The Truth About Selling on Instagram as a Language Teacher

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When it comes to marketing yourself as a language teacher, Instagram is the obvious choice. 

You see other teachers with tons of followers, getting loads of likes, and you think ‘how hard can it be!?’ So you follow the Instagram guru’s advice and start posting language content daily and engaging with other accounts.

But then reality soon hits.

Weeks and months pass. You’ve been consistently sharing content on your account, and yet your followers aren’t growing as much as you’d like (or much at all). Then you start to realise that selling on Instagram as a language teacher isn’t a walk in the park…

There is TONS of advice out there about how to grow on Instagram. The problem is, so  much of it is completely misleading BS that does nothing but make fabulous teachers like you feel crap about themselves! 

Well, my dear teacher, that ends today. Because in this article, I’m revealing some of the bad advice out there and telling you what it actually means to use Instagram to grow your language teaching business.

Myth #1: Going viral is the key to success

Let me get one thing straight: more views DOES NOT MEAN MORE MONEY.

You might think that if masses of people see your posts, students will come flooding through your doors and you’ll never have to worry about marketing and sales again. But it’s not true!

Content goes viral when it resonates with masses of people, which goes against all the good business advice to speak to a smaller, defined target audience.

If you start creating content with the aim of getting viral, you will quickly forget about the people who really matter: your ideal students. And when that happens, you’ll start posting empty content that delivers very little value and makes very little sales. 

Which is exactly what you don’t want to do, right?

Myth #2: You should post language learning content

Many of the Instagram accounts that go viral in our world post nothing but language content. You know – useful expressions, grammar explanations and phrases. So it makes sense to assume that you should be posting similar content to grow your business. 

But here’s the thing: speaking about the language for the sake of sharing content or getting likes is NOT MARKETING. It’s teaching… for free! 

Plus, content like this usually attracts people who are interested in language learning but not paying for it!

I know that it can be hard to come up with content ideas. And language content is the obvious choice. But if you want to sell on Instagram, teacher, then you need to show students why they should choose you over a textbook. 

How? By posting about things that speak to their problems, struggles, desires and hopes related to their goals.

For example, if a problem your audience has is that they aren’t taken seriously at work, instead of saying something generic like ‘5 business English phrases you need to know’ you could say ‘5 tips to be taken seriously at work’.

Want more advice on how to do this? Download this FREE guide to discover the 7 mistakes language teachers make on social media and how to avoid them.

Myth #3: More followers means more business growth

Some of my highest-earning clients have less than 1000 Instagram followers. I exceeded my full-time salary a long time ago, when I had less than 3000. 

That is to say that social media follower numbers mean absolutely NOTHING about your success. 

You could have 100,000 people on your Instagram, but if only 20 of them are regularly interacting with you, you will struggle to make sales. Whereas a teacher with 1% of your audience size and 50% more conversations will probably sell out their offers easily. 

Instead of obsessing over growing your audience as quickly as possible, think about how you can serve the people already following you. They have to go on a certain journey before becoming paying clients, and if you create content designed to earn their trust, you will find it much easier to market your business through Instagram. 

And by the way, this applies to any social media channel you may use.

Myth #4: Likes, views and comments matter most

Let’s be honest: promoting yourself on Instagram can be scary. So seeing that your content has got lots of likes, views and comments gives you a mini dopamine hit that feels really good. 

BUT! Don’t be fooled. Likes and comments may be a sign that your content is appealing, but really, they mean nothing without DMs, lesson enquiries and sales. And this is the trickiest part. 

Most of us can post something that gets people to double tap their screen. But converting that like to a sale? Not so easy. 

This is why it’s so important to post content that goes deeper than language tips and actually sparks a conversation. There is nothing more effective than creating real, human connections and chatting to people who may be interested in your language services without an agenda.

I share tons of tips on how to use Instagram in this way in my free download, so if you haven’t already got it, what are you waiting for? 😁

Myth #5: You should interact with other teachers

Almost every teacher I have worked with has experienced the same thing on Instagram: their account and their content draws in other teachers like moths to a flame. 

I love the support within this community and connecting with other teachers can be a great way to network and get more visibility. But teachers do not pay your bills. 

Your Instagram account is first and foremost for your ideal students. So if the only people who are engaging with it are other teachers, then it’s a sign something isn’t working, and it is probably time to try something new. 

I have met some wonderful connections through Instagram who may never be clients, so I am not saying you should ignore other teachers. But if you’re struggling to grow your audience and sell on Instagram right now, teacher, then sorting out your content should be a priority. 

Myth #6: Success happens overnight (or costs money)

One of the biggest benefits of a platform like Instagram is that you can connect with people really quickly and things can move fast. But can doesn’t mean WILL. 

Everyone’s business journey happens at different paces. Some people’s accounts take off rapidly, while other people who are posting just as awesome content attract people at a much slower rate. AND THAT’S OK.

Some Instagram gurus will try to convince you that they have all the answers. That you’re missing some blueprint for success or you need their secret hack to help you grow and sell more on Instagram faster. But it’s just not true. 

You are completely capable of successfully marketing your language teaching business using Instagram. You don’t need to spend tons of money to do it, and if you aren’t immediately getting tons of traction that is NOT a sign you’ve failed.

Ready to start selling your services on Instagram, teacher?

Let me help! It’s these stupid myths that inspired me to create my free guide to social media marketing for language teachers. If you haven’t got it already, you can download your free copy here to discover the 7 mistakes teachers make on Instagram and how to avoid them! 

Or if you want support and accountability to market your business and start attracting a steady stream of students, then get your name on the list for the next round of the Rocket Fuel – the only accountability based marketing program for teachers! 🤩