Written by Rivka Hodgkinson

How to Find the Best Social Media Courses for Your Agency

 

Do you or your agency team members need to brush up on your social media skills?

If so,  this post will help you find social media courses delivered by the top global influencers sharing some of the best strategies you can adopt within your agency.

Finding quality social media marketing courses is essential for agencies delivering social media services that want to stay competitive in the marketplace. Want to expand the services you provide? Strengthen the skills of your team? Or use courses to help retention of your employees? There’s a course that will help!

The first step is to evaluate what types and levels of courses you need. Next, find courses that are a good match for your needs, and then make sure you get the most out of each course. We will cover all of those steps in this article.

Evaluate Your Course Requirements

Before you dive into looking at specific courses, you need to know exactly what you are looking for. Why? Because it can be so easy to get “shiny object syndrome” when you read course descriptions or get lured in by sales pages.

Taking the time to do the research upfront can make a big difference in the value you get out of the course.

Here’s how you identify your agency needs in five easy steps.

1. Review services from your competitors

Are your competitors providing services that you are not providing and why is this? Do you not have the skills in house to provide these services? Do you not want to provide these services?

Either way, doing some competitive analysis is a good start.

2. Get your team audited

When was the last time you audited the skill levels of your team?

An audit does not have to be done through an assessment. It can be done through a survey.

Let your employees know you’re doing a gap analysis of skills to figure out the best social media courses to send them on. It’s something they will be happy about!

Cognology has written a good article on how you do this analysis.  Here’s a visual that represents its process:

Assessing employees for skils

 

3. Engage with the influencers

When you run an agency, you generally don’t have the resources to have experts in one area only.  Yes, you might have someone that has expertise in Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter—but that’s not three people being three different experts!

Influencers, too, seem to have just one area of expertise. They live and breathe that area every day … so it makes sense that they are on top of everything that happens in this area.

Social Media Experts - Mari Smith

For example, when I think of Facebook, I think of world-renowned Facebook expert Mari Smith!

Identify the top influencers in your industry who focus on particular niches, and start reading their content and engaging with them online. Doing so will help you figure out areas you may not be focusing on and spotting trends you need to know (and stay informed about).

One way of tracking influencers’ latest thoughts is by attending a social media conference (e.g., Social Media Marketing World). Each speaker is asked to bring new material to the table, so you’ll get their latest thinking.

4. Review industry reports to discover where the new areas of growth exist

You can read info-packed, helpful surveys and research reports to see what the new trends are and what customers are excelling in certain areas.

Carving time into your schedule for reading reports and other informative articles needs to be a priority on your to-do list. Don’t make it a low priority, though. After all, you always want to be learning, and you can bet that the competition is reading similar (if not the very same) articles and prepping to get business away from you. So, study up!

social media marketing courses can give you a competitive advantage

5. Discuss needed skills with your clients

Reach out to your existing clients to find out in what areas they struggle. Maybe you’ll find it’s an area that you also don’t have the skills in. By identifying that area, you now have an opportunity for improvement and learning.

Some possible methods of finding that area are to:

  • Set up an interview and ask about what their team needs more help with.
  • Add questions about training needs for your formal social media audit.
  • Create a survey to send out to current and past clients.
  • Ask your account managers for each client to recommend areas of growth that they see.

Did you find gaps in their skills? You can fill these gaps by providing consultancy or training if you have the skills. (If you don’t have those skills, maybe you should add these skills to your team.) This research can give you an opportunity to grow the revenue produced for your agency so it is a valuable use of your time.

Your Shortlist of Training Courses From Top Influencers

Now that you know exactly what you are looking for, you can start reviewing options for social media courses!

Though a lot of social media courses are out there, consider these people when creating a list of possibilities.

Social Media Manager School

The Social Media Manager School is a wide selection of Social Media courses across many platforms created by a range of the top influencers around the world.

It’s an excellent resource to improve social media management skills of your employees.

It is a paid service unless you become an Agorapulse customer where you can avail of their Agency love package which gives Social Media Manager School for free!

Facebook and Instagram

Facebook (and Instagram) Advertising Secrets with Andrea Vahl

Andrea is an author of Facebook ad courses and has been known as an expert in Facebook ads for many years.

Her course is called “Facebook Advertising Secrets,” and it includes how to advertise on Instagram also! The course goes through that strategy and tactics, and it also shares valuable information about how to run your own Facebook ads agency.

Andrea’s intermediate course is designed for businesses that already have some background in Facebook ads but want to do them more effectively. This course is geared specifically at social media agencies and entrepreneurs, and includes information about integrating Facebook Ads into your marketing services.

Facebook Messenger Academy with Kim Garst

Chatbots and Messenger marketing is the next big thing in Facebook marketing. However, many agencies have been slow to adapt to this technology. Understanding how to make it work for you and your clients can be a game-changer.

Kim is one of the top social media professionals globally, and any course produced by Kim is excellent. “Facebook Messenger Academy” is no exception!

Group Coaching and courses on Instagram with Sue B. Zimmerman

Sue is one of the top Instagram experts globally, and there’s nothing that happens on Instagram without Sue and her team knowing about.  She does a lot of webinars, training, and group coaching to help her large audience. Check out her programs page.

