It’s now twice in past week or so that someone has asked me about either how to get a social media certificate or promoted their social media marketing certificate to me (hmmm, if they were ‘listening’ they’d know I should be the very last person they should contact about a certificate in SMM).
I suspect it was only a matter of time before these things would happen. And now, I am even more firmly rooted in my reasoning why social media marketing is a bad term. I’ll reiterate once more:
The issue at hand, as I see it, is that a lot of people are adding Social Media Marketing as part of their service offerings, but they haven’t spent a day doing the marketing part and because of that they struggle with implementing social media as part of an overall marketing strategy.
So now, people are going to rush out to be certified in “social media marketing” and yet not only do they not understand marketing…they now truly don’t understand social media either. Why would they need to?! They just spent $1,495 (or three low payments of $549.00) to become experts in Facebook, Twitter, etc. I don’t know about you all, but it took me an awful lot of cash, time and sweat equity to become truly experienced in marketing and communications.
I know there are no rules here and I am not trying to be the enforcer of any, but I think offering a certification of any kind in a medium that is so new in the business world sets a bad precedence.
As a marketer what I worry about is that corporations will pass over talented social media and marketing folks (you know, the ones who have blogged, belonged to social networks for years and have actually implemented social media as part of an overall marketing plan) over for someone who is… um, certified in social media.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not against certifications; in fact the PRSA (APR) and IABC (ABC) offer two great accreditations. I am also a strong proponent of offering social media workshops that teach companies how to ease their way into social media (think training wheels). What I am leery about though is someone being certified in ‘social media marketing’ after a 12 week course. First, it takes a lot longer than 12 weeks to understand marketing and to develop relationships (social media tools aside).
I have now found #26 for the carpetbagger list: Offers social media marketing certification for the low, low cost of…
(Thanks @TomMartin for the reminder!)
Updated 1/29/09: My friend Andy Quayle over at TechBurgh has a great post on this same subject. He gives a lot better reasons that I do with my knee jerk reaction why social media certifications might not be the way to go. Andy’s also uncovered lots of certifications via Google. I guess it was only a matter of time.
What do you think? Does this concept have merit?
[Image: PA Pundits]