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!

Three Companies Overcoming Coronavirus Roadblocks Thanks To Social Media

Although some of our favorite restaurants, gyms and retail stores are just starting to reopen, some companies have been able to thrive online by transforming their social media presence and keeping their followers engaged. 

Slow business may be frustrating right now, but learning how to build your online platform can go a long way and change your brand for the better.  

Taking charge and responsibility of your business during this time is the key to success. Here are three companies that have been totally killing the game on social media — despite the pandemic. 

Orangetheory Fitness 

Gyms were among the first businesses forced to close when coronavirus initially surfaced, for obvious reasons.

However, OrangeTheory, a fitness studio with gyms all over the world, has defied the odds through taking advantage of social media and maintaining close relationships with their clients. 

Each studio location has its own Instagram account where they post  free live-at-home workout challenges, fitness tips from coaches, healthy recipes, and more.

Because of these efforts, clients feel in tune with their local studio and are eagerly waiting for their gym to reopen. 

Lululemon

Retail stores have been hit hard by coronavirus, and clothing brands like Lululemon have faced this challenge  head-on through its successful use of strategic communications and digital media.

The retail brand has a strong social media presence across platforms — especially Instagram and Twitter — where they constantly interact with their followers. 

The brand challenged its audience on social media to come together and take part in a virtual “Global Running Day” 5K. Lululemon is also giving followers free guided meditations, yoga, and training videos.

This retail company has been able to uphold its relevance online during the pandemic despite its closed in-person stores with some creative and unique social media marketing.

Echostage 

The concert venue in Washington, D.C., shut down in March and canceled all in-person events through summer. Despite this, Echostage capitalized on the pandemic by enhancing their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.

Echostage’s communications team has been working hard to provide trendy and lighthearted content to their fans amid the pandemic. 

The venue has released quarantine themed playlists, inspirational posts, throwback pictures, games, memes, and more. The venue has also promoted virtual concerts, like the Electric Daisy Carnival’s Virtual Rave-A-Thon.

Echostage’s social media efforts have gone above and beyond in establishing a strong online presence and developing their fan base.

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🏃‍♀️🏃

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These three non-essential businesses have been absolutely rocking their social media during COVID-19.

Take notes! If you’re looking to grow your company’s social media right now, check out our blog posts like Instagram 101 or Who Is Your Audience, Anyway? 

If you want even more support, contact us today and let’s work together. You got this!

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:

Get A Laugh From Our Favorite Viral Posts

We all love a good viral video to start the day off right. As we’re stuck at home, more people than ever are watching videos to stay entertained. Here are some of our favorite viral posts from years past.

You’ve probably seen them (if you haven’t, where have you been?), but there’s no bad time for a good laugh.

Chewbacca Mom (2016)

Everything about this video is amazing. The mask. Her laugh. If you’re not laughing — or at least cracking a smile — by the end of this video, we’re a little worried about you. This is what viral posts are made of!

Reaching over 90 million views, it broke the record for most views on a Facebook Live video. Candace Payne posted the video to Facebook and captioned it, “It’s the simple joys in life…”

We agree! Not only is this video funny, but it really reminds us that it’s the little things that can really bring you the most joy. In this case, that little thing is a Chewbacca mask. 

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (2014)

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge started in the summer of 2014 to raise money and awareness for ALS. The idea was to pour cold water on yourself and record it —then tag some friends who were up to the challenge. The campaign raised over $220 million worldwide and inspired a ripple effect of viral posts.

The idea of nominating your friends to do the challenge made it exciting and helped it spread to even more people. The Ice Bucket Challenge did well because it was something fun that anyone could do. Many of us participated or watched our friends participate (or we were nominated but weren’t up for the challenge).

We even started seeing celebrities getting involved. Justin Timberlake, Lebron James, Vin Diesel, Oprah and more were talking about ALS that summer. 

BONUS VIDEO: John Krasinski “challenging” his wife Emily Blunt

Everyone loves John Krasinski, but this made us love him even more. He sprung the Ice Bucket Challenge on his wife, Emily Blunt. He may also be the only person on the planet that could get away with dumping freezing cold water on his wife.

World Record Egg (2019)

This isn’t exactly a video, but we couldn’t leave out the viral Instagram egg.

In January 2019, the Instagram account @world_record_egg was created with a single post of an egg. What was the goal? To beat the world record for most liked post on Instagram, at the time by Kylie Jenner with 18 million likes.

In less than 10 days the post reached over 18 million likes, beating Kylie’s record. The original post currently has over 50 million likes. So, how did a raw egg go viral? Well…we’re not quite sure.

It’s random and funny which encompasses all the best parts of the Internet. It’s also highly interactive and engaging. By liking the post, you’re able to be part of history. Since it was a competition to break a world record, it encouraged more people to engage with the content. At the time, nothing was better than an egg being more popular than Kylie Jenner. 

It’s a little crazy and unorthodox, yes. But it worked!  

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.)

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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.

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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.

Why Hire a Communications Consultant Amid COVID-19?

