digital badges education

Social Media Badges: How Personal Branding is Changing Digital Badges

Giovanna Pergher
Inês Oliveira

Marketing Manager

Jul 21, 2021
4 min

Why are digital badges following a traditional format? Is there a better alternative that we are overlooking? Learn more about the importance of personal branding and digital badges

Why should digital badges follow a social media format?

Digital certificates started as a simple solution to traditional credentials, as a way of digitizing them.

Since their initial implementation, they were always meant to serve a simple purpose and were not seen as a strategy by itself.

Fast forward to today, and we are now living in a highly digital world where personal branding is the new upcoming marketing strategy, and social media is meant to do just that.

Digital certificates are contributing to the rise of social media branding, serving as a new way of promoting new skills developed, and participation in relevant events around the internet.

Yet, the standard format of digital credentials remains the same, and we begin to question:

Shouldn’t we be moving towards a more inclusive format that works with social media? Or is it enough to issue the traditional formatted credentials? And can we start talking about “social media certificates”?

social media badges design vs. traditional digital badges

What is personal branding?

Personal branding is a marketing strategy that aims to help you build your own audience and authority within a specific niche while differentiating yourself from the competition.

The keyword to better understand personal branding is “position”, as this strategy revolves around positioning yourself with a unique identity that tells your story while making you stand out at the same time.

Although there is no secret behind creating your personal brand, it involves a lot of strategy and research. Essentially, we’ve identified 3 common pillars to serve as a starting point:

  1. Focusing on your niche and living your brand – building a strong brand with your values and personality as the ground base
  1. Create a brand identity – focus on design and decide which guidelines will help you create a unique brand personality
  1. Demonstrating and sharing your skills and know-how within your network – you become your own promoter by advertising your value to your audience

the 3 pillars of personal branding

The importance of personal branding can easily be proved with several statistics showing how a personal page on social media achieves a higher reach and better engagement, when compared to a company’s page.

But one of the most relevant numbers is the percentage of people who trust others' recommendation, even if they don’t know the person in question: which is 92% on average.

And proving this point, there are companies like TripAdvisor and Yelp whose business model relies on the public’s opinions.

Which makes us wonder: are these businesses (who have been around for so long) trying to show us a new way to look at marketing and advertising? And are we just waking up to the importance of personal branding?

The answer can be extensive but not at all complicated, and digital certificates can prove to be a great personal branding example. (If you want to learn more about digital certificates, take a look at our latest guide).

Social media certificates and personal branding

When it comes to digital credentials, personal branding is the path to take for both parties of the business: the company issuing them and the participant who receives it.

It’s a simple way of promoting innovation, as it tells a story about the participant and helps the company stand out from competitors.

We’ve talked about employer branding in other articles and why all strategies around it have been failing this year, and advertising is no different. Realizing that standing out from the billions of online ads is the first step towards creating a different strategy.  

The objective behind digital badges and certificates is to help the company promote its services (whether it’s an Event, Online Course, or Employer Branding) and connect with the customer by being its partner.

More than a transaction, the secret behind customer satisfaction is promoting a business relationship and adding a long-lasting value to the customer (more than just the service provided). Digital certificates present the best solution and value by offering the verification and credibility of skills and achievements to the user.

That’s why creating a social-media-format badge that involves a good design, and resonates with the company, can go a long way to build a more satisfied customer.  

Creating certificates for social media should become the norm when we think about designing digital badges.

Besides allowing the company and the customer to promote both their brands, social media badges follow a natural format that focuses on design, brand identity, and innovation. The company will be showcased on the participant’s digital badge, and the participant will have the chance to build their own personal brand.

Social media badges are just a different and innovative way of implementing a solution that we are already so familiar with, that is referral marketing. This marketing initiative has been around for a long time, and it’s now taking other forms to adapt to social media.

LinkedIn, social media certificates, and referral marketing

Social media certificates and badges are relevant in every social media network; however, we can highlight LinkedIn as being the most relevant one for professional networking.

As time is advancing, so does the use we give to LinkedIn. We moved on from a strict job hunting and networking platform, to one that serves to grow your brand, company, and image, all using personal branding.  

When it comes to LinkedIn Profile Building, social media badges can make the difference: it’s a simple way to showcase your skills, professional achievements, and relevant events’ participations to your network.

As we noted above, building a social media presence is never easy for companies, and most are relying on their employees to have them develop their own presence and use their profile in favor of their job duties.

When we align this market demand for LinkedIn building, with social media certificates, we can easily see a match. Digital certificates allow the user to display their achievements in a proud way that starts word-of-mouth around the company that issued them, which is essentially what referral marketing is all about.

To make the job even easier, Virtualbadge.io has created a Free LinkedIn Certificate Generator that helps users connect their badge to LinkedIn, by adding the certificate to their profile.

The aim is to take the concept of “social media badge” even further and connect it all to where it belongs.

Conclusion

Digital badges should follow a format that’s social media-friendly to answer the market demand around personal branding and referral marketing. It’s not that it should become an option, but rather a necessary change that all certificate-issuing companies should adapt to.

Getting ready to take on the new challenges of social media and advertising can be difficult, but it’s crucial to give better answers and find better solutions.

We all know third-party cookies will cease to exist in 2023, and so building a founded network of online promoters is the answer to overcome this change. It never made more sense than to build it around your own customers.  

what part do digital certificates play in marketing

* You can find the organisation ID in the URL when you access your LinkedIn Company page as an admin.