new social media marketing managers who’ve recently been promoted from a junior-level role. Some experience in social media is recommended.

      10. PPC University by WordStream

      Social Ads 101 training by WordStream

      Image Source

      Creator: WordStream

      Platform: WordStream

      Price: Free

      Skill Level: Intermediate

      One-Sentence Summary: Learn about social ads on the major platforms including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn.

      WordStream offers the necessary educational resources to develop a strong understanding of social media advertisements.

      This includes social media ads on a variety of platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and LinkedIn.

      There's also information about why and how to advertise on social media, as well as education about best practices while advertising across these platforms.

      Lastly, you'll learn about social media ad metrics and social shopping — this way, you can effectively measure your success as well as reach your audience when and where they're ready to make a purchase.

      You’ll learn:

      • How to get started with pay-per-click marketing across a wide variety of platforms, including social media.
      • How to create a social ad strategy for your preferred platform.
      • Why you should invest in social media ads.
      • How to measure your success with ad metrics.

      Recommended for:

      We recommend this course for social media marketing managers who are interested in launching a paid ads strategy on social media.

      It’s also a great fit for you if you prefer to learn at your own pace by reading written guides (as opposed to watching videos).

      11. Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate by Google

      Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate screenshot

      Image Source

      Creator: Google Career Certificates

      Platform: Coursera

      Price: Free

      Skill Level: Intermediate

      One-Sentence Summary: Learn how to go from having no digital marketing presence to building a loyal customer base online.

      This course may be labeled “beginner” on Coursera, but we‘ve listed it in the intermediate category thanks to its depth and breadth.

      With more than 150 hours of training materials, Google’s training process takes students from zero experience to generating leads, analyzing data, making sales, and fostering customer loyalty online.

      For context: if you spend ten hours a week working through this training, it will take you more than six months to complete. Successful students will get a comprehensive understanding of developing a successful social media strategy.

      You'll learn:

      • How to create engaging content that turns “likes” into leads.
      • What social analytics to use to build a loyal customer base.
      • How to build long-lasting relationships with viewers.

      Recommended for:

      This social media training goes way beyond social media alone. It‘s ideal for anyone who’s responsible for being a one-person marketing team.

      Free Social Media Content Calendar Template

      Download the free template and user guide to manage your social media posts and strategy.

      • Coordinate campaigns
      • Increase your reach
      • Measure engagement
      • Plan your posts
      Learn more

        Download Free

        All fields are required.

        You're all set!

        Click this link to access this resource at any time.

        12. Foundations of Marketing Analytics Specialization by Emory University

        Foundations of Marketing Analytics Specialization by Emory University screenshot

        Image Source

        Creator: Emory University

        Platform: Coursera

        Price: Free

        Skill Level: Intermediate

        One-Sentence Summary: Learn what data matters when building and adapting your social media strategies, and how to use it to your advantage.

        This social media training program by Emory has a strong focus on data and analytics.

        This course doesn’t focus on individual social media platforms but instead teaches you how to use marketing data and analytics to gain insights and make decisions.

        With a nine-hour model specifically on social media analytics, students will learn how to use social media listening platforms as well as assess data and make decisions.

        You'll learn:

        • What are surveys, and how can they be leveraged to improve your social strategy.
        • Which analytics should be used to guide your strategy, and how to leverage social listening.
        • How to use marketing data to forecast consumer interests.

        Recommended for:

        Digital marketers who have already tried beginner-level social strategies and now need help analyzing data, making decisions, and developing a content strategy with certainty.

        13. Advanced Content and Social Tactics to Optimize SEO by the University of California, Davis

        Advanced Content and Social Tactics to Optimize SEO by University of California, Davis screenshot

        Image Source

        Creator: University of California, Davis

        Platform: Coursera

        Price: Free

        Skill Level: Intermediate

        One-Sentence Summary: Learn about the more complex side of social media marketing, like influencer marketing and advanced content strategies.

        Influencers live on social media, but engaging with them isn’t a beginner initiative.

        This course teaches you how to build successful relationships with influencers.

        Additionally, it teaches more advanced content strategies that help further SEO and improve website traffic.

        Along with video training, this course also comes with discussion prompts and assignments to help students understand the material.

        You'll learn:

        • What potential social media has for driving website traffic.
        • How influencers can bolster a company’s online visibility in conjunction with other social initiatives.
        • Understand your target audience on a deeper level.

