As educators, my clients often feel that marketing is something that’s completely alien to what they do (or did) in the classroom. 

They often set up a dichotomy.. on the one side teaching, educating, helping people, and on the other side marketing and selling.

They envisage marketing their business on social media as being like going into a room with a megaphone and shouting about how great they are. 

(Actually we’ve all known teachers who do that, haven’t we?)🤣

But effective social media marketing is actually more like good teaching than you might think.

Needs analysis

Firstly, it’s all about the needs of the students/potential clients. We need to really empathise with them, be familiar with what they’re struggling with, and what they want to achieve. We need to understand them so well that we may even know what they don’t yet realise they need. 

In the classroom this is called needs analysis. In marketing it’s called marketing research. And in bot cases,m we’re also building on our years of experience and understanding of our clients and their needs and situations of course.

Creating a learning path

Once we’re clear about what they need and want (though these aren’t always quite the same thing), we need to find ways of helping them achieve those things. In teaching that might be a syllabus or learning path. Or, in other words the service or product that you offer.

Just like a good syllabus, this is tailored to help people achieve their goals, and you’ve considered what might trip them up along the way, and how you can give them the best possible chance of achieving the outcomes they want.

Sharing what you know/can do

You can come up with the most amazing ways of helping people, but if no-one knows about it, then it isn’t going to help anyone.Imagine telling a class full of students that you could help them get to grips with the present perfect, but you’re not going to, because they might think you’re showing off. 

Letting people know about what you offer and how it could help them with what they aspire to or struggle with serves them just as much as it serves you.

But while this is essential, it still isn’t the whole picture.

Building rapport

Social media marketing is also about building relationships with people so that they can see that you are credible, trustworthy, reliable, and that you are the kind of person they’d like to learn something from.

Teaching is also about building relationships. The skills involved in writing an engaging post that will get people thinking and talking to each other are not so different from creating a good classroom activity. 

So, the skills you need to create effective organic marketing on social media are:

  • empathy
  • good listening skills
  • analysing what people need/want
  • helping people make progress towards their goals
  • building trust and relationships

Feeling better about social media marketing now? 

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If you want more help with any of these steps (and a whole lot more), check out my business foundations programme for ELT freelancers, teacherpreneurs and small business owners, Flourishing Foundations.


If you’re an ELT freelancer/business owner you may feel a bit overwhelmed by all the business advice out there…

Should you start a podcast or a YouTube channel, a mailing list, a membership? Is it a good idea to keep things as simple as possible, or should you be looking to diversify? What does scaling even mean, anyway?!

Would you like some clear step by step advice tailored to your stage of business? 

Look no further. Click the image to answer six simple questions and I’ll send you a detailed PDF game plan for your next steps.