Social Media Education & Certification – Yes or No?


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Education and certification is sometimes controversially discussed in the social media space. And there are well articulated pros and cons.

There are hundreds of free webinar and thousands of great tips from social media experts who are freely available on the Internet. In addition, social media people are helpful by nature and happy to support others. So an educational program only seems to be a money maker. And for certification, who has the right to certify and what is the value?

There is just too much out to dig through and explore. In addition to the tools variety it is hard to learn about strategy and execution, reporting tools and budget considerations from somebody’s list of best tips. Networking and collectively learning is a great additional benefit. A certification gives a customer or employer a better idea what the candidate actually learned.

Also there are two quite different types of people:
1) Self teaching, exploring things on their own, love to take the time and does it whatever it takes. Learning by doing.
2) Very busy people, who don’t want to spend the time to figure everything out by themselves, and need to learn in a short amount of time. Expect a short cycle to success.

What social media concerns, obviously learning all about LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, SlideShare, Radian6, Sysomos, Manobyte and all the other tools is not a big deal – yet it is very time consuming. But then there are other topics:

– The impact of social media on the corporate culture
– Assessing a company’s social ecosystem
– Developing a comprehensive social media strategy
– Social media strategy in alignment with corporate objectives
– Team enablement and training
– Creating a social media plan
– Reporting and analytics tools
– Partner empowerment in multi tier distribution
– ROI, resources and budget considerations
– Social media as a cross functional business accelerator
– Competing for mind and market share
– Building a successful social media practice
just to mention a few.

We conduct a free webinar this Friday 4/24
But we also conduct a full blown online training spread over 8 weeks.

Now as the space matures and more and more business people engage in social media where tools are just a tactical decision…
…what is your opinion?


Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000.


  1. You definitely hit the nail on the head on the two types of people out there trying to deal with the social media onslaught. I am of both types. I like to explore a little bit, but I am almost too busy to find much time to explore and always looking for a good tips. I would gladly sacrifice a day to learn it all and have the tools to become a quick and efficient user of the vast social media out there. Having said that, I am learning slowly and exploring and fortunately, I work with many great people who all bring knowledge to the table.

  2. Hi Axel

    I think the training you offer is a great idea, particularly on-line.

    Having run large training programmes (consultancy CRM consultant training and organisational change training for 10,000 staff) the key to successful training is in recognising that the training is not ultimately what drives the development of new skills. Research and my experience suggests that the effect of training is roughly 10% preparation before training, 30% the training itself and 60% support back in the workplace over the months after training has been completed. This is what turns a 40% effective new trainee into a 120% effective problem solver within the following months. On-line provides several way to provide the post-training support that is the hallmark of successful training. As do social networks of participants and trainers that is the subject of the traiing.

    The certification adds nothing without there being a commonly agreed standard and a certification body to enforce those standards. There isn’t for Social Media and there probably won’t be for several years. By all means give participants a certificate, but that isn’t the same as certification.

    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes!” as Roman trainers used to say.

    Graham Hill
    Customer-driven Innovator
    Follow me on Twitter

    Interested in Customer Driven Innovation? Join the Customer Driven Innovation groups on LinkedIn or Facebook to learn more.

  3. Thanks a lot Graham – very good advice. We actually put up a page explaining what the certification includes, so that a customer or employer can look it up.


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