The coronavirus outbreak has changed so many aspects of daily life — many people are working from home or taking online classes for the first time. It seems our lives have been put on pause, but there are still some things you can take control of amid COVID-19, like hiring a communications consultant to help out.

Our friend and PR expert Tiffany Napper shared how to work on the “backbone” of your business during this time when business may be slower. Another way to make the most of the world’s weird situation is to hire a communications and social media consultant to handle digital marketing for your business. 

We offer services including social media management, content creation, and public relations, so that you don’t have to worry about managing those projects.

During this pandemic, we’re all uneasy about spending money. But here are six reasons why hiring a communications consultant amid COVID-19 is a worthy investment!

1. People have more time for social media.

We’re willing to bet that you’ve spent more time scrolling on your phone over the past few weeks than you’d like to admit. Us, too! Many people have more time on their hands — which means more time for social media.

Hiring a social media consultant to elevate your brand and your online presence can make you stand out to potential customers. As experts, we know how to utilize social media to help you reach more people online.

2. People want to support small businesses. 

People are looking to support small businesses now more than ever, so it’s a great idea to have an active social media account. Let them know you’re there and open for business (or that you will be once the pandemic slows)!

A communications manager can get people excited about supporting your business. Letting your community know that you are still up and running during this health crisis is key. 

3. It’s affordable. (Yes, really.) 

Hiring a consultant is much cheaper than hiring a full time staffer. (The average cost of a communications manager with seven years of experience is $65K per year.) We offer a variety of services, including social media management, content creation, digital marketing, PR, and media pitching — for a cost that won’t break the bank.

A consultant can help manage your external communications needs without bringing on a full time hire. That saves you money and the cost of benefits.

4. Take stress off of your employees.

You may already have an employee managing your social media, but that isn’t their speciality. By hiring a communications consultant amid COVID-19, you can remove extra stress off from employees that may be especially taxing during the pandemic. It also frees up their time to do what you hired them for, rather than creating social media posts or press pitches.  

5. Be strategic during this unprecedented time. 

You may not know what to do with your social media now during this health crisis. Do you talk about coronavirus? Or do you not? Do you stop posting if your business is closed? It’s time for you to stop worrying about that and let someone else strategize. That’s our job! A social media manager can help you stay active on social media in a relatable and appropriate way.

6. You can support freelancers and small business owners (like us)!

Because so many consultants and freelancers don’t have a set income, we’re worried about our next paychecks, too. If you have the ability to hire am independent contractor or communications consultant amid COVID-19, rather than a big PR agency, you should!

Smaller businesses like ours often have more time to spend on clients and are able to offer more personalization — while building a real relationship and collaborating with you! Supporting talented freelancers is always a good idea.  

Contact us if you’re interested in working together and building your social media presence! We have special discounted rates over the next 3 months to help make sure that our services are available to everyone during the pandemic. 

Beginners & Basics: Twitter 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 Twitter 101.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is technically a “micro-blogging service,” allowing users to post and share comments, photos, videos and more. So what does that actually mean? Because it has a 240 character limit (recently bumped up from 140), it’s a place to share brief posts — not 3 paragraphs.

One thing to note about Twitter is that it has some unique terminology when referring to specific features. It may be confusing to newbies, so we broke down the basics for you:

Twitter Lingo:

  • Tweet: to post
  • Retweet: to repost another user’s post
  • Reply: using the @ to respond to someone’s post
  • Direct Message: private chat to specific user(s)
  • Hashtag: a symbol (the # sign) that categorizes tweets

Who uses it?

Donald Trump isn’t the only one who loves tweeting. With over 330 million monthly active users and 145 million daily active users, Twitter has a huge influence on today’s society. Many of these 330 million users are younger, but Twitter’s demographic reach is not only for millennials and Gen-Z.

63% of Twitter users are between the ages of 35 and 65. While other social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok are famous for catering to younger generations, it’s clear that Twitter appeals to a more mature audience as well.

Why is it helpful for businesses?

With such an impressive number of active users, Twitter is one of the best digital marketing tools for businesses. Twitter allows for brands and businesses to engage personally with their consumers. It allows for conversation and brands to practice transparent communication.

Twitter even made a sandwich go viral. Seriously.

However, not all brands need a Twitter account. It’s often hard to decide what social media is helpful and what’s overkill. We’re here to help you figure out who your audience is and how to reach them. Twitter may or may not be the answer!

Brands that are killing the Twitter game:

Beginners & Basics: LinkedIn 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 LinkedIn 101.

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn has quickly become one of the most-used digital networking platforms for professionals of almost any field. Unlike more personal forms of social media (think Facebook and Instagram), LinkedIn is focused on professional connections.

The social media channel allows users to build their careers and professional networks by connecting with others and sharing content. The purpose of LinkedIn is also to maintain contact with particular colleagues, friends and others in professional environments. It also doubles as a search engine for job seekers.

Who uses it?

LinkedIn has over 600 million users in more than 200 countries around the world. Surprisingly, over 70% of LinkedIn users are from outside of the US.

There are 46 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn using the channel to work on their experience and careers for future employers. LinkedIn is also crawling with recruiters that use the platform as part of their recruitment process.

