Like it or not, social media isn’t going away. Those of us running online businesses will find social media is going to play an ever-increasing role in our work lives. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a critical part of the marketing plan for online teachers. The ability to reach large numbers of people with the click of a button is, when done correctly, one of the most effective ways to attract students and build your business.
For online teachers, Facebook is the best way to reach large amounts of people. The platform has over 1 billion monthly users around the globe and allows users to be much more personal and interactive than any other platform. Let’s take a look at social media best practices for online teachers. How to market, how (and when) to post, and how to optimize your channels for the most effective branding and marketing effect.
Treat your social media pages as a business listing. What does a potential customer want to know about your business? Basic information like email and phone number, location, website link, and a thorough description of you and your services are a great place to start. I see so many Facebook business pages that lack this basic information – you’ll give yourself an immediate head start just by making it easy for people to learn about and contact you.
Post a professional profile and cover photo that represent you/your business. A logo, professional headshot, or other serious-looking imagery is necessary. You want people to take you seriously, right?
Posting to social media
I’m not going to go into detail on how to create your profiles – there are many Udemy and YouTube videos on getting social media accounts set up for success. This article is a step ahead of that, assuming you’ve already got social media profiles in place for your online teaching business. What we’re going to talk about here is what to post.
The goal of social media for business is to post engaging content that attracts the public to your post, and eventually, to your business. Posts should be professional but fun. The more comments, likes, and shares, the better. To optimize this, use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and language.
Post a variety of content.
Simply put – not every post should be a sales or marketing post. People will be turned off by your posts if all you do is try to sell them something or talk about yourself. For online teachers, a good way to create a quality mix of content for your Facebook and Twitter accounts is to source and share relevant articles. Maybe they contain tips for your students, maybe they feature an interview with an influencer in your sphere. Whatever the appeal, non-sales posts that are still relevant to the subject of your page (which is your online teaching business).
The best times to post are weekday afternoons between 1 and 4 PM. This is the time that, according to numerous studies, will see the most exposure and engagement. If you can, post daily during this time, and avoid posting at unpopular times like Friday evenings or in the middle of the night. (hint: use social media schedule platforms like Hootsuite to schedule your posts in advance. That way, you can devote time to social media at the beginning of the week and then not stress about it again). If your page goes weeks without posting, any leads or momentum you’d gained will fall off and people will become uninterested in your page. When you do post, they are less likely to take it seriously.
Use photos and video.
As you’ve probably noticed, video is increasingly common across all forms of media. Social media is no exception. Posts including a short video attract a higher rate of attention than text-only posts. Don’t have a video to share? Include a relevant photo to catch the eye of followers. Photo and video help people to remember your posts after they see them, as well. According to Instapage, 80% of users recalled a video ad they’d seen recently.
Social media advertising
Buying ads on Facebook is a great way to bring in leads to your brand. Again, I’m not here to tell you exactly how to effectively run a Facebook ad. I do want to point out that there are a few important factors to consider when running your ad. (hint: I suggest this Udemy course from Diego Davila, in which he covers setting up and optimizing social media pages and sales funnels for business advertising.) When putting together a Facebook ad, keep the following in mind:
- Targeting.Facebook allows users to target specific keywords to reach their desired audience. These are based on pages people like, interests, profession, and more. Before running an ad, jot down exactly who your target audience is and what they are likely to follow on Facebook. This is much more effective than simply targeting “People who like your page and their friends” or other basic options.
Photo and video.
Again, your ad will get much more attention if it is visually appealing. It is likely going to appear in the newsfeed and on the sidebar, where you currently see other ads running. Think about what you want your ad to look like and design an appropriate piece of video media to accompany.
Lead into a funnel.
A very effective practice for running Facebook ads is to use them to attract email addresses, instead of trying to directly sell them something. Once you’ve got an email address, use your newsletter to close the deal through a well-planned automated email trigger series or weekly/bi-weekly newsletter. This gives you the opportunity to build a level of trust with the recipient before asking them to buy something. Their Facebook feed is already hitting them with so many offers to spend money – they’ll appreciate the opportunity to get to know you a bit first.
Not confident in your abilities? There are a number of services that specialize in Facebook advertising. These services assist with setting up the content of the ad, targeting, and everything else that happens throughout the process. This is one of the best social media best practices for beginners.
Scheduling and reaching across multiple platforms
The potential of social media for business growth is nearly endless. A stress point, however, lies in the fact that there are so many platforms! How many, and which ones, should you use? The big three, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, should receive top priority. Beyond that, for online teachers, Twiducate is a great platform.
Earlier, I mentioned Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media scheduling platform that allows users to schedule and post to multiple accounts with the same post. Basically, you only have to write your post once to reach all of the accounts. You’ll give Hootsuite access to your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other pages, and it will send your posts to them at the scheduled time (or immediately). Users can select or unselect networks for each post. For example, if you have a certain post that is much too long for Twitter, it can post to the other networks and leave Twitter out.
Bringing it all together
What many online teachers and business owners find is that social media best practices, built around advertising and consistent posting increases brand awareness, helps to build a newsletter and stir interest in your service, and increases the bottom line. Remember that you can never be quite sure who is viewing your social media profiles. Always be conscious of what you post, what you share, and what the public can find out about you and your business on social media.
As you progress through a series of posts, build a small following and social media presence, and start to see results, you’ll feel more comfortable with spending money on ads. Social media is the ultimate business listing where YOU control the content that listing pushes out. Now, get out there and put this tool to work for you!