Twitter MarketingCan 140 characters market your online course to the masses? The answer is a resounding yes. Twitter is one of the today’s hottest social media platforms because it is the only place where 140-characters can make a powerful and lasting impression.

Not ready to accept this? You might want to think about the recent celebrity group selfie posted by Ellen during the Oscars. This one picture actually shut down twitter for a short time because it was being retweeted by millions of people. In fact, it is now the most retweeted picture in Twitter history.

While your tweets might not go global like Ellen’s, you can still create a marketing movement and following for yourself that will help increase awareness and enrollment of your course.

The Basics

Before you begin tweeting you need to master the basics of Twitter, including creating a compelling profile and choosing name.

When it comes to choosing a name on Twitter, don’t try and be clever. You want people to remember your name and be able to find you and your course with ease. If you already have a website, you should use your URL as the name. If you are a professor who will be tweeting to promote your class, you should use your name, as well as a reference to your course. For example, @ProfAllen_(Course or Program Name).

Also be sure to fill out all the profile information in your Twitter profile and include a short description of who you are, what your course is about, a picture and a link to your website.

When it comes to choosing a name on Twitter, don’t try and be clever. You want people to remember your name…

Once you have completed your profile, be sure to add the Twitter “follow me” button to your website, blog or anywhere else someone might connect with you. Don’t forget to mention your twitter on your other social media platforms to help increase engagement. You can even create a link to your Twitter feed on your website to let visitors know what you are up to on platform

Also, keep in mind that you will want your social media platforms to work in tandem, not against each other, especially if you will be linking back and forth to them. Sending out a bunch of different, conflicting messages will only confuse people about your brand, and leave them feeling disengaged.

Finally, before you type up your first tweet, you should also have a social media strategy in place. It is important to remember that no matter where you are posting, your message should always consistent. A good strategy can also help you decide when is the best time to tweet, and how often.

Creating a Following

If you want to successfully utilize Twitter to market your course, you need think about what will grab your audience’s attention. Your tweets should never be about only you or your course. They should strike a balance between self-promotion and promoting information posted by others that is relevant to your course.

Too much self-promotion can come off as too much sales and not enough engagement. You want your followers to see that you are an authority on not just your course, but in areas of online education, the job market or any other topic that might pertain to your program.

By becoming an authority, you will have followers coming back time after time to see what you’ve posted because they know you always have provide them with great content. In addition, you will increase your followers, which in turn means more people will want to check out your website and register for your course. Engagement is always key on Twitter.

Too much self-promotion can come off as too much sales and not enough engagement.  You want your followers to see that you are an authority…

Varying Your Tweets

Just because you only have 140-characters doesn’t mean your tweets have to always be the same. Twitter actually allows you to post pictures or videos, as well as links to your site or blog posts. You can even tweet links to presentations you’ve posted on SlideShare. Keep this in mind as you post and try to vary your tweets.

Other great ways to engage your followers, while marketing your course include:

  • Questions – Start a dialogue and ask your followers about an article you wrote, posted or retweeted. Be sure to include a link to the material you’re referencing, as well as a hashtag for them to include in their reply. This allows everyone to track the conversation and you never know when your hashtag will become part of What’s Trending.
  • Quotes – One of the most retweeted things on Twitter are quotes. People love to share them, so if you have one that is relevant to your course, tweet it out. You can even designate a quote day on your Twitter feed. It will give your followers something to look forward to, and you can also encourage them to share their favorite quotes.
  • Twitter Chats – Another great marketing tool is the Twitter chat. It allows followers to ask you questions or have a discussion about a certain topic in real time. These have grown in popularity because they drive engagement and get people excited about being part of the conversation. Topics can range from admission questions to get to know the professor chats.

Promoted Tweets

A relatively new trend on Twitter is the promoted tweet or account. Some larger brands are using this to spread their reach further. Promoted tweets allow you to target users in their feeds, above search results and on Hootsuite, a Twitter management tool. Promoted accounts are those accounts that appear on the left sidebar of Twitter, where suggested follows are displayed, as well as in the list of recommendations for people to follow who are similar to other accounts users already follow.  To take part in either of these, you will need to enroll in Twitter advertising.

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Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

More posts by Rick J. Stern

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