25 Free Guides & Courses to Help You Become the Ultimate Social Media Marketer
ADRIENNE WOLTER | 25 AUGUST 2016
Every year, a new social network seems to be taking center stage. To keep up as a marketer you need to wear many hats – a Twitter hat, a Facebook hat, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn hats, maybe even Snapchat!
With all there is to learn and know about social media marketing, you might feel lost. Fortunately, there are a vast number of great guides and courses out there to teach you the ins and outs of social media – for free! Plus, as social networks change and grow, new guidance is coming out all the time.
You could try to figure out everything on your own, but why would you, when there are so many tools out there to help you? If that’s not enough to convince you, maybe this will be: your competitors can access these resources just as easily as you can. And, of course, social media is always changing – so even if you are already a social guru, it is important to keep your skills sharp and learn new tricks.
With that said, let’s explore the many free social media courses that can help you feel dramatically more comfortable marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more.
General Free Social Media Guides & Courses
Starting from scratch? These free social media guides and courses are great primers to social media marketing as a whole, across a variety of social networks. In addition to building your skills across many platforms, they can also help you decide which social networks are right for your business.
1. Buffer’s Social Media 101 Email Course
Aimed at complete and utter beginners, the Buffer email course is the lowest time commitment you could possibly find in a social media marketing course, short of plugging your brain in Matrix-style and doing a data transfer. Even if you are the busiest person in the world, you still have time to get the basics down with Buffer’s email course.
2. Moz’s The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media
Moz is well-known for their Beginner’s Guide to SEO, but the Social Media guide is every bit as in-depth as the SEO guide. With 12 chapters spanning various social networks, best practices, ROI, and the combination of social media and blogging, this guide is the detailed guide you’ll want to sink your teeth into.
3. HootSuite’s Social Marketing Training from HootSuite Academy
HootSuite Academy offers six free social media courses for developing your social marketing skillset, ranging from beginner level to intermediate. Instead of focusing on any particular social network, the emphasis is on building the fundamentals that you can apply to your platform of choice, with course titles like “Optimizing Your Social Media Profiles” and “Growing Your Online Community.” Once you complete all six, if you want to prove your skills, HootSuite offers a Social Marketing Certification for $199.
4. Constant Contact’s Social Media Quickstarter
This intro-level social media marketing course from Constant Contact rapidly takes you through all the major social networks, including Google+, YouTube, and Snapchat. There’s even a “Blogging 101” and a section about reputation management. Take this course if you are looking for step-by-step guidance for getting started on many social networks.
5. Social Media Training’s Free Social Media Courses
Social Media Training offers free, well, social media training courses on a variety of legal compliance issues you may not be aware of. With courses about intellectual property, social media ethics, and privacy, this isn’t one to miss.
6. Neil Patel’s Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses
Social media marketing advice for brands can sometimes feel very out of touch for smaller local businesses that operate a brick and mortar location. When you are targeting a highly specific area, there are a lot of challenges that other brands may not encounter. This guide fills in the gaps to make your marketing truly engaging to your local audience.
Guides and courses are all well and good, but sometimes you just need a quick cheatsheet. From image sizing guidelines to keyboard shortcuts to the best times to post, this infographic has you covered on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.
Free Facebook Guides & Courses
Need to brush up on your Facebook skills? These three free Facebook courses provide the chance to laser-focus your social media marketing on the most universal social site on the internet. From setting up your page, to understanding engagement, to navigating the tricky Power Editor, these are your go-to guides.
8. Facebook’s Facebook Blueprint
It is in Facebook’s best interest to offer high-quality training for its own social network – after all, well-trained marketers are good advertising spenders! Facebook Blueprint is some of the most comprehensive social media training offered by a social platform, and you’re sure to learn something new no matter what your skill level.
9. AdEspresso’s Facebook Ads Academy
Ever considered making a “swipe file” of all your favorite Facebook ads so you could steal (ahem, learn) from them later? Now you don’t have to. AdEspresso has over 21,000 great Facebook ads in their searchable database, along with offering a handful of helpful Facebook advertising guides and other learning materials.
10. Post Planner’s A Crash Course in Facebook Marketing
Don’t have a lot of time? Post Planner’s “crash course” is a great way to get your feet wet with Facebook marketing. If you need the essentials in a minimum amount of time, this chaptered guide is the way to go. Scroll through categories like “Fan Page Best Practices” and “Content for Your Facebook Page” to find exactly what you need assistance with.
Free Twitter Guides & Courses
Twitter has one of the steepest learning curves of any social network to users who’ve never used the site before, because micro-blogging is such a foreign concept to so many people. It can be even more daunting if you are not only not incredibly familiar with Twitter, but are also trying to reach new followers for your business. These Twitter courses and guides will help you get up to speed.
