As this long, tough year winds down, many of us are still working from home, taking client meetings via Zoom and perhaps—tentatively, optimistically—looking forward to a reset in 2021. And after eight-plus months of using our downtime to binge-watch TV or slowly chip away at home projects, many of us are eager to return to professional pursuits that challenge us and help advance our careers.
For agencies and brands, this year was one of learning to pivot, rethink and reimagine how to connect with clients and consumers. And one of the most reliable ways to stay ahead of the curve is by knowing the industry inside and out.
A good way to accomplish this? Online learning.
For individuals who are motivated to advance their professional skills during their off-hours, programs such as Facebook Blueprint offer certifications that have proven, tangible benefits for both employees and clients.
These kinds of online courses are especially important in the advertising and marketing area, where everything is constantly changing with regard to the technology, the platforms and even the regulations for acceptable content and advertising. Anything you learned even just over a year ago could be drastically different from what are considered best practices now.
That’s where online courses and certification can help. With Blueprint, we’ve created a professional development program that empowers people and businesses to reach their goals with Facebook, Instagram and Messenger, and a variety of meaningful certifications that provides an industry-recognized credential that everyone can trust.
What to look for: certification, accreditation and reliability
When looking for an online program, look for an accredited organization with a reputation for reliability. Make sure the courses cover the most effective, current and widespread practices across platforms that apply to you—whether you’re a creative, buyer or planner, you need to stay up-to-date and know how to best use the technology for the benefit of your clients. After all, you want the certification you work hard for to be recognized in your industry.
According to the study, Facebook Blueprint: The Value of Certification by Kantar (Facebook commissioned study of media agency employees within buying and planning roles across US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Germany, India and Japan, April 2020), the certifications available through Facebook Blueprint distinguish professionals as experts not only within their agencies but, more importantly, to clients as well. The study also states that nearly 80% of companies said certified employees produce higher-quality work, and their strong baseline knowledge makes agencies more credible and innovative.
Joseph Marcus, a paid social manager at Mediacom, recently completed Blueprint’s Media Planning Certification. He told us that not only did the practical applications he learned help both his work and clients, but for people like him who are eager to learn more about verticals they don’t work in as often, it was a source of self-improvement and confidence.
At Facebook Blueprint, we hear feedback like this over and over again. At the professional level, a number of agencies have gotten their employees certified, and our Media Buying and Media Planning learning resources—which we recently revamped and expanded—have seen a large amount of traction. It's because they cover and measure skills that are associated with the job roles they correspond to, and the programs are designed to meet individual needs.
Another important factor when deciding where to earn industry certifications is to make sure the program will make the most of your time. At Blueprint, each part of the program has been designed to meet students at their own levels. Through a variety of tools, both self-paced as well as instructor-led, you can take courses that work with your learning style and time constraints. Practice tests allow students to assess areas where they’re strong as well as where they need more help before taking the actual certification exam.
“Prepping for the Facebook Blueprint exam introduced me to various Facebook advertising features, tactics and best practices that I was previously unfamiliar with,” Elizabeth Bell, a paid social manager at Wavemaker, said after she became certified. “The learning modules left me inspired with fresh ideas that I am excited to bring to life for my existing clients.”
In the end, the best certification programs offer value for three key entities: One is the individuals who are getting certified, the second is the agencies they work for, and the third is the businesses and the advertisers they are serving. At Blueprint, we are continually striving to build and manage the program so that it continues to provide value to these entities. Facebook Certifications more than tripled from Q1 to Q2 in 2020, putting individuals on track to make that impact.
As Elizabeth Bell told us, “Having this industry-recognized accolade makes me a more reputable partner to my clients, a more well-rounded teammate to my colleagues and a more valuable employee to my agency.”
And that is definitely a great way to start 2021.
To learn more about becoming a Facebook Blueprint certified professional, click here.