Why Language Schools Can’t Ignore Social Media Anymore

A lot of businesses and especially language schools have discovered that social media is extremely important for promoting their business because it is the most interactive medium on the Internet and to many, it seems even to be the best way of “free” advertising.

Of course strategic social media marketing is anything but free advertising and in fact, if you don’t understand the pitfalls and misunderstandings that surround social media it might even cost you more without bringing you expected business back in return.

What is most important to know is that social media has evolved to such a point that there are many specialized social media networks beyond the big traditional Facebook, Twitter and Google options and that it is often very important that you become active within social media platforms where for example possible traveling language students hang out and connect that might include Tripadvisor, Couchsurfing websites or any other travel advice related social media, including even Wikipedia and other similar wiki-websites.

We have created for example our own little social media for language schools called languagecoursesguide.com a review site where people can find their ideal match to learn languages and to share their experiences with others.

Review websites are very important because it gives people the feeling that their opinion does count (and they of course do!). Starting from Google Maps (Google Local Guide) reviews that are extremely important and of course including Facebook reviews and Tripadvisor reviews (that are for many people a surprise: it is not just for restaurants, but anything that people want to do and experience when they travel, including learning languages). And more and more very specialized niche review websites like MyLanguageBreak.com become important for people to make their final decision in booking their preferred language training.

Especially for language schools all “How to Do It?” social media networks are very important, namely Youtube – this is where potential customers look up simple grammar questions or maybe how to pronounce specific words. Some language schools have already discovered the power of Youtube and even involved students to make little entertaining language movies – this serves multiple purposes: to give credit and recognition to their own students and to promote interactive and share-worthy content.
Key-Insight for social media: people are on social media to connect with other people and to be recognized and acknowledged as individual and human being with passions, opinions, and goals. Not to shop and buy. Shopping and buying only happens in the context of “what benefits me and what matches my image that I have about myself or want others to think about me”.
And shopping and buying decisions are made by trends and “social proof”, like what others do and like. The key is to create content that is fun to share and that then based on the value of entertainment or useful value to share then rubs of this credibility to your language school. A fun language school commercial itself will usually not do it. People prefer to share fun content, not commercials and ads.

A very painful realization for social media is that it is impossible to completely automate social media. You can create posts, images with quotes and other fun and interesting content that you can pre-write and auto-post every week or even every day. But you can’t automate answers to comments of your potential or existing students.
If you try to automate responses sooner or later it will be visible that you try to “fake communication” as your answers would not match the real human behavior. In the end if you want to succeed in social media you need to have a dedicated team or at least one person who is monitoring comments all across all social media and online – so you are able to respond to bad and good reviews, suggestions, comments or just saying hi to former students as they might want to come back in the near future or recommend your language school to other people.
Social media – done right – can be much more effective than any other form of online marketing messages that you create and send out, but is the most time intensive if you do not use the right research and automation tools and strategies.