Double Your ESL Students with These 5 Shifts on Social Media
Have you decided to become your own boss as a freelance ESL teacher and looking for some social media tips? While going independent allows you to set your own hours and schedule, some people still struggle to nail down regular lessons with students. This means that you need to think outside the box when looking for new students and clients. Yes, traditional marketing methods are effective to an extent. But to really increase your client base, you really should take advantage of social media. In this article, we will give you some tips on how and where to advertise your services to attract new students as an English teacher.
How can I use social media platforms to advertise my ESL teaching services?
We truly are living in a digital world where many people record almost every element of their daily lives. Not only is this popular, but it has also become somewhat of the norm in the past few years. Many influential creators on social media started with little to no following and have become superstars overnight.
The best thing about social media is that it provides an opportunity for you to advertise your services for free! Of course, traditional marketing is useful, but social media gives you an added marketing channel that really can be the difference between you struggling to get clients to be fully booked up with students.
There are so many social media channels that you can use to your advantage as an ESL teacher, and each of them has a unique demographic or user base. This means that you can create content that will be relevant for users on each platform. And you mustn’t regurgitate the same content on every platform. The best thing to do is to adapt your content for each platform to maximize engagement, and ultimately get more students. So, which platforms are the most effective?
LinkedIn – the social media platform for business professionals
LinkedIn is probably the most underrated social media platform out there. It is exactly what it says on the tin, and is targeted at professional businesses and individuals. One of the best features of LinkedIn is the ability to set up your own company page, so not only can you have a personal profile to advertise your services, but you also have the option for advertising your business.
LinkedIn is like a mixture of an online interactive CV and a Facebook profile, making it one of the most engaging platforms to be on. So when you have a personal profile or even a business page, you are essentially advertising and selling yourself to all of your connections.
One of the coolest features of LinkedIn is how easy it is to get organic reach and engagement. For most social media platforms, you usually need to pay money to advertise and reach people outside of your network. With LinkedIn, if you are making good content then you can organically reach people outside of your network.
If you are just a beginner with LinkedIn, it is recommended that you start to build your profile as much as you can. Connect with current and former colleagues, detail your work history, including any relevant achievements, and start reaching out to people in your industry. However, the key is to make sure you don’t request to connect with random profiles without any kind of introduction. Many people use LinkedIn to advertise their services in a very spammy way. This is not often appreciated by the platform’s loyal users. So be smart with who you have in your LinkedIn network. Because these are the people who will see the content you create.
Facebook – the social media platform for everyone
Many people see Facebook as a bit of a dying platform, but you can still use it to your advantage. You just have to be smart and savvy when using it. Over the years, Facebook has made advertising very expensive. Lots of businesses have even noticed a lack of engagement despite spending a lot of money. This is why you need to think outside of the box.
Online groups are a fantastic resource because they are a place for people with common interests. You can find and join English teaching groups and see what other teachers are doing, get tips on increasing your client base or just connect with other like-minded people. Some of the best Facebook groups can lead you to your target audience and can help you to find more students. Join, engage, and grow.
Not only this, you can set up your own business page on Facebook too. This will help you to be seen as more authentic by potential students. It can also be beneficial for you because your students can give you a review on your Facebook page. It goes without saying that the more positive reviews you have, the better.
Live broadcasts are also great for engaging with your audience and building your reputation. But don’t just do a live video for the sake of it, which is what many people have found themselves doing. As popular creators know, it is better to not post anything than to post something boring and dry. However, you could think about doing a live broadcast to showcase your services, like live-streaming one of your English lessons. Not only will this show off your skills as an ESL teacher, but it can captivate an audience and help you get more clients.
TikTok – the platform that is changing the world
If you are an ESL teacher and haven’t yet considered TikTok, then you are missing out! Teachers and education providers all over the world have started to take notice of the power of TikTok, especially throughout 2020. It is one of the most popular apps for young people, and it has incredible potential for teachers.
