Social Media Strategist (SMS) Certification

The NISM Social Media Strategist Certification is the industry leading standard for practitioners to develop skills to develop and execute social media strategies that expand brand awareness, enhance your customer experience and maximize revenue potential.

Developed by social media thought leaders, practitioners and industry experts, it is a multiple-choice exam that covers the following 6 content domains:

  • Strategic planning
  • Compliance and governance
  • Social media marketing
  • Project and campaign management
  • Community management
  • Research and Analysis

Benefits of Certification

NISM sets a new standard of excellence for leaders and practitioners who excel in social media communications. The NISM certification process raises the level of sophistication and expertise for practitioners while increasing the confidence for the companies that hire them.

Stand Out Ahead of The Crowd

You will learn the skills to increase brand awareness, maximize your earnings and revenue potential.

Master Proven Strategies and Tactics

You will learn how to successfully plan, execute, measure and analyze high-ROI social media campaigns.

Use The Right Tools for The Right Audience

You will learn to use the right strategies and techniques for the right audiences driving growth and loyalty.


What is the purpose of the exam?

The purpose of the NISM certification exams are to assess a candidate’s knowledge in the six content domains of general social media practitioners as defined by the current NISM Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) social media vocation studies. The questions are written, validated and reviewed by a panel of content experts in coordination with independent psychometricians, and are referenced in student manuals and other recommended study materials in an effort to obtain future accreditation.

Who developed the exam?

Questions for the certification exam are prepared by the NISM Industry Advisory Committee made up of social media industry experts. Each question is validated by independent psychometricians, referenced to current resources from literature on or related to social media, and repeatedly edited for clarity and content. Questions also satisfy the exam specifications of the current IAC Job Study. Questions are developed to assess the candidate’s knowledge on subject matter from the six professional roles of the social media practitioner. Each question is also subjected to editing for grammar and technical adequacy by experts from the IAC’s testing agency. Thus, content experts write the questions and validate their appropriateness for the exam, and experts in testing review the questions to ensure that the questions perform as intended.

How much does it cost to take the exam?

Exam Vouchers – $395 (includes proctor fee) At the end of the application, each candidate is required to purchase an Exam Registration Voucher. The price of this voucher is $395. Additional Fees & Information There are additional fees for denied applications, missing a scheduled exam date, and important information for those who fail their examination and wish to re-test that you can learn more about by reviewing the NISM Candidate Handbook.

How do I apply to take the exam?

The NISM Social Media Strategist exam applications are accepted continuously on a year-round basis. Candidates will be required to test at a proctored testing site that is selected during the application process. Candidates must apply online, and pay via credit card. Once a candidate has submitted an application, and it has been approved, the candidate will receive an Exam Voucher, along with instructions on how to schedule an examination appointment and other pertinent information about the examination.

How has the passing point been established?

The passing point for our certification exams is determined by a criterion-referenced approach called the Angof-Modified technique. This technique is currently considered by testing professionals to be one of the most defensible criterion referenced methods available for setting passing points. It relies on the pooled judgments of content experts. The criterion used to judge each item is, “What is the probability that a minimally acceptable candidate will answer this item correctly?” This question prompts the judges to consider a group of minimally acceptable candidates and what proportion of that group will answer each item correctly. The average determined probabilities are then multiplied by the total number of questions on the exam. The result then represents the “minimally acceptable” score for passing. The final passing point for the exam is based on this pooled judgment and the calculation of the standard error of the mean. Item analysis for each question and reliability indexes are also calculated for each section of the exam.

What score do I need to pass?

Candidates are scored only on those items that have been aligned to the exam specifications of the current IAC Job Study and validated for scoring. The exact point value for each question is determined as a function of the weight assigned to its content category as well as the number of questions in that content category. Pass/Fail results are provided to the examiner immediately upon completion of the examination. Certificates for those who pass are mailed to candidates via USPS mail within 2-4 weeks from the day of the examination. The score report indicates the maximum possible score for the exam, the minimum score needed to pass and the actual score obtained by the candidate. Candidates may use their unique student identification number to contact NISM and verify their Pass/Fail status. Exam scores are not posted on the NISM website.

Will my score be kept private?

The exam score is confidential and will not be disclosed unless the IAC receives a written request to do so from a candidate or is directed to do so by subpoena or court order. A candidate wanting scores released to another entity must indicate in writing which particular scores may be disclosed and identify specifically the person or organization to which the scores should be revealed. No candidate scores will be given to a third party by telephone, fax or electronic means for any reason.

Can I review or appeal my exam results?

For security reasons, the exam material is not available for review. Candidates who have comments about an exam question should mail their comments, Attn: Exam Processing, National Institute for Social Media, PO Box 431, Farmington, MN 55024. When advisory committees meet to revise the exam, they wiBass ll have available to them information provided by candidates. The committee will not respond to comments individually.

Take the Next Step

This FREE copy of the Candidate Handbook is designed to help you understand the NISM Social Media Strategist (SMS) certification. It outlines how the exam was created, how it is scored, requirements to sit for the exam, and what content you should be familiar with before taking your exam. Make sure you read this to ensure you know what you will need to know before you apply.

There are many different types of learners and we want to make sure that you have the tools you need to be successful in earning your SMS certification. Take our Readiness Assessment or contact a representative to talk about your skill level and preferred learning style. They will guide you to the right preparation materials for your specific needs.

Once you have followed this path and studied the materials it is time to take your exam. You will schedule a date and time with a proctor near you and be all set to earn your credential. Don’t delay. Get started today!