Personal Profile

If you don’t have a personal LinkedIn profile yet, we’re glad you checked out this LinkedIn 101 guide! Your personal profile serves as a virtual resume, which allows customers or potential clients to see your experience. That’s the key to building trust!

Your personal LinkedIn profile will have a lot more features that you won’t see in other social media channels. You are able to include your experience, a summary of yourself, contact information, a portfolio, skills, recommendations, and more.

Your profile is meant to be a representation of your career and career goals for those who view it. As LinkedIn has grown into what it is today, with millions of users, your profile can also be seen as your “digital reputation.”

Business Profile

Much like you can have a personal profile, you can also have a business profile on LinkedIn. It’s similar to a business page on Facebook — it’s where companies share updates, articles, posts, and other information relevant to their audiences.

LinkedIn is a great social media tool for certain types of businesses, including staffing agencies, IT, real estate, and human resources are just a few!

Why is it helpful for businesses?

There’s no better way to share your brand than through a platform that allows for interaction between professionals and consumers. Because it has a long list of features to amp up your profile, LinkedIn allows you to present what your company is all about, share the people who work there, and engage with relevant content. 

Plus, it can even bring in some incredible talent if you use its hiring features.

Brands that are killing the LinkedIn game:

  • TED Conferences
  • Google
  • Amazon
  • Microsoft
  • IBM

Beginners & Basics: Facebook 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 Facebook 101.

Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms worldwide. The platform has revolutionized how we network, connect, and interact online. This Facebook 101 will teach you everything you need to know about the world’s most popular social media platform.

What is Facebook?

It’s hard to remember a time before Facebook. While it began as a college-based network in 2004, the company has now grown to dominate social networking.

The platform allows users to post comments, share photos and videos, share links to news or other content, and chat live. Facebook is able to appeal to both individuals and businesses, which is the reason for its rapid success and growth. It is user-friendly, appealing to any and every type of person or business around the world. 

Who uses it?

So why do you need this Facebook 101? Facebook takes the lead as a social media platform reaching over 60% of internet users.

In 2019, Facebook had almost 2.5 billion monthly active users and 1.6 billion users daily. With billions of users monthly and daily, its users consist of a wide variety. Young adults continue to incorporate social media into their everyday routines, with Facebook being a continuous, dominant platform within the demographic.

Why is it helpful for businesses?

With its user-friendly features and prominence in our culture, Facebook is going to share your target audience. Whether your audience is younger or older, male or female, from a different part of the world, Facebook has something for you.

As a business, a Facebook page can be a great place to engage with your customers, share your messages, and build your brand. A business Facebook page is more similar to a website than to a person Facebook account, and will serve as a resource for people who want to learn more about what you do.

A Facebook page will not only increase your business’ online presence, it will also be key to reaching your target audience and connecting them to your purpose. 

Brands that are killing the Facebook game:

  • Samsung: 159M followers
  • Coca-Cola: 106M followers
  • Youtube: 90M followers
  • McDonald’s: 79M followers
  • Netflix: 64M followers

We hope that this Facebook 101 was quick and easy so that you can get the hang of how social media can help your business. If you’re still not sure, or if you feel overwhelmed on where to start, get in touch! That’s what we’re here for.

The Best Websites in the Business

Every business needs a website — that’s common knowledge. But getting there can be tricky: there are lots of options for building a website, it takes time, and it takes money. Sometimes a lot of money.

We think the best way to create something great is to get inspiration from others, and websites are no exception. What sites do you go to often? What do you like about them? What drives you crazy? (Answer: popups. Always popups!) How can you make an element work for your business or site?

Below are just some of our favorite websites and you can find a list of 20 beautiful sites on Hubspot’s blog as well.

Tessemaes.

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

We love Tessemaes’ site not only because it’s visually appealing, but it’s also FUN! Their homepage carousel has bright, vivid colors and engaging images and text. Their “Shop” tab is exactly the same — somehow, they made salad dressing and marinades look cool!

Conde Nast.

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

It’s hard to tell how cool Conde Nast’s site is just from this screenshot, because they have multiple videos on their homepage as users scroll down. The videos are teasers for the content pages, which are almost all images and videos. Though there is almost no text at all, it works well!

MINDBODY.

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

MINDBODY uses a great combo of text and images. This page, the homepage, sends users directly to the right page for them instead of having to scroll through a lengthy menu or find the page manually. The “Start Discovering” page is even fancier, with an interactive description of the MINDBODY app. It convinced us to try it, so job well done!

Fabletics.

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

What we love about Fabletics website is the use of UGC. (Wondering what UGC is? It’s communications shorthand for user generated content.) Fabletics pulls images from Instagram and includes them on the site, which is not only good content, but it’s also great for engaging current customers and potential customers.

Stand Up Republic.

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

Can you guess what Stand Up Republic is from the homepage? Yepp. Although it only has 3 sentences of text, it explains exactly what Stand Up Republic is and what they want from website visitors — money and engagement. If their goal is fundraising, having a donation ask smack dab on the homepage is the best way to make that happen. Using basic, simple layout works great for this organization.