Social media is now part of our everyday lives, with networks connecting people and providing them with knowledge and information in just a few taps of clicks. But social media doesn’t connect just people; it connects people with businesses too.
Social media is a gold mine for small businesses and start-ups, as it provides huge avenues to connect directly with potential customers — something that only big corporations could do before. Social media platforms have become home to almost 40% of businesses with less than 20 employees, more than 45% of businesses of up to 250 employees and almost 70% of businesses with more than 250 employees. Find more details and more statistics here.
Social media platforms have become a go-to marketing tool for anyone who wants to sell anything online. Promoting your course on social media may be free of charge (even though some of these platforms offer great paid advertising opportunities as well — a subject for another post) but it is nothing if not time-consuming. If you’re on social media, you’re ON social media. You need to post regularly and be relevant all the time; otherwise, you and your online course will be forgotten. Sooner rather than later.
Social media is a big part of online marketing
Social media is used for a variety of marketing actions. Here are the most frequent:
Content creation. Online entrepreneurs can create all sorts of content to place on social platforms: surveys, games, webinars, videos, polls, stories, challenges, and so on. These are useful in building and developing a relationship with your followers, in getting to know your audience and in being able to adapt your content to meet your customers’ needs.
Content promotion. Using social media platforms for marketing purposes is not to be taken lightly. Social networks have immense potential in reaching your audience and in presenting your product. You can promote a free mini course, a campaign, a blog post, your course and anything else you want your audience to know.
Sharing. Having social media followers helps you connect with them better and you can keep them updated on your evolution. Moreover, you can share valuable content, links, testimonials and previews of your course.
Incentive offers. Every entrepreneur knows that by offering incentives to your audience, the chances for them to convert increase. Giveaways are the lead magnets with the highest conversion rate. You can give discounts, bonuses, free samples/sessions, face-to-face or online one-on-one meetings, access to resources and many more.
Social media platforms to consider when marketing your online course
Before you jump on and create profiles on all social media platforms, you need to be aware of one thing: not all businesses have impressive conversion rates from social media, but they all generate brand awareness like nowhere else. And brand awareness always assists other types of conversions. Study your options and carefully choose the ones that work best for you and your online course.
Facebook represents a continually evolving marketing platform and communication channel. It's the largest social media platform, with the US ranking first in terms of Facebook user base in 2018. In March 2019, there were 2.7 billion monthly active users using at least one of the company's core products: Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger and 1.56 billion daily active users. Given these facts, one cannot overlook the potential of Facebook as a marketing tool since it can also increase your email list.
This platform can be used to generate leads and establish a voice in your professional field by creating a professional page and posting actionable content. LinkedIn is the best when it comes to building brand awareness, since your audience is formed mainly by professionals. On this platform it's advisable to leverage groups and even start your own group to share ideas and insights or ask questions to get to know your audience and establish a place of your own among entrepreneurs with the same expertise.
YouTube is mainly considered a source of entertaining content but it is also an essential tool for marketers. With more than a billion active users it can help improve your course’s SEO and brand presence. Moreover, videos drive a 157% increase in organic traffic when you share your videos on social media and include CTAs in them. There are plenty of free tools online that allow you to create nice short videos about your online course, without having too many technical skills. And if you have more than one course, it’s always better to cross-promote them.
With over 313 million monthly active users, Twitter is a very useful platform when it comes to interacting with your audience, sharing information and content. What makes Twitter stand out in a sea of social media platforms is its real time updates. The lifespan of a tweet may be short but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include it in your strategy. You just need to find that perfect balance between planned tweets (because you will need to plan them in advance, especially if you want to cover more time zones) and instant interaction with your followers.
Pinterest has caught up mainly in the US and it’s used for growing businesses, boosting conversions and driving traffic to your website. It's a platform with 291 million active users who are in search of inspiration, as Pinterest provides engaging visual content. Your pins need to be as eye-catching as possible and rendered vertically rather than horizontally. You can even add a call-to-pin button on each of them, leading your followers on the landing page of your course. Pinterest can be a great option if your course is related to DIY projects but with enough creativity you can make any aspect of your course as visually pleasing as possible.
With one billion monthly active users and 500 million daily active users, Instagram has to be on your list. You can make a business profile to create brand awareness and generate leads. You can provide relevant content and encourage your followers to create user-generated content. Make sure to always use a brand hashtag and leverage Instastories to post content adjusted to your followers’ needs and spark their curiosity.
When going social with your online course, remember to learn as many aspects as possible about social media platforms and choose to have a presence only on the ones that suit your online business. Regardless of your choice of social media tools for online marketing purposes, you need to follow the same essential rules:
- Be present — Don't miss out on all the opportunities social media has to offer.
- Be relevant — Be true to your business and provide valuable and relevant content.
- Be consistent — Offer continuous content that is consistent with your course.
- Be available — Socialize with your followers.
- Be responsive — Meet your followers’ needs.
INDIE White paper: How to increase your revenue by marketing your online courses