Tweet it. Pin it. Post it: promoting your resources with social media
by Gabe Baker
By selling or sharing your resources at TES, you benefit from our massive audience. Teachers are often on other online platforms like Twitter or Pinterest, though, and they use search engines like Google to look for resources online. Don’t despair! You can promote your resources on social platforms to make it easier for others to discover them. If you’re feeling a bit self-conscious about self-promotion, don’t. If you deeply believe in the value of your resource, then help as many teachers as possible discover and benefit from it.
Twitter has a massive community of teachers. It’s more common than ever to see teachers building out their “professional learning networks” (PLNs) on Twitter, and it’s a popular place for collaborative exchange and dialogue.
On Twitter, communities and conversations around a certain topic are often organized around a hashtag. When you include a hashtag in a tweet, people who are searching for that hashtag are able to find your tweet. For an example of a hashtag in action, log into Twitter and search for #edchat. #edchat is often rather broad, but you can search other hashtags for more specific topics and disciplines (e.g. #mathchat, #engchat, #ipad, #byod). See this page for a large list of education-related hashtags and another primer.
If you think your resource would be valuable to educators who follow a certain hashtag, you should include that hashtag in a tweet. For example, you may tweet: “Check out the new resource on my @tesusa shop, a group project on The Great Gatsby #litchat #engchat”.
Building Your Audience
People who “follow” you on Twitter will also see your tweets, so the more followers you have who might be interested in your resources, the better. Teachers are often willing to “follow back,” which means that if you follow them they will in turn follow you.
If you respond to someone’s tweet with a thoughtful or constructive comment, they may be more inclined to follow you and see what you tweet about in the future. People may also want to follow you if they know that you have more to offer than just your resources. Tweet about other things related to education and contribute your thoughts to popular discussions on Twitter about other education issues.
Space out tweets about your resources: don’t tweet about your resources too much within a short amount of time. This will ensure your followers don’t perceive you to be a spammer. To make the most of your tweets, we recommend reserving them for the resources you’re most confident in.
Keep aware of trends: Use Twitter to check in with the educational community, so you’re aware of what’s trending, new ideas, and desired content.
Always be a learner: see how other teachers promote their resources through Twitter and look for best practices that you can use or even improve upon.
Follow us @tesusa: we’ll often tweet about resources and authors we think are outstanding!
There’s a very active community of teachers on Pinterest, and lots of teachers use it to look for and share links to educational resources. In fact, Pinterest drives the most online sales out of any other social media, according to this study by Javelin Strategy & Research.
How Pins Work
On Pinterest, people share online content by “pinning” it to a “board.” When people visit that board, they can see your pin, and if people “follow” you on Pinterest, your pins will show up in their main feed (or home screen). You can create your own board by pinning education-related articles or tips you’ve found online or on others’ boards. You’ll be the most successful if you keep your Pinterest account education-related, but if that’s not possible, at least post mostly education-based boards.
Once you demonstrate that you’re a high-quality pinner, you may be invited to contribute to a group board. These group boards often center around a specific interest, like education. You can then pin any education-related sites like your resource onto them and drive even more traffic to your resource and shop.
Use relevant keywords: When you pin something, you’re given the opportunity to describe your pin. Use keywords that you think will be relevant to teachers searching for resources.
Pin freely! Pin interesting content beyond our resources and shop that will keep your feed diverse and engaging. It shouldn’t seem like you’re only out to sell your stuff.
Pin selectively: Don’t pin your resources on too many different boards within a short time frame. Lots of people follow many boards, and if you pin to all of them within a short time frame, these people will see your same pin in their feed multiple times. Instead, pin your resource to one or two boards and give it some time before you pin it to others.
Research for success: Do a little research on how to design effective pins. You want pins that pop, with legible text, colors, and clarity.
Timing: The most effective time to pin is in the evening.
Be patient, and learn from others. It takes a little bit of time to figure out how to navigate Pinterest, but the rewards can be significant. See how other successful teacher-authors are using Pinterest and look for best practices. As always, though, don’t be afraid to innovate!
Instagram is a fun, photo-sharing platform that’s popular for all ages (not just your students!) You can also find a lively community of teachers and resource creators on Instagram.
How to Use It
Teachers who share resources on Instagram often post previews of their resources there. You can get photos of your resource previews by emailing the photos to yourself and opening them on your smartphone before uploading to Instagram or by emailing the resources to yourself, opening them on your smartphone, and taking a screenshot of what you’d like to share.
Have a fun, informative bio on your Instagram account, and feel free to put a link to your TES shop in the field provided for your webpage.
Use the hashtag #tesusa when you promote your resources through instagram. Other popular hashtags amongst teachers on Instagram are: #iteachtoo, #teachersofinstagram, #teachersfollowteachers, and #igteacher
Maintain a diversified feed: don’t only promote your resources through Instagram. You want your feed to be diverse and interesting as well as promotional.
Try to get more followers, especially teachers. Follow other people, and comment on their photos. By commenting and liking others’ photos, you’re sending goodwill to your peers and often receiving more of your own followers in return. Compliment other teacher’s resources, and they’ll likely say nice things about yours!
Teachers like to connect with each other, and one of the ways you may be connected to other teachers is through Facebook. Believe it or not, many teachers actually use Facebook to look for teaching resources.
How to Use It
If you think your Facebook followers may be interested, you can link to your TES shop or a particular resource in a status update. You don’t want to do this too often, though, as this may tire some of your followers. Save it for the resources you’re particularly proud of.
If you don’t want to use your personal Facebook page for this purpose, you can create a separate “business” page dedicated entirely to promoting your teaching resources. You can link to this page from your TES shop, and you can share a link to this page on your main Facebook page. You can see this Facebook page as an extension of your TES shop, and you can post all manner of education-related things besides links to your resources, for example status updates, photos, or links to interesting content.