Level up your social media skills with these 17 free online courses

With more than 3.6 billion people using social media worldwide, this form of digital marketing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Social media is one of several major ways to reach your target audience online. In particular, social media is great for building brand awareness, creating an engaged community and generating leads.

Of course, there are a few things every company should know about social media.

But what you know can hurt you, or at least hold your business back.

The following are 17 free online courses to help you boost your social media skills. Depending on your specific goals and needs, you’ll likely want to sign up for one or two.

‘What is Social?’ from Coursera

“What is Social?” is an introductory course about social media marketing that is offered by Northwestern University through Coursera. In it, you’ll learn:

  • An introduction to social media marketing
  • Social media trends
  • The changing dynamics of social media
  • The importance of big data
  • How to use social media for business

Course materials include a mix of videos, reading materials, assignments and quizzes. Overall, it is a nine-hour course, with a recommendation to spend three to four weeks to complete it.

Completion delivers a certificate to participants that you can share on LinkedIn or highlight on your resume.

‘Introduction to Social Media Strategy’ from Skillshare

A beginner-level course, “Introduction to Social Media Strategy” is offered by Buffer through Skillshare. The goal is to understand how to better form an effective social media strategy. In addition, you’ll learn how to:

  • Select the right social media platforms
  • Use the right tools
  • Find a unique voice
  • Create and curate engaging content
  • Advertise on Facebook

You can complete the video tutorial in 43 minutes, but it’s recommended to do your own research and study at different points in the course for better overall understanding.

‘Social Media 101’ from Constant Contact

Intended for beginners, “Social Media 101” is offered by Social Media Quickstarter through Constant Contact. It offers a step-by-step process to build your social media presence on different platforms.

Broken into several modules based on social media platform, you learn how to create and optimize your profile and engage with your audience on that platform. You’ll also better understand the do’s and don’ts for each platform, with suggested strategies as well.

‘Social Media Marketing’ from Oxford Home Study Centre

The “Social Media Marketing” course, offered through Oxford Home Study Centre, provides a basic introduction to all things social media marketing across platforms. In it, you’ll learn how to:

  • Understand what successful social media marketing looks like and why it’s so powerful
  • Craft a social media marketing strategy plan
  • Implement the “Five Ps” of social media
  • Expand your social presence and attract new followers

The self-paced course provides a certification upon completion.

‘Social Media Analytics Course’ from Quintly

The beginner-level “Social Media Analytics Course” from Quintly introduces participants to the basics of social media analytics, but it can also serve as a refresher course on the topic. It includes analyzing your own social media and automating analytics reports. In it, you’ll learn:

  • Situation analysis
  • Understanding analytics reports and metrics
  • Choosing the audience for different types of reports
  • Competitor benchmarking
  • Collecting data from different platforms
  • Identifying KPIs to measure your goals
  • Report automation

Course materials include videos, reading materials and quizzes.

‘Social Media’ from HubSpot

“Social Media” is a certification course offered through HubSpot that can help you create your social media strategy and strengthen your social presence. In it, you’ll learn:

  • How to create a social media marketing strategy
  • Social media monitoring
  • Social content strategy 
  • Expanding your social media reach
  • How to advertise on social media
  • Measuring your social media marketing ROI (return on investment)

This is considered an all-in-one course that can give you a well-rounded understanding of all components of social media marketing with a mix of learning materials. It is estimated to take almost five hours to complete, but it’s recommended to spread it out over a few weeks and take any extra time needed to fully understand each topic.

‘Social Media Marketing Certification’ from eMarketing Institute

The “Social Media Marketing Certification” course through the eMarketing Institute is actually a 165-page ebook that covers the key points of social media marketing, followed by a test that you can take. In it, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of social media marketing
  • What’s involved in a social media strategy
  • How to identify your target audience
  • About different social media platforms
  • About sharing content on social media
  • How to engage with your target audience
  • The do’s and don’ts of social media marketing

The completion time is entirely self-paced with your reading of this ebook. There is no deadline for the test. If you pass the test, then you receive a certification that you can include in your resume.

‘The Business of Social’ from Coursera

In addition to “What is Social?”, “The Business of Social” is another free course offered by Northwestern University through Coursera. It is more advanced, where you can track your social media performance and link that to sales and more. In it, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use different social media metrics to drive revenue
  • Weigh the legal considerations of your social media strategy
  • Create a performance funnel
  • Design a pilot program (and justify its viability)

This course uses a very practical approach and takes about five hours to complete. However, it’s recommended to spend about three to four weeks doing so. Upon completion, you’ll earn a certification for your resume.

‘Build Your Personal Brand and Sell Your Expertise Using Social Media’ from Social Creators

The “Build Your Personal Brand and Sell Your Expertise Using Social Media” course focuses on personal branding, helping you build a unique social media identity and a strong social presence. 