        Recommended for:

        Marketers who are ready to work with influencers and grow website traffic.

        14. Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content by the University of Pennsylvania

        Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content by the University of Pennsylvania screenshot

        Image Source

        Creator: University of Pennsylvania

        Platform: Coursera

        Price: Free

        Skill Level: Intermediate

        One-Sentence Summary: Understand viral content and how you can leverage predictable patterns in your own social strategy.

        “Why did THAT post go so viral?!” It’s a thought every digital marketer has had. Now we can finally get some answers in this course by the University of Pennsylvania.

        The course description shares that word-of-mouth information is 10x as effective as typical advertising, and course Module 3 explains how marketers can gain influence to improve brand visibility.

        You'll learn:

        • The psychology behind social networks and how they unfold on social media.
        • What all viral ideas have in common.
        • The power of word of mouth, and how to harness this in your social media strategy.

        Recommended for:

        Brands who have their target audience, offer, and funnel figured out, and are ready for the (LOTS of) eyeballs.

        Social Media Marketing Training For Entrepreneurs

        In the age of personal branding, we're all marketers.

        Entrepreneurs take this on in a formal capacity when they‘re in charge of their own business strategy.

        Whether you’re targeting one specific social media platform or you want to mobilize all of your social media accounts to help spread your message, these courses will help.

        15. Online Advertising & Social Media by the University of Maryland

        social media marketing course from university of maryland screenshot

        Image Source

        Creator: University of Maryland

        Platform: edX

        Price: Free

        Skill Level: Intermediate

        One-Sentence Summary: Learn about online advertising, sentiment analysis, and social network analysis.

        On edX, you can pick classes that suit your interests and save classes to refer to later. There are a variety of business topics you can take classes on.

        This course from the University of Maryland focuses on online advertising, and specifically on social media advertising.

        Plus, it includes instruction on data analysis so that you can make informed decisions when refining your social strategy over time.

        You’ll learn:

        • Which platforms you can advertise on.
        • How to measure the success of your campaigns.
        • How to analyze your chosen social media networks.
        • How to delve into Big Data for your social efforts.

        Recommended for:

        We recommend this course for social media marketers who’d like to launch an advertising strategy. In addition, we recommend it for new social media analysts who need a strong foundation in social data analysis.

        Free Social Media Content Calendar Template

        Download the free template and user guide to manage your social media posts and strategy.

        • Coordinate campaigns
        • Increase your reach
        • Measure engagement
        • Plan your posts
        Learn more

          Download Free

          All fields are required.

          You're all set!

          Click this link to access this resource at any time.

          16. Digital Marketing 101 by Boot Camp Institute

          social media marketing course from boot camp institute screenshot

          Image Source

          Creator: Boot Camp Institute

          Platform: Boot Camp Digital

          Price: $197/year or $97/month

          Skill Level: Beginner

          One-Sentence Summary: Learn about digital marketing and work through a comprehensive section on social media marketing and strategy.

          Digital Marketing 101 by Boot Camp Institute is an impactful, video-led training that takes you on a deep dive into the basics of digital marketing and using it for social media. This is beginner-level training and can be completed in six hours.

          Boot Camp's clientele includes Nike, NASA, GE, and Georgia-Pacific, and the platform gives buyers unlimited one-year access once purchased.

          It provides a digital marketing template, ROI information, benchmarking, and a bonus-free digital tools course.

          You’ll learn:

          • How to get started with digital marketing across a variety of mediums and channels.
          • Why you should create a social media strategy.
          • Which social media trends to keep an eye on.

          Recommended for:

          Because of its generalist approach, we recommend it for non-marketing professionals who’d like to learn all digital marketing strategies, including social media marketing.

          17. Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, Social Media, and E-Commerce by The Wharton School

          social media marketing course from wharton online screenshot

          Image Source

          Creator: The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

          Platform: edX

          Price: $585

          Skill Level: Intermediate

          One-Sentence Summary: Marketing course designed for business professionals.

          Wharton‘s course is considered an intermediate dive into the intersection of digital marketing, social media marketing, and ecommerce. It’s a self-paced, six-week class that requires three hours of your time each week.

          This course is structured specifically for marketing professionals, small business owners, and consumers who want to know social media techniques. You'll learn how to produce marketing campaigns that are effective for your business.

