The 5 Free Marketing Classes You Need to Take

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” — Albert Einstein

If that quote doesn’t motivate you, what will?! For many people, marketing and social media feel like overwhelming tasks that are just too much to learn. But don’t let that stop you from growing your skills. Albert Einstein said so!

There is no better time to grow as a professional, especially since quarantine is keeping us from doing much else. There are a million marketing classes out there — so how do you decide which ones to take?

We compiled some of our favorite WHIP-intern-tested-and-approved marketing classes to help you step up your marketing game from home. Not only will this further develop your skills, but it will help you build the brand that your business needs to succeed in a crowded digital landscape.

WHIP Communication’s Beginners & Basics

Download: free

Okay, so it’s not technically a class, but our Beginners & Basics series is a collection of information, tools, and tips that are designed to help beginners with social media.

We created this to help anyone — including you — understand the basics of communications, social media, and marketing. In this booklet, we explore the basics of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Hootsuite Platform Training

Class: Free / Certification Exam: $99

Hootsuite is a popular social media management tool. It offers a range of services from scheduling posts to monitoring engagement, Hootsuite can act as your one stop shop for social media organization. Their platform training class provides an in-depth understanding of the resources and services the site provides in only 2 and a half hours.

The class itself is free, however there is a fee for the certification exam. While having the official stamp of approval never hurts, the knowledge that you hold is far more valuable. If you feel confident in your skills, don’t stress about taking the actual exam.

Pros:
  • Hootsuite is a well-known platform used by many companies
  • The class dives into all aspect of the program providing a broad and applicable well of knowledge
  • You’ll learn how to schedule out social media content ahead of time
Cons:
  • The certification exam is not free

HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification

Class: Free / Certification: Free

This might be one of the most popular marketing classes out there, and for good reason. HubSpot is a software company that provides tools for marketing, customer service, and sales. One of their best resources, however, is their team of employees dedicated to educating professionals with an interest in marketing.

Inbound marketing is a strategy used by businesses to develop a marketing plan that is based on human connection. It uses content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization and branding to breed connections with consumers. The experts at HubSpot break this technique down part by part to prepare viewers to build their very own inbound marketing strategy.

Pros:
  • Provides great examples to enhance understanding
  • Makes you think about how to apply this strategy to your own professional endeavors
  • Completely free!
Cons:
  • This is a lengthy course, so you have to prepare to dedicate about 5 hours to learning. The good news is that you don’t have to do it all at once —  breaking it up over a few days is a great option. Professional growth cannot occur without a little stretching (no pain, no gain!), so we promise that the time is worth it.

Hubspot Social Media Marketing Course

Course: Free

This next course offered by HubSpot, again, is a bit lengthy but is totally worth it. Social media is at the forefront of nearly everything we do these days. We love it, but we know it is not everyone’s cup of tea.

This class explains how effective social strategy means, effective marketing, which will in turn boost business. It also piggy-backs off of the inbound marketing course by explaining social media’s role within your inbound marketing strategy.

Pro:
  • Connected to other HubSpot courses, allowing you to deepen your knowledge
  • Provides a mix of videos, quizzes, and lesson overviews to keep you engaged
Cons:
  • Again, a little lengthy but it is worth it!
  • Slightly repetitive if you take the Inbound Marketing course as well

Udemy Social Media Ethics Course

We live in a world where you can Tweet whatever you want — whether it’s true or not. This course does a great job of summing up ethics in terms of social media. It explains some of the laws that apply to social media as well as describing how ethics policy relates to social media content and engagement.

This will help you understand social media best practices so you can continue to build your business in a way that is accurate and ethical. “Just because you can tweet it, doesn’t mean you should. Learn to do the right thing on social media” (Udemy).

Pros:
  • Free
  • Explains legal concepts in a way anyone would understand
Con:
  • Little to no interactive aspects

These are a few of the marketing classes you can utilize to master social media marketing at home. All of these websites offer a number of other courses and programs we didn’t feature, too! You are never too old or too far along into your career to learn something new. Take time to invest in you!

