Back in November, I studied how six different language schools use their social media to communicate with their audience. The more communication and responses they get, the higher the chance they can recruit more customers.
Originally, I started out watching their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, it turned out that the only one they all had in common was Facebook, so I stuck to that. Obviously, there are a lot of different variables that determine how many followers each company has. How long they have been around if they are online or on-site, how many different locations they have, and if they’re only teaching one language or multiple different ones. The number of likes and followers ranged from about 250 to over 10,000. However, those weren’t exactly indicators of the number of responses their posts got or the views on their videos.
FluentU had 3,800 likes but almost no user engagement. Their posts were vague and they weren’t successful in communicating with their audience. I assume this is because their posts were very impersonal. Like Mimic Method, the articles were very mundane and did not grab my attention nor did I want to pursue them further.
Right off the bat, I saw that there was very little personalization on their page. They have nearly 10,000 likes but incredibly low user engagement. Nearly every post they have has very few likes and is just a link to an article that has been posted on the website. Often, there are no likes at all. The page seems very bland and basic, which is why, I assume, they are not interesting their audience. FluentU also did not have an Instagram.
What They Did Well: Since November, they have been slightly better about posting articles that are relevant.
What Could Be Improved: They could be better with engaging with their audience. Polls and questionnaires would be helpful.
The Mimic Method had posted more than 40 videos on their Facebook page and that’s where I saw the most activity. They racked up tens of thousands of likes, with certain videos drawing in more than 8,000 views. This was easily the most effective form of communication with their followers.
Pinned at the top was a description of their company and a link to their website. They had 3,800 followers but I noticed that they had pretty low user engagement. Their posts were pretty steady. They had live stream Q and A’s, polls, helpful blog posts about language learning, and positive student testimonials. I noticed that their ten most recent posts had triple the user engagement than the previous ones. Also, compared to the number of likes they had, they received a large number of shares on their posts.
What They Did Well: Steady flow of fun videos and increased user engagement.
What Could Be Improved: Responding to user comments.
Expanish has a slightly different approach to Facebook. The top of their profile shows a lot of information on the company, including Facebook user ratings, a lengthy description of the programs they offer, and a list of upcoming events. The first thing I noticed is that they have about double the likes as The Mimic Method. Expanish posts a lot of photos of happy students with their diplomas and events they’ve hosted at the school.
They occasionally post articles about studying abroad or language learning, but those had low user engagement. Every so often, I found a high-quality video of students talking about why they chose the school and their experience there. I noticed that the posts that talked about their students or showed photos of them got the most likes and shares. One thing I think they did well includes hashtags in all of their posts. Obviously, if someone searches one of them on Facebook and Expanish has the most likes for that post, they will be brought up first and bring more traffic to their page.
What They Did Well: Video interviews with their students and use of hashtags.
What Could Be Improved: Adding polls and interactive material to stimulate user response.
Amira Language School
Amira Language School had a low follower count and low user engagement on the posts where they just linked articles. But they had nearly 50% user response rate on all of their statuses. This school also posted a ton of links to outside sources but they were much more relevant than those the other schools would post. They directed their followers to helpful podcasts, songs, movies, and short clips that would help them practice their French. The followers were very responsive to this.
What They Did Well: Posting relative links for language learning.
What Could Be Improved: Posting more statuses.
The first thing I noticed with Apple Languages was their Facebook ratings. Their overall rating was fairly high at 4.2, but the first reviews that came up where all negative. Most of their content was about traveling and language learning but they had virtually no user engagement. I looked at their twenty most recent posts and there was only a total of three likes.
What They Did Well: Posting relative articles about traveling and language learning.
What Could Be Improved: Organization of ratings. It would be beneficial if they showed the positive user ratings at the top of the page.
Having attended International House twice, I was very eager to analyze their Facebook page. They have 15,000 likes, not much more than Expanish, but the amount of likes and shares they get is a testimony to how far an organized and well thought out social media platform can get you. International House is a much larger organization and has been around for a long time now, but they have perfected how to communicate with their audience.
Each one of their posts has a personal touch while maintaining their professionalism. They post video testimonials of other students that are produced and edited well. Though they don’t post that many, they get a lot of views on each video. When they announced their journal for the program, they got a record number of “shares” from the audience. They have weekly posts like “motivation Monday” and “quote of the week” that also get high user engagement.
What They Did Well: High level of likes and shares.
What Could Be Improved: They should bring in another weekly segment like “Let’s Talk Tuesdays” where they take comments and feedback from their students.
What I Learned
On-site schools did better than the online schools when communicating with their Facebook audience. The sense of community has had a very positive effect and shows that people appreciate the sentiment. For those on-site schools, the responses and views increased over time. When a page is consistent and interacts with their users, they bring more participation in from the online community. Also, posting articles on other websites can go either way. In the case of Mimic Method, the posts were the very typical “why you should learn a language” type.
The key to creating a Facebook page that will continually bring in traffic and engage the followers is to have a balance. Consistent and relevant posts with a touch personalization have proven to be very successful whereas bombarding a Facebook feed with bland and unexciting articles from other websites have not. I noticed that the pages that had a variety of high-quality videos and weekly photo sets with motivational quotes or a new word received the most praise from the followers. It’s not the amount of content you put out, rather the quality, relevance, and sentiment.
Thank you so much for following me throughout my project and I hope you all learned a lot about how to be successful while marketing and communicating through social media. If you have any questions about my study please feel free to leave a comment below.
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