          Note: This course is offered in live cohorts. You’ll need to wait for enrollment to open.

          You’ll learn:

          • How to use demographics and behaviors to create a digital strategy.
          • How to interact with customers and potential buyers across multiple channels.
          • How to leverage tools and tactics to power-up your digital marketing.
          • How to delve into new media platforms, including social media.

          Recommended for:

          While this is a foundational course, we recommend it for experienced business professionals who’d like to expand their skill set to include marketing skills and tactics.

          18. The Strategy of Content Marketing by University of California, Davis

          social media marketing course from university of california davis screenshot

          Image Source

          Creator: University of California, Davis

          Platform: Coursera

          Price: Free

          Skill Level: Intermediate

          One-Sentence Summary: Learn about the power of integrating your content marketing and social media marketing strategies.

          Social media marketing is a type of content marketing, and this course can help you weave both into a more comprehensive strategy.

          In this online class offered by the University of California, Davis, you'll learn how to create a content marketing strategy and develop an understanding of the ecosystem surrounding that strategy.

          Ample time will also be spent working on strategic writing and framing.

          The different types of content marketing will be reviewed, along with how they’re integral to social media marketing. There are five weeks worth of material paired with videos, exercises, readings, and quizzes.

          You’ll learn:

          • What the content marketing ecosystem is.
          • How to use the “7A Framework” to power-up your content.
          • How to tailor your content to each phase of the buyer’s journey.

          Recommended for:

          We recommend this course for social media marketers who’d like to approach social media marketing with a content-centric perspective.

          Free Social Media Content Calendar Template

          Download the free template and user guide to manage your social media posts and strategy.

          • Coordinate campaigns
          • Increase your reach
          • Measure engagement
          • Plan your posts
          Learn more

            Download Free

            All fields are required.

            You're all set!

            Click this link to access this resource at any time.

            19. Social Media Marketing Masterclass by Mark Timberlake and Philomena Timberlake

            social media marketing course from mark and philomena timberlake screenshot

            Image Source

            Creator: Mark Timberlake and Philomena Timberlake

            Platform: Udemy

            Price: $129.99 one-time fee or $16.58/mo

            Skill Level: Beginner

            One-Sentence Summary: Learn how to build a social media marketing strategy and schedule for your unique business.

            Rather than a complete level one course in social media, this offering is a masterclass on the subject, uniquely centered around ethical digital marketing techniques.

            You'll learn how to set up a powerful marketing strategy and a schedule that aligns with accomplishing business goals.

            You'll also dive into how social media marketing integrates with your business, email marketing, and building an online community. This course can be completed in 20 hours, and gives you a certificate of completion at its end.

            You’ll learn:

            • How to create actionable content on your website and social media.
            • How to leverage social media communities to increase brand awareness.
            • Which social media platforms you can use to market your business.
            • How to use your phone for social media photography.

            Recommended for:

            This masterclass doesn’t cover just social media marketing, but SEO and blogging. For that reason, we recommend it for new marketers who’d like to expand their skill set as they dive into their new role.

            20. Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate by Meta

            social media marketing course from meta screenshot

            Image Source

            Creator: Meta (Facebook)

            Platform: Coursera

            Price: Free

            Skill Level: Beginner

            One-Sentence Summary: Learn about social media marketing and advertising techniques from Meta.

            Meta’s social media marketing certificate includes the essentials you need to jumpstart your social media marketing knowledge, with added coursework on advertising.

            It also offers a Meta-centric approach, so if you know you’d like to advertise on Facebook and Instagram, this is the right course for you.

            You’ll learn:

            • How to create a social media management strategy.
            • How to begin social media advertising on Meta’s platforms.
            • How to measure the results from your efforts.

            Recommended for:

            We recommend this course for professionals who want to get foundational knowledge in social media marketing and who know they’ll be investing into Meta’s social media platforms.

            Find Your Ideal Social Media Marketing Course

            Which social media training course appeals to you the most? It's amazing how many free courses are at our fingertips (with no graded assignments or fear of not knowing the answer).

            Social media marketing can be extremely powerful when done right.

            Understanding how to apply the most effective and up-to-date strategies will help you stand out from other social media marketers and strategists so you can propel your career.

            So, identify the right course for your experience level, budget, and goals — then get started learning.

            Editor's note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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