How to Use Social Media to Build Your Business’s Credibility
Social media can be an effective way to bring your business’s message directly to both current and prospective clients. However, there is an art to using social media as a marketing tool, and it goes way beyond plastering links to your company’s website all over the internet. When used correctly, social media can boost your business’s credibility and bring in new business in meaningful, organic ways.
Content quality matters
The key to maximizing your business’s social media impact is ensuring you have something worth sharing. The end goal should not be to get as much content online as possible; the goal is to generate quality content that people feel compelled to share with others.
Quality web content should be concise, direct, and thought provoking. There should be calls to action and actionable suggestions that leave the reader both empowered and connected.
Whether content creation is something you do on your own or with the help of a colleague or freelancer, continually evaluate the quality of what your business shares to ensure you are working towards becoming an authority in your field.
This type of content won’t magically appear. Part of a sound social media strategy involves making it a purposeful part of your business’s day-to-day. Download our Social Media “Cheat Sheet” for Tutors to get started with your social media publishing calendar.
Engage your audience
This may seem like a no-brainer, but social media’s value lies in the fact that it is…well…social. For your social media messages to matter, you need an audience that genuinely cares about what your account is sharing with them.
It’s a strange concept, but your business needs to be a “someone” who matters to followers. If your social media strategy is to simply announce blog posts and company news, you will have a hard time creating a following. Use social media to invite dialogue and sharing, not as a bulletin board.
For example, when sharing a blog article, don’t simply paste a link, hit submit, and call it a day. Use the social media post’s message to highlight a thought-provoking idea or question that is addressed by the piece. Draw your followers and potential readers into the conversation. If someone comments on one of your posts, reply!
Engagement with your followers is important. Beyond your own content, share posts from authority sites that you think would be interesting to your audience. Conversely, if a follower posts something interesting, comment on it and share it; they will be more likely to do the same for you in the future. These interactions will not only strengthen connections with existing followers, but your insights will find their way to the followers of your followers and beyond!
Become active in relevant thought spaces
In the tutoring world, the aim is to establish connections and relationships with those who need academic support and the institutions where these potential clients exist. In many cases, this will involve trying to make inroads with local school districts and education services. Social media can provide just such an inroad.
The education community is incredibly active on social media. At any given moment, there are thousands of teachers and educators online sharing ideas and experiences with each other while, at the same time, searching for new strategies and ideas for supporting their students. Make your business a part of these conversations!
Use social media to connect with local schools and teachers. Rather than bombarding them with promotional messages about your services, identify what digital educational spaces (if any) they are active in. You are more likely to get attention and credibility organically if you can demonstrate valuable insights in these common thought spaces.
Some ways to connect with social media followers organically include:
Pinterest boards – Look for boards focused on things like test prep, lesson ideas, tutoring, and support. If you have content that seems like a good fit for the types of articles the user is collecting, share it! If not, identify topics for future posts of your own.
Instagram Stories & Snapchat – Use these multimedia-based social media services to highlight the good work that your company does. Put a face on your efforts in meaningful and entertaining ways that people want to see (and share!).
Twitter “chats” -Tweet chats are an excellent forum for small businesses to learn from thought leaders and to collaborate with your peers. It’s also a way for you to promote your services by offering advice or sharing your expertise on a topic. Click a hashtag, see when the next chat is scheduled, and participate! If you feel adventurous, host a Twitter chat of your own!
Facebook groups – Become active in Facebook groups frequented by educators in your area. While there are a few quality education-focused Facebook groups to join, spend your energy contributing to ones that have the most local activity.
LinkedIn – Become active in LinkedIn groups and share content on your personal LinkedIn feed. Develop connections with educators and decision-makers in your market.
Give Your Yelp Page an update
Make sure your Yelp page is up to date. That means more than just double-checking your basic contact information. Put in some time describing your business in the Business Profile. What drives you to be the best? What's your larger mission?
Add a photo of yourself. Upload a photo of your branded tutoring materials, a branded score report. Add a few photos of smiling students (be sure to get the parents' permission first!!), acceptance letters, screenshots of thank you texts you've received from parents. These things matter.
Most importantly, you MUST encourage your current and former students to leave positive reviews. This is essential. If you haven't had a review in the past eight months, potential clients will question whether you're any good at all. Some may even conclude that you've gone out of business.
Consider running a promotion for new customers. And once you've got a Yelp page to be proud of, add a Yelp social button to your website or embed a review. Finish up by adding a "Check us out on Yelp!" button to your newsletters and printed flyers.
If your digital presence isn’t making an impression on potential clients in the market you serve, you won’t see much return on the time you invest. Be purposeful in your social media usage, and ensure that your efforts are focused on building credibility in the spaces where your business is poised to make an impact.
Lastly, remember that when you post your content is nearly as important as what you're posting. To help independent tutors and tutoring companies leverage social media to grow their businesses, we've put together another free resource for tutors, the Social Media Cheat Sheet for Tutors. Click the link below to get immediate access and start generating more test prep and tutoring leads.
How has your company used social media to establish a meaningful presence online? Share your thoughts with our readers in the comments below.
Each week we examine ways to help you become a better tutor, increase score improvements, generate more tutoring referrals, and grow your tutoring business. And from time to time, we'll even share links to free resources we've developed for tutors and test prep professionals. Be sure to like, share, and subscribe!