So you have heard as an online tutor that you should probably be using social media. This is true. You may have only used social media before to keep in contact with friends and family and to use this as a marketing technique may be a foreign concept to you. It was for me when I got started as well. So, I made a ton of mistakes. I listened to all the wrong people, and it has taken me awhile to figure out how to use it well. So here are some of the top mistakes that people will make and some suggestions on what would be helpful for you as a newbie.
1. Set up accounts on all of the top 10 social media sites. This is a really bad idea. You might think that it is a good idea, but the best thing to do is to get really good at each of the social media sites one at a time. Start with Facebook and learn the features that will be helpful for you and then you can expand from there. But for sanity’s sake, just use one at a time.
2. Add as many people to your accounts as you can. This might sound like a great idea, but adding random people that you don’t know does nothing for your business. Stick with adding people that you do know, or people that you meet in groups online that you want to stay connected with. You want a quality following and not just numbers. People that you don’t know may be trying to sell you something. I have run into this in Facebook and don’t want you to have to run into it as well.
3. Always log into each account one at a time. Sometimes this is good, but it is much easier to use a tool like https://hootsuite.com. Here you can see all of your social media in one spot, respond to people and even automate some of your messages. I like to automate things like announcements of when I am guest blogging, because otherwise I would forget the day it is live.
4. Don’t use hashtags. For the longest time I didn’t really understand hashtags. Hashtags are a way of people finding your content. So, if you use a hashtag, people that are searching for something in the search box have an opportunity to find what you are posting.
5. Go long periods of time without posting anything. When people look at your space on the different social media platforms, the first thing they will notice is when the last time you posted something was. If it was 3 or 4 months ago, or even worse, a year ago, they will assume that you are out of business. Whichever social media platforms you decide to use, be consistent with using them.
6. Have no social media plan. When I first got started I had absolutely no plan of attack for how I was going to use social media. I used it haphazardly and randomly. As a direct result, I didn’t get the kind of engagement that I wanted, and it wasn’t effective. This is one of those reasons people give for not continuing to use it. In fact, I had pretty much come to this conclusion myself, but that was because I was making a ton of mistakes. As you get started come up with a plan for what you want to post on what days and what groups you will take part in.
7. Leave links in groups, but don’t post or comment on anything else. If you join a group in one of the social media platforms make sure to participate in that group. When I first heard that I could join 50 groups in LinkedIn, I wanted to find 50 that would meet my needs. This was just too much. I can’t actively be part of 50 groups so why would I join that many. I do have different groups for different purposes, but it is more important that I am an active member vs. just joining as many as I can.
8. Be hard headed and state your opinion about everything. Honestly no one really cares about your opinion on everything. They may care about your opinion about what you are an expert at, but keep all of your other opinions to yourself. If you want to be useful and have others view you as useful, then you are better off responding with additional ways something can be done or adding value in some way to what has already been said. To downgrade others and their opinions should be left completely out of the social media forum.
9. Spend all of your time on social media. While consistent action is key to an effective social media plan, it is easy to get sucked into this virtual world. All of a sudden you can take a look at the clock and 3 hours have gone by, and you have accomplished nothing. You want the time that you are spending on social media to be productive and not counterproductive.
10. Not optimizing your profile. You will want to fill out all of the information that is asked when you set up your profiles. Especially on LinkedIn. In fact, LinkedIn rewards people who fill out their profile to 100%. Your name will show up more in search results vs. people who only fill it out partially.
The important thing to remember about using social media to market your online tutoring is that all of your online efforts are to engage people. You want to engage them to interact with you. You can use social media to build trust and authority. These are two critical factors. When you are marketing online, you can ask yourself these two questions.
1. Am I building trust with people who are reading this?
2. Am I being perceived as someone with an authority based off of what I am posting?
If you do not answer yes with either of these questions, then you need to rethink what you are doing and why you are doing it.
What are some mistakes that you have made using social media and how has that changed how you do things today?