What Online Educators Need to Know About Social Media Marketing

August 21, 2014

social-media-marketing-online-educatorSocial media is a great first step of any marketing plan, especially for educators. If used properly, boosting enrollments and increasing awareness become second nature on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

So once you’ve built online courses and you’re ready to start teaching, use the ideas below to ramp up your social media efforts and increase your student population.

Choose Your Networks

As an educator, your approach to social media marketing should focus on boosting enrollments directly and indirectly. A direct boost comes from interactions with students, while an indirect boost can come from engaging influencers and thought leaders, who may share and even create original content about your school.

Your first step is choosing the right network(s). Below is a breakdown of popular options for online educators.

Facebook
Why: The majority of your current and future students have profiles.
Pro Tip: Devote time to your educator or school page. Ensure your images are attractive and your ‘About’ information is detailed.

Twitter
Why: Its online education community is huge and very active.
Pro Tip: Monitor influencers and hashtag chats before you interact.

LinkedIn
Why: A great hub for networking and thought leadership.
Pro Tip: LinkedIn Premium accounts help you reach more people personally.

Quora
Why: A helpful community where students and experts on teaching and edtech abounds.
Pro Tip: Follow topics like ‘Education’ and ‘Education Technology’ to get started.

Google Plus
Why: Features such as hangouts make connecting with students and mentors easy.
Pro Tip: Google Plus Communities are great for networking with educators and students. Check out the Edtech community to get started.

The Three Ws of Posting

While these networks are intuitive and easy to use, sharing content on social media is different from having a roundtable discussion or a conversation with friends at home.

Below are some guidelines to keep in mind while posting. They’ll help you follow the rules of social media etiquette and bypass writer’s block when you’re staring at a blinking cursor.

Who:

  • Social media is not always ‘me, me, me.’ Share others’ accomplishments and content for easy, respectful interaction.
  • Identify your audience – students, educators, influencers – and cater to them. If you’re promoting your courses, your content should be focused on education.
  • Use forums and LinkedIn groups to learn about students and fellow educators. Take note of what they like to comment on and share and experiment.

What:

  • Share content created by publications in the online education space, your courses, and your students’ accomplishments.
  • A few of your own musings and some course-promotional posts won’t hurt, either.
  • Keep posts personal. Obvious auto-posts to Facebook, for instance, decreases likes and comments by 70% (Digital Buzz Blog)

Why:

  • Social etiquette depends on your goals. If you want to growing your network, boost enrollments and become a thought leader, then follow back, interact, keep it short and don’t over share.
  • One way to boost enrollments is by building meaningful relationships with students, who follow proactive, transparent educators.
  • The more students you can reach - both directly and through influencer networks - the more demand you’ll generate for your school.

Social networks aren’t one-size-fits-all, nor do successful strategies require activity across all platforms. Craft an approach that increases the number and quality of your students.

And don't forget that social media is far more entertaining than other marketing channels. Feel free to try out new things, be creative with your posts and have fun socializing!

 

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