One of my favorite things to do in my free time (besides binge reality shows Love Island and Vanderpump Rules) is to take free marketing courses online. Industries change all the time, especially in marketing, and keeping fresh up on my skills is something I've found to be not only vital to excelling at my job, but really fun.
The best thing about online courses is that I usually don't pay a cent for them, and the ones I do pay for are worth it.
Here are some of the best marketing courses you can sign up for right now, and yes, most of them are completely free and industry-recognized.
Best Social Media Marketing Courses
Platform: HubSpot Academy
Why it's great: Inbound marketing course
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.
I took it my senior year of college and found the course — which is less than five hours long — to be flexible with a busy schedule. It covers essential topics such as measuring ROI, extending reach, and social media content creation, as well as social listening.
Platform: Google Digital Garage
Why it's great: SEO, Digital Certificate
Google's social media certification has over 300,000 students and provides courses in social media, mobile marketing, SEO, and web optimization. The courses will go into depth about paid and organic search, and how to develop the most optimized web pages, so users can find content easier.
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.
3. PPC 101
Why it's great: Course in ads and social media skills
Wordstream has a great thing going here: their PPC 101 course is completely free and offers modules set up to teach its students about digital advertising. The course defines PPC, keywords, ad groups, text ads, conversion rate optimization, and provides a walkthrough of Google AdWords.
This course also has a marketing section, which will show you how to integrate social media and digital ads. Wordstream offers advertising software that has access to thousands of accounts spending billions on PPC ads. The course came about because Wordstream found that SMBs struggle particularly with managing social media ads cost-effectively.
Platform: Constant Contact
Why it's great: Beginner training in social media
Constant Contact's video-based social media training is designed for beginners. At the end of each lesson, the site gives you 10 relevant blog post resources to refer back to.
As an email marketing software, Constant Contact's course focuses on how to integrate email with social media marketing. It also covers Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Why it's great: Google-approved SEO course
Alison is a site that provides numerous free courses, like the Diploma in E-Business one linked above. It will take under 10 hours to complete and focuses on building a strong e-commerce strategy, plus how to optimize that content on Google.
A LinkedIn-compatible certificate is included at completion, and the course has nearly 80,000 students. You'll learn how to make an online marketing plan, integrate keywords into social media, and get training in Google's Ad technology.
Platform: Hootsuite Academy
Why it's great: Beginner-level social media training
Hootsuite's social media marketing training is led by its senior marketing managers and directors. The site itself offers social media scheduling software with clientele such as Pfizer and P&G. In this course, you'll be taken through modules showing you how to develop a full social media strategy.
Hootsuite will also dive into growing an online community and developing content to engage audiences. Plus, this course is only six hours and self-paced — meaning you can fit it into your busy schedule.
Price: Two months free
Why it's great: Build your own courseload from industry experts
Skillshare is a unique platform. It's a site completely dedicated to experts providing classes on over 15,000 courses, from knitting to creating a perfect viral video. On Skillshare, you can pick classes that suit your interests and save classes to refer to later.
I particularly enjoyed Buffer's Introduction into Social Strategy. These courses went into depth about how to make impactful content and organizing it for clients or personal use.
I enjoy Skillshare because of the specificity of the classes offered. There are numerous social media and digital marketing classes, as well as graphic design and email marketing classes. Having a 60-day trial takes the pressure off cramming as much knowledge as possible in one go, and you can cancel your membership at any time.
Platform: HubSpot Academy
Why it's great: Quick lesson on digital ads
HubSpot offers single lessons as well as full certification courses. This digital advertising lesson shows you how to fit digital ads into inbound strategy, and how those ads can be stunning on social media.
If you have 30 minutes of free time in your day, you can start and complete this course. Taught by one of HubSpot's very own product marketers, it uses five different videos to give you an overview of how to use ads effectively and efficiently.
Why it's great: Build industry relationships
GenM's classes are designed to be more like a college course. They are completely online and are a three-month, 10-hour-a-week program — ideal if you have a little more time on your hands.
GenM matches you to a verified business owner based on industry and skill level, and you receive one-on-one mentorship. This is a great opportunity to build industry relationships while learning about social media practices in the real world.
Why it's great: Lifetime access to course
Udemy's social media course goes from beginner to advanced in skill level. While the website has a few different courses, this one focuses on social media foundations. It will walk you through understanding the basics of social media platforms, blogging, strategy building, and using unique features of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to your advantage.
Currently, over 29,000 students are enrolled in the course which is rated 4.2 stars. Udemy constantly updates their content, so you don't have to worry about whether the information you're learning is outdated. Plus, once you purchase the course, there's no expiration date.
Platform: Boot Camp Digital
Why it's great: Industry-preferred training, bonus free course
Digital Marketing 101 by Boot Camp Digital 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 a 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 access once purchased. It provides a digital marketing template, ROI information, benchmarking, and a bonus free digital tools course.
Platform: University of Illinois
Why it's great: MBA course with industry professionals
University of Illinois's Social Media Certification is a beginner-level course that is also a part of their MBA degree. Completion of the course earns you an online certification and robust knowledge of digital marketing analytics, principles, and strategies.
In true college fashion, the course ends with a capstone project with university partner Grainger. You’ll be one of the over 40,000 students already enrolled and receive lectures from professors such as the head of Google Analytics.
Platform: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Why it's great: Marketing course designed for professionals
Wharton's course is considered an intermediate dive into the intersection of social media and eCommerce. It's a self-paced, six-week class that demands three hours of your time each week. This course will provide you with an understanding of eCommerce and the digital economy.
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.
Platform: University of California, Davis
Why it's great: Content marketing specific
A course entirely based around content marketing sounds like a joy to me. In this online class offered by University of California, Davis, you and 36,000 other students will learn about creating a content marketing strategy, and the ecosystem surrounding it. You’ll also spend ample time working on strategic writing and framework.
And, you’ll learn about the different types of content marketing and how they’re an integral component of social media marketing. If you're like me, and this sounds write up your alley, consider checking out this course.
Why it's great: Social Media Masterclass
Rather than a complete level one course in social media, this offering, by Udemy is a Masterclass on the subject, uniquely centered around ethical digital marketing techniques. With 18,000 students, 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.
If you find that you can brush up on your social media marketing skills, this is an excellent place to start. Most classes are flexible to your schedule and don't require textbooks. Plus, I've found that courses like HubSpot's keep things engaging with diverse content and relatable language, so it's all about finding the one that's right for you.
Originally published Nov 11, 2019 4:00:00 AM, updated March 03 2020
Topics:Social Media Marketing