Facebook and Instagram Advertising Foundations by Rick Mulready

Rick is a super-smart guy who knows how to turn a profit on Facebook and Instagram using ads. Facebook and Instagram Advertising Foundations is another course that is not always open but worth joining the waitlist for the next open enrollment.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn Video Marketing With Goldie 

Known as the “Oprah of LinkedIn,” Goldie provides stellar insight into how to start using video marketing on LinkedIn for beginners. This course is appropriate for both individual profiles as well as brand pages.

Video Marketing

Formula for Awesome videos on purpose with Roberto Blake

Great videos are about more than lights, camera, action. This course provides modules about on-screen charisma, productivity tips, and overall content strategy for your videos.

YouTube Accelerator with Nick Nimmin
This soon-to-be-launched course is specific to YouTube if you want to add or expand your service offerings on that platform.

Youtube Launch sequence with Steve Dotto

Steve Dotto originally started his career on TV stations running a technology show in Canada. He now runs a thriving YouTube channel with over 300,000 subscribers and is growing rapidly.  In his YouTube launch sequence course, he provides step-by-step instructions on how to get your videos (or your clients’ videos) to appear in search results!

Other Social Media Courses

Live Video with Ian Anderson Gray

With a background in singing and social media, Ian Anderson Gray is an expert in Live video. He also has a lot of techie knowledge, so if you struggle with any of the technical set-up, he can really help.

He opens up his live video course quite regularly, but in the meantime, check out his blog and sign up for his newsletter.

Visual content with Donna Moritz

There’s no one I’m aware of who knows visual marketing on social media better than Donna Moritz does. Check out her blog or her Visual Content Made Easy course.

If you are hoping to up your content creation game, this is a good one to dig into. This course focuses on the storytelling and visual elements of social media and content, which can be a good fit if your organization is strong in the text and analytics but wants to make things look more appealing.

The Chatbot Agency Accelerator from Natasha Takahashi

Chatbots is an interesting and growing area and if you are not doing much work in this area, maybe it’s time to start. Natasha always shares great content.

Becoming Well Known with Michael Stelzner

This course is only open sometimes, but you can join the waitlist if it is not actively enrolling. Focused on becoming the influencer rather than finding them, this course is a deep dive into what it takes to be the go-to person in your industry.

Evaluate Social Media Courses for Your Agency

Now that you have your own shortlist of possible courses from the above list and your own research, decide which ones to dive into.

As an avid life-long-learner, I love reading course descriptions and always want to take all the courses and learn all the things. But the reality is that there are limits to time and resources.

Get the basics down

When narrowing down your list, make sure you …

  • Review the course content and match it to your list of needs. Does it check off all the boxes? Are there areas you will need to cover through a different course or another supplement?
  • Understand the quality level of the course creators’ content overall. Do you find their style, tone, and skill level a good match for your social media agency?
  • Check whether you can try it before you buy it. Sometimes, course creators allow you to use the content before you make a final commitment. (This may especially be true if you are buying several learning licenses for your team.)
  • Understand the refund policy. If you get started with the course and find it is not suitable for your needs, will you be able to get your money back? Will it be a refund or a credit for another course?
  • Read reviews of social media courses. What are reviewers saying? Reviews from influencers and verified buyers are the most important to consider.

Set your budget

Now that you know exactly what skills you are looking to learn, the next factor to consider is budget.

Picking a number randomly may be tempting, but work to tie your budget for training to something meaningful instead.

There are two methods to consider: based on ROI or based on your total budget.

Return on investment (ROI) 

Quality training should not simply be an expense. It should relate in a tangible way to your bottom line results. What do you expect to get out of this course? How will that translate to more sales, higher prices, additional revenue streams, or a combination of all of these? How does that compare to the cost of the course?

Percentage of the total budget

Recommendations range spending between 1-5% of your total salary budget on training. Investing in your employees is an important part of attracting and retaining quality talent. This is another way to evaluate the cost of a course rather than direct ROI.

Consider whether to spread this equally across all your employees or to focus on new employees or those who need specific training.

How to Ensure You Get the Most Value for Your Money

Education and learning new skills are critically important for continual growth and improvement. This is why it is somewhat surprising that in one study completed by MIT researchers showed that as little as 3% of people who start a course complete it.

All your ROI calculations won’t mean anything if no one ever finishes the course.

To prevent this from being your fate, you need to be proactive.

  • Create an implementation template. So when employees go through courses, they have to document what they implemented and what the results were.
  • Set a deadline for completing the courses and a mechanism for ensuring completion. (For example, they can present what they learned to their team, submit a final project, or earn a certificate of completion.)
  • Build-in peer support and review, and make employees accountable to one another.
  • Schedule time for your employees to complete the course, so it does not compete with their other tasks and goals.
  • Communicate clearly that course completion is a priority, and ask employees what support they need to accomplish it.

And finally, make sure they know you’re going to contract them out to a client when the course is complete. Doing so will certainly change their attitude!

Conclusion

Courses can be a powerful way to advance your goals and stay at the top of your field. But that only happens when you take the time to select the best social media courses to meet those goals (as well as put in place strategies to complete and implement what you learn).

Rivka Hodgkinson

Rivka has been managing and teaching social media for over 10 years, working with clients in a wide variety of industries. Her specialty is in creating content that connects and starting real relationships in the online world. She has been a speaker on the topic of social media all over the United States and worked with clients around the globe. She has been featured on numerous podcasts and published in The Better Business Book. When she is not writing, creating, and speaking, you can usually find her doing one of her two favorite hobbies - reading and baking.