11. Twitter’s Twitter for Business Guide
It is my personal opinion that you should always begin your learning at whatever official guide the service offers. While it may not go into many advanced strategies, you can take in the rules and read exactly what Twitter is looking for from brands in their Twitter for Business guide.
12. Social Media Training’s Free Twitter Course
This extensive free Twitter course offers over two and a half hours of video guidance, from the absolute basics (“Anatomy of a Tweet”) to the more potentially confusing (“Engaging People on Twitter with @Mentions and Hashtags”).
13. Digital Marketing Institute’s Ultimate Guide to Twitter Ads for Startups and Small Businesses
This extensive, intermediate to advanced level guide teaches you everything you need to know about using Twitter ads.
Free Pinterest Guides & Courses
Beloved by lifestyle companies, foodies, and any industry that can take awesome photos, Pinterest definitely requires the right kind of brand and attitude to reach your desired audience. These free Pinterest guides form an excellent backbone to your marketing efforts.
14. Pinterest’s Pinterest for Business Guide
This guide, straight from the source, will give you a quick overview of all the great ways brands can take advantage of Pinterest. It also offers a great introduction to Pinterest Analytics.
15. Kissmetrics’ Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide
Kissmetrics has done it again, this time with a long and extremely detailed ultimate guide to Pinterest marketing. With great examples, tips, and actionable advice, this is a great inspiration to get started with your own Pinterest marketing campaign.
16. CoSchedule’s Ultimate Guide on How to Use Pinterest for Marketing
I love CoSchedule’s simplified and illustrated approach to every topic they cover on their blog, and this massive Pinterest guide is no exception.
17. AdEspresso’s Step-by-Step Guide to Pinterest Marketing
AdEspresso’s step-by-step guide drops you right down into the process of creating and spreading your Pinterest account. Towards the end, they even run you through the process of creating Pinterest ads.
Free Instagram Guides & Courses
There’s not much to Instagram, right? Just snap a photo, throw on a filter, and go, right? It turns out that there’s so much more to Instagram than what meets the eye. If your aim is to grow a following and build influence for your brand on Instagram, these free guides will get you there.
18. Instagram’s Instagram for Business
Instagram’s business guide is very brief, but it does include some great pointers for brands starting out on the platform.
19. Social Media Examiner’s Instagram Marketing: Your Complete Guide to Instagram Success
This “complete guide” pulls together a variety of other Social Media Examiner guides on various Instagram topics into a tidy, chaptered list of resources.
20. Sprout Social’s How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy
This long Sprout Social post goes into detail about how exactly to build an Instagram marketing strategy from start to finish. This is a great higher level piece to consider after you’ve gotten started but before you’ve got a game plan in mind.
21. Social Media Week’s Secret Guide to Instagram Influencer Marketing
“Influencer marketing” involves building a marketing strategy around “brand ambassadors” who can share your products or services with their audience in a natural and targeted way. This detailed Social Media Week post tells all about how to work with influencers to grow the presence of your brand on Instagram.
Other Free Social Media Guides & Courses
Got your eye on another social network, like Snapchat or Tumblr? There are some great social media marketing guides and courses for slightly less mainstream networks.
22. Social Media Training’s Free LinkedIn Course
Need to connect with a B2B audience? Looking to market your services in LinkedIn Groups? Social Media Training offers a free LinkedIn course with nearly two hours of lessons spanning 35 videos.
23. AdEspresso’s Ultimate Guide to Snapchat Marketing
If you are looking to reach a young audience in a space that still has relatively little competition, look to Snapchat. AdEspresso has a detailed guide to getting started and growing a following.
24. SocialMediaToday’s Complete Starter Kit to Tumblr
If you have a fiercely loyal young fanbase, Tumblr might be the space for you. Connect your brand with popular culture by creating and maintaining a Tumblr blog, which allows you to “reblog” content much like you’d retweet on Twitter, except usually with many more characters. SocialMediaToday’s guide is an excellent beginner level piece to engaging this audience.
25. The Content Factory’s Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business on Reddit
If Reddit chooses to turn their firehose of traffic on you, your website will probably crash. However, it’s the one kind of crash marketers take as a success – the kind that comes with hundreds or possibly thousands of brand new visitors! This guide will teach you the ins and outs of Reddit and how to market without looking like a marketer.
Whether you are looking to build a presence on Facebook or Tumblr, there are detailed guides and sometimes even online courses, often freely available, to help you learn all the ins and outs of that social network. Don’t go it alone – other marketers have been there, done that and spelled things out so you don’t have to.
Since new guides and courses for social media marketers are coming out all the time, this is by no means a complete list. If you have a favorite resource that isn’t listed here, let us know!