Facebook Audience Vs. Instagram Audience

Cohesiveness among social media platforms is key for brand establishment and recognition. However, effective use of social media content can look very different from one platform to the next — which is why it’s critical to know the difference between your Facebook audience and your Instagram audience.

Understanding who is most likely to view and interact with your content will lead to the greatest marketing success using social media.  Who is viewing your content on Facebook vs. Instagram may actually be a bit more different than you think.

Keep reading to understand the differences between the Facebook and Instagram Audiences and how-to best tailor your content to each!

HOW TO KNOW WHO IS VIEWING YOUR CONTENT

Identifying your audience is a key first step when creating content. The base layer of that identification includes age, gender, and interests. These core factors however can differ from platform to platform. So, what really is the difference between the Facebook and Instagram audiences?

First, the age of users is different. Instagram users tend to be younger than the Facebook audience.  The percentage of people who use Instagram in younger age groups is significantly higher than for older groups. Instagram usage drops by 1/3 when comparing usage by people 18-29 years old and 30-49 years old. It drops an additional 50% when comparing groups aged 30-49 and 50-64.

Facebook usage however remains fairly steady until around age 65. So, if you are choosing between one platform or the other, and your audience falls into a specific age category this is very important to consider.

Looking at our second key point, gender, both Facebook and Instagram have more users who identify as female than male. So, when comparing the two platforms gender does not have a large impact on what will be more effective

Third, we consider interests specifically, the content the users are interested in viewing on the different platforms. We have found that Instagram users prefer eye catching blurbs or visuals as well as content that fits a visually pleasing aesthetic. Fun graphics and unique pictures will have the most clout for your Instagram audience. 

UTILIZING CONTENT DIFFERENTLY ACROSS PLATFORMS

On the other hand, Facebook content has the opportunity to be a bit more informational. We don’t recommend full length blog posts as captions, but accessible bulleted lists will help provide information to an audience who wants more than a photo. To learn more about what we do and don’t recommend for reaching your Facebook audience, check out our Dos and Don’ts of Facebook.

The final point that shows the difference between users is level of engagement. While this can vary from account to account, Instagram users tend to be more consistent likers making them more likely to engage with your content. 

An article from the journal Computers in Human Behavior reported that individuals who prefer Instagram are more likely to share personal information than users who chose Facebook as their preferred platform.

Are you looking for responses to a post? Or are you simply looking to get your message out? If you are looking for a response maybe try an Instagram poll. If you want to provide details on an upcoming event maybe try a longer form Facebook status.

Identifying your audience may seem like a daunting task, but it really comes down to key demographics about your current and prospective customers. Understanding your audience then allows you to take your social media game a step further by using each platform to best adapt content for the audience it will reach.  

Beginners & Basics: Instagram 101

Our Beginners & Basics series is a collection of blogs and tips that are designed to help beginners understand the basics of communications, social media, and marketing. Welcome to Instagram 101.

What is it?

Over the past decade, Instagram has grown into one of the most prominent social media platforms. The photo and video-sharing social media network heavily focuses on photos, videos, and visual communications, and boasts its own brand of “influencers.”

With over 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram is a place to check out what brands are doing next. Much like other social media channels, users create accounts with profiles and newsfeeds. The newsfeed, which allows people to interact with other users by liking (double tapping) photos, is super user-friendly.

Extra credit: Instagram is owned by Facebook!

Instagram Features:

  • Instagram Stories: temporary posts (photos or videos) that live on a user’s account for 24 hours and is accessed by clicking their profile photo
  • Instagram Highlights: categorized collections of stories on a user’s profile
  • Instagram Live: videos streamed in real time that disappear after they are ended
  • Instagram TV (IGTV): a special section of IG that allowing for hour-long video posts
  • Filters: allow for editing photos in the app
  • Location tagging on posts & stories: the ability to tag restaurants, shops, cities, or other locations in newsfeed posts or stories
  • Direct messaging: also known as “DMs,” allow you to chat via Instagram through the arrow in the top righthand section of your profile

Who uses it?

A lot of people! Of Instagram’s 1 billion users, 11% of users are located in the US. Brazil, India, Indonesia and Russia are among the top countries of Instagram users.

