Social media is more than just funny memes and cat videos. Today it’s where consumers learn about, engage with and buy new products. Where they get to know brands, and develop loyalties that can last a lifetime.
But so many businesses still lack the right skills and resources in-house to use these platforms properly, and so many waste time creating the wrong content and getting terrible results.
Fortunately, most of the main platforms have developed courses for those in business to learn social media skills from the ground up. And there are other resources too, as the online earning sector has grown considerably in recent years.
Of course, nothing beats face-to-face social media training courses, particularly when seeking to gain more strategic insight and see how a practising marketer uses the platforms. But if you’re a self-starter looking for a thorough introduction to the key topics, below is a list of the best free online resources for digital marketers.
Blueprint is a helpful resource for businesses using Facebook to generate leads and enhance their brand. It is essentially a platform that offers free training on how to use Facebook as a digital marketer, covering a wealth of relevant social media topics.
Different courses are available that will address niche questions that Facebook marketers face. For example, you can learn how the choice of images in your Facebook ads make a difference and even get recommendations of apps that can improve those images.
All of the courses available at Blueprint are made to help with Facebook marketing. Yet, some of the skills picked up on these courses are transferable and will come in useful in other aspects of social media marketing.
Another platform-specific marketing resource is Twitter’s Flight School. Just like Blueprint is for Facebook, it’s a place where marketers and business owners can go to obtain a wealth of information on making ads on Twitter, managing campaigns and creating videos.
It will enable learners to grasp the basics of using Twitter to promote products and services in digestible steps. Again, the information here is made for this specific social media platform, but many of the skills can become useful in other areas of online marketing.
A popular source of expert knowledge, across the creative disciplines is Skillshare. There’s a paid subscription but many courses are free too. The site houses a wide range of free lessons covering topics from illustration and watercolour painting through web development and movie editing.
You can also learn about influencer marketing, with my detailed course on the topic there. It takes you through the entire campaign process step by step with on-screen demonstrations and a project for you to download and complete as you go.
Skillshare also has an app available to download on both Google Play and the App Store, meaning you can stream classes and improve your social media marketing while on the move.
LinkedIn Learning makes the list of free social media marketing resources but only just – by 30 days exactly.
The professional social media platform offers over 15,000 courses and many of them are applicable to digital and social media marketing. Yet, it must be noted that only the first month is free (at the time of writing) and then you will have to pay per month to continue using the lessons. Cancellation is required or you will automatically be enrolled into the paid package.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot you could take advantage of in the first month. Plenty of opportunities to develop social media marketing skills can be found in lessons such as Photoshop and data analysis.
In 2019, it was reported that YouTube is the third most-watched TV channel in the UK. Younger generations are spending more time on video streaming sites than picking up the TV remote, enjoying the depth of content and algorithmically personalised feeds tailored to their interests.
If you want to learn how to use YouTube as a marketer, or even just do a health check on your current channel, head on over to YouTube Creators.
The site is full of YouTube videos that will teach marketers how to optimise their channel and pass on valuable information. Content is predominantly aimed at everyone with a YouTube channel or considering one, but a lot of the information also comes in useful to digital marketers.
Google is helping businesses and solo professionals enhance their digital marketing skills through free courses on their Digital Garage. Some of the marketing courses are not tied to social media, but they do offer an eight-hour course that discusses how to make content go viral, namely Content, Advertising and Social IMC.
The Digital Garage is a fantastic point of call for newcomers to digital marketing due to their flagship Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Course which comes with a certificate upon completion.
Quintly is another excellent free social media marketing resource for newbies to this niche of digital marketing. They currently offer a course on social media analytics to help marketers understand how data is used within a successful social media campaign.
The course uses a combination of text and videos to cater to both learning styles and is easy to follow. For anyone looking to refresh their knowledge on social media analytics, this course is well worth checking out.
Where to Start?
The courses above are just some of the best free social media marketing courses available to date. There are many more options out there worth investigating. But with so many to choose from, where do you start?
Unless you have been charged with the responsibility of marketing from a specific social media channel, begin with courses that have transferable skills and knowledge. Once you have come to understand terms and processes, start to zone in on Twitter, Facebook and the rest of them.
If you would prefer face-to-face social media marketing lessons and seminars, take a look at my upcoming events or drop me a line about bespoke sessions, where you can go deeper and see how an expert marketer executes successful digital campaigns.