A few weeks ago I shared a post that claimed that social media certification was a game changer for social media professionals. The thread from the post exploded with people on both sides of the fence. The two camps seemed to line up around long-time industry professionals that were opposed to the idea and those that see it as something that is badly needed.
Here are some of the comments and views from the two sides of the debate:
The For Certification As A Solution Camp:
1) Brands need in-house employees to be trained.
2) Important for business to understand the strategic role and benefits of social media in the total marketing mix.
3) It’s a sign the industry is getting more cred that certification is needed to separate some of the wheat from the chaff.
4) This is an important step to corporate credibility.
5) A call for validation and certification means the industry is gaining credibility and acceptance
6) We do need something in the industry for certification and accreditation, proof of ethical standards
The Against Certification As A Solution Camp:
1) I find that most of the people teaching the courses have never worked in social media and don’t know anything about doing it successfully.
2) A certificate does not mean you are an expert any more than a college degree says you are ready for the business world.
3) Social Media changes so frequently it will be outdated before it’s even printed.
4) I have an issue with this program. Who is teaching the certificate program? IMO the best and brightest in our industry actively working to serve their clients. I do however, think we all have a responsibility within our industry to teach through internships, etc so that we continue to grow our talent pool for future hires.
5) Social media is evolving way to rapidly to have a certificate in it.
Sometimes a piece of paper does not truly reflect someone’s natural ability in social media, initiative, work experience, passion or a common sense marketing approach. Ultimately if you don’t understand the customer and their marketing goals and strategy then it’s unlikely a certificate will provide all the answers.
6) Anyone can create a certificate program on anything. Calling this a game changer only indicates how few people actually get what SM is all about.
Certifications are very important to the companies that sell them…
7) Basically what they are doing is taking money from people who are gullible enough to believe that this will all be relevant in a month or two.
My Summary On Social Media Certification:
At the end of the day, social media certification is not an entirely bad thing, nor is it anything close to a game-changer. As the industry evolves, brands and professionals will need ways to educate their teams and most don’t have internal resources for this. On the other hand, the questions surrounding who is creating and teaching the curriculum for such certifications is troublesome. If the intent of these certifications is to ensure that someone understands theory, terminology and concepts, it could be a good starting point for many. Unfortunately I fear that the ways these certifications are marketed by providers and certification holders alike, leaves much to be desired about the required knowledge and experience required to execute effective social media marketing. Brands and businesses that don’t know anything about social media marketing could be easily duped by people touting their certification with no more ability or experience in social media than my 15-year-old daughter.
What’s your view on this topic?