Unsurprisingly, Instagram typically appeals to younger generations — almost 70% of users are 18-29 years old. Among U.S. teens, Instagram is one of the most popular social networks. 

How can it help businesses?

Instagram is one of the best platforms for marketing because it’s easy (and entertaining) for users to follow favorite brands and discover new ones. When users have a business profile, Instagram also lets you use features like the “shop” feature, which tags products and transfers users to different sites.

Analytics (on Instagram Business accounts) allow you to analyze post performance to see what works best. If you want to use Instagram effectively, strong images are the key. To best connect with your audience, avoid using stock photos whenever possible and use high quality images.

You may be a business that doesn’t often have compelling images, and that’s okay! It just means that Instagram may not be the best social media platform for you. Check out our Beginners & Basics articles about Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to see what would be the best fit for you.

Brands that are killing the Insta game:

10 Instagram Posts That Will Make You Smile

We all need a little positivity in our lives right now. Social media can be full of negativity, but it can also be full of happiness. (And by “happiness,” we mean…dogs.)

Here are 10 Instagram posts that will make you smile today! 

  1. A sweet view and an even sweeter puppy. Just look at that face!

2, But what’s better than a baby playing the ukulele? (Answer: nothing.)

View this post on Instagram

Don’t worry about a thing ☀️

A post shared by Us The Duo (@ustheduo) on

3. We all need this reminder sometimes! To quote Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, the comeback is always greater than the setback.

4. YUM. If you’re looking for happiness that you can eat, this cookie dough recipe from Tiffany Napper is dee-lish.

5. Great things always appear when you’re not looking! Pro tip: make this your phone background to remind you.

6. A dog really is a human’s best friend (and workout partner). This is the type of content we need more of.

7. Oh, to be a baby dressed up as a Glossier Boy Brow bottle. Or a baby dressed up as anything.

8. This is probably the coziest video you will ever see. Also, who can resist a baby and a cute dog in one video? Time to snooze.

9. Don’t be afraid to fail! Our friends at Sarah Olivia Marketing always have good inspiration when we need a boost.

10. We’re thankful for this puppy. How can a dog curl up so tiny?! We don’t know, and we don’t care. As long as he does.

View this post on Instagram

Bagel 🥯, Croissant 🥐, or ween 🌭??

A post shared by Eevee 🌻🌵🐾 (@eevee_theweenie) on

Extra, bonus posts:

We can’t be at the beach right now, but this beautiful picture of Hawaii makes us feel a little better. We can’t go on vacation, but we can plan one!

Sound ON. Did this give anyone else chills? 

Did we miss any awesome Instagram posts? Share your favorites in the comments.

5 Basic Stats About Social Media

communications consultants providing social media management, content creation, public relations, and media pitching

There’s a lot of information about social media out there nowadays, and it’s hard to keep track of what’s important and what’s not. Different things matter to different people (ie: what’s important to Coca-Cola is probably not as important to a small bank), but here are some statistics about social media that are relevant to pretty much everyone.

  • Internet users have an average of 7.6 social media accounts. Some of the most popular and recognizable are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, but other sites like Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, and Google+ also draw users.
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  • Facebook has the most users of any social media site. By far. Facebook has more than 2 billion users, followed by YouTube with 1.5 billion and Instagram with 800 million. Overall, there are more than 3 billion social media users. That is a heck. of. a. lot. of. people.
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  • According to a 2011 study, 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. This is both good and bad for companies. There is a lot of opportunity for your content to be shared, but there’s also a lot of competition. Content has to be compelling in order for people to share it, so make sure it’s good!
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  • 500 million people visit Twitter each month without logging in. Add that to the 330 million users with accounts, and Twitter can be an incredibly powerful platform. There are 6,000 tweets sent every second — which is more than 500 million per day.
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  • 60% of Snapchat users are under the age of 25 and in 2016, $90 million was spent on Snapchat ads. While Snapchat draws a massive amount of young people, it doesn’t perform nearly as well with older demographics, who are more typically heavy Facebook users.