The best feature of TikTok is of course the fact that it is a video-sharing platform, but it is limited to a maximum of 60-second videos. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but you can squeeze so much information into just one short video. And many teachers are already using it to their advantage. Lots of these teachers have a loyal following of students and people who are generally interested in the English language.
One of the best ways to use TikTok to increase your visibility and increase students is to use and search for important hashtags, such as one that talks about idioms and phrases. Using these hashtags allow your videos and content to be seen by people who actively engage with these topics. And this means you have so much selling potential right at your fingertips. You only have 60 seconds max to impress your viewers so make sure your presentation skills are up to scratch (acting classes are great for this). Developing presentation skills will not only help with your Tik Tok Engagement but it will help your teaching skills too!
However, with every social media platform, there are pitfalls, and TikTok is no different. The vast majority of TikTok users are under the age of eighteen, so it is important that if you use this platform to advertise the services that you produce content that is teen friendly and appropriate.
Instagram – the visual platform with tonnes of potential
Instagram is another one of the stalwart social media platforms that haven’t really lost any popularity over the years. For you, this is a good thing and something to take advantage of. It is another video and photo sharing platform, so your focus on this platform should be sharing engaging and eye-catching content.
There are several ways to do this – through regular feed posts, daily stories, and IGTV videos. Regular feed posts are usually static images or videos that you share with your followers. However, by using relevant hashtags, users outside of your network may also see your posts. Stories are usually quick snippets that are posted at the top of your profile. These can include polls, location pins, and many other little extras.
IGTV videos are usually longer videos, and these can be a social media game-changer for many ESL teachers. Some teachers live-stream their lessons as a means of advertising their services, and they can post their streams as an IGTV afterward. This is one of the coolest features of Instagram, because you have the potential to have people tuning in for a live stream, and anyone who missed it can catch up later.
Instagram really is one of the best tools for you to use as a teacher. But as always, you need to use it effectively. Sporadic posting with no real structure is not going to help you get students. But if you plan your posts and put a lot of effort and thought into your content, then the rest will follow.
WeChat – the platform that not everyone is using, but you really should
In the Western world, WeChat is not very well-known. But those who have used it before will know how incredible it really is. The general features alone make it stand out as one of the best social media applications in the world. But its potential for advertising your services is mind-blowing.
WeChat is the biggest and most popular application in China, so user numbers across the world have topped a billion. This makes it one of the best tools for you to use. Not only because of the vast numbers of people that use it but because many of those users are actively learning English.
If you have ever used any of the other social media platforms to advertise your teaching services, then you have likely come across WeChat-related content. On LinkedIn, in Facebook groups, and all over the internet people are sharing their WeChat ID. You probably just haven’t seen it yet.
Many potential students are based in China, and recruiters often post on social media looking for English teachers. This is one of the biggest opportunities you are likely missing out on. Our advice is to get set up on WeChat and start connecting and engaging. You never know, it might just be the catalyst for something much, much bigger.
What else can I do to get more students?
Social media really is one of the best ways to market yourself and your ESL teaching services. However, just being present on social media is not going to propel you to the top of the popularity charts. Nor is it going to attract potential clients and students. This is where you need to be extra savvy.
One of the first things you could do is have the same name on every social media platform you are using. This helps to build your own personal brand and keeps things consistent across all platforms. If you haven’t already done this, make it your priority. Setting up your own website would also be the cherry on the cake to help you look more professional.
Next, you should get in touch with anyone you have worked closely with in the past, whether they were clients or just colleagues. Ask them to post a reference or a review of your services on your pages. As an outsider looking in, it looks good when you can see lots of 5-star ratings. It makes people more likely to choose you ahead of someone with lower ratings.
Lastly, try to focus a lot of your time on current trends. Trends are so important because they help you to stay relevant and interesting. Social media is a brutal world, and it is so easy to slip into the realm of irrelevancy as an ESL teacher. So much content is being created and pushed in front of our eyes every day. Video content in particular has exploded in popularity, so it’s important to take advantage of this.
But always remember, don’t post for the sake of posting. Create good content, build your own personal brand, and be appropriate. This is when you will start to see positive changes.