This is particularly useful for influencers (or anyone looking to become a successful influencer).

Divided into four parts, this video-based course includes additional course materials, such as a 21-page personal branding guide.

‘Writing for Social Media’ from edX

This “Writing for Social Media” course is offered by the University of California, Berley, through edX. It offers a broad framework for writing content for social media publishing that can adapted to any platform. In it, you’ll learn how to:

  • Understand your target audience
  • Write content for that audience with the relevant social media platform in mind
  • Use effective writing strategies to optimize your content
  • Connect with your audience through communication

The course takes about four weeks to complete (with about three to five hours spent per week) and is instructor-led, not self-paced. While it is free to take, you will have to pay if you want the certification.

‘Social Media Ethics’ from Udemy

This free “Social Media Ethics” course, offered by Udemy, covers social media ethics and the responsibility that exists when posting content on social media platforms. In it, you’ll learn how to:

  • Understand what ethical social media behavior is
  • Use good judgment when using and publishing on social media
  • Avoid posting content that can get you fired or sued

While the course is free and short (little more than half an hour), you’ll have to pay to receive the certification.

‘Content, Advertising & Social IMC’ from Coursera

The “Content, Advertising & Social IMC” course also is provided by Northwestern University through Coursera. It’s a specialty course that teaches how to create engaging content that has the capacity to go viral. In addition, you’ll learn:

  • Social media advertising
  • Content strategy for social media
  • Socially integrated marketing communications
  • How to measure the ROI of social media campaigns

This course takes about eight hours to complete, but you should spend about four weeks doing so to increase your retention. Upon completion, you’ll receive a shareable LinkedIn certificate.

‘Social Media Monitoring’ from Udemy

“Social Media Monitoring,” offered through Udemy, will guide you through different aspects of social media monitoring. In it, you’ll learn:

  • Social media monitoring strategies for different platforms
  • Finding the right keywords to monitor
  • Curating content
  • Finding influencers and building influencer lists
  • Techniques for keyword phrase filtering
  • The drawback of rich text analysis

This course offers a mix of video and reading materials to learn from, which you can complete in about seven and a half hours. While you can access the video content for free, you’ll have to pay to receive the certificate and additional resources.

“Introduction to Social Media Advertising” from Skillshare

If social media advertising overwhelms you, consider “Introduction to Social Media Advertising” that’s offered by Buffer through Skillshare. The introductory social media advertising course is ideal for anyone looking to take control of his or her paid advertising on social media. In it, you’ll learn:

  • Key terms and vocabulary
  • How to set and evaluate campaign goals
  • What makes graphics and copy attention-grabbing
  • Audience targeting

Because this course helps participants understand what matters in your advertising efforts and how to advertise successfully (and measure that success).

‘Advanced Social Media Marketing for Picking Up Clients’ from Udemy

If you’re already familiar with the basics of social media marketing and advertising, “Advanced Social Media Marketing for Picking Up Clients” (offered through Udemy) is worth your consideration. In it, you’ll learn:

  • The most common myths and mistakes that are commonly taught as social media best practices
  • How not to appear as a spammer but rather the “problem solver”
  • A four-step system that allows you to demonstrate your expertise and invite pursuit from potential clients
  • How to present your service in private Facebook groups that aren’t pushy or annoying

The course can take less than 48 hours to complete.

‘Facebook Blueprint’ from Facebook

Facebook offers its own free course breaking down what every small business should know about both Facebook and some aspects of Instagram. “Facebook Blueprint” has something for everyone, from beginners to advanced marketers. In it, you’ll learn:

  • Facebook terminology
  • How to curate a quality Facebook page and experience for followers
  • Best practices for Facebook and Instagram posting
  • How to optimize your Facebook and Instagram advertising

This is a self-paced course to complete at your convenience.

“TikTok Marketing Masterclass” from Influencer Marketing Hub

If understanding TikTok and its opportunities for your business is on your to-do list, consider this “TikTok Marketing Masterclass” that’s offered by Influencer Marketing Hub. In it, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of TikTok
  • Crafting a profitable brand persona that’s still authentic
  • How to grow your audience
  • Increasing engagement on TikTok
  • How to work with other brands
  • Making money as an influencer on TikTok

The course includes such resources as brand collaboration outreach templates, influencer case studies, video planning and storyboard templates, camera shot list, budget templates, cue sheets and other tools.

In conclusion

Truly, the best online course for you depends on the type of skills you want and need to boost your social media marketing. These courses are free, so it’s easy to let go of whatever isn’t working for you and try something else that might.

You also can explore our eight suggested email marketing courses that you can take online.

While you’re considering what social media courses you want to register for, think about how you can improve your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.