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How Social Media can Support Members of your Online Course


Social media is a great way to promote or launch a new online course. But once a course starts the discussion often moves inside the membership site.

And this is such a shame. Learning and discussion isn’t just limited to what occurs inside a membership site. Learning should happen anywhere your members are coming together, and that includes social media platforms.

The reason why course designers want to keep the discussion behind the login page is they don’t want their premium information leaked. I can understand that concern. But weigh it up against the benefits:

  • You will be connecting with your members socially and showing them that they matter
  • You will be creating social proof of how you teach and engage members which may motivate more buyers for the next course launch

For social media to be successful you need to make sure your members are aware of how it will be used. The best place to do this is in a welcome letter or orientation pack. Take the time to explain how social media could be used by the group as well as listing the names of the Twitter List, Facebook Group and twitter hashtag you will be using.

But how can you use Social Media?
Broadcast Information
A simple an effective way to broadcast information is via social media. You could tweet about an upcoming call, use Delicious to link to a new resource you have found or use Facebook to organize an online event.

Trouble Shoot
If your membership site goes down, or the sound quality of your webinar is poor, you need to fix it quickly. A simple tweet, using a designated hashtag, can send all your members to another provider without any concern.

Put the Spotlight on Students
Social Media is also a great way to motivate and encourage your members who are doing good work and putting your ideas into practice. A tweet of encouragement or link to their blog on a Facebook Wall is as motivating as any Principal’s Award ever was.
I encourage everyone to check out the Reverb 10 project to see how social media was used to support their community. The Reverb 10 team used Twitter, Flickr and Delicious to support, promote and encourage all participants to reflect on their past year and think about the future.
Your job as a teacher is to reach out and communicate with your students, to encourage learning and support them as construct their own knowledge. Please do not limit this to a closed membership site. Use social media and show your entire community that TEACHING MATTERS to you.

Ainslie’s motto is to “teach people, not topics.” Using her teaching, blogging and social media experience she is showing bloggers how to create online courses that inspire, engage and instruct others. If you want to create Courses That Matter then check out her site or connect on Twitter at @ainsliehunter

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