Written by Baidhurya Mani
Creating a fantastic course is just half the battle won. Your next big challenge is finding audiences who are eager to invest in your knowledge and marketing your course to them.
Sadly, that’s where 73% of course creators hit a roadblock:
If you’re in this boat, Instagram is one of those social networks you shouldn’t ignore. It has the audience and features that can make promoting and selling your course much easier.
But the big question is: how? Don’t worry, by the end of this guide, you’ll learn how to promote your online course on Instagram.
Why Promote on Instagram?
Instagram is an excellent option for course creators to promote online courses. Here’s why.
For starters, 87% of people take action when they come across a product on Instagram. That means they can:
- Search to know more about your course
- Visit your course landing page
- Or even make a direct purchase from your Instagram shop if they like what they see.
So, if your content is good enough, you can possibly attract thousands, if not millions of prospective students from this massive audience.
To fully harness Instagram as a promotional tool, you must first switch to a business account. This grants you access to promotional features like Instagram analytics, Shop tabs, and paid ads.
Speaking of which, you can promote your online course on Instagram organically or through paid ads.
Paid advertising, on the other hand, lets you boost or sponsor your content to reach a broader audience.
These days, some creators also buy Instagram likes of real people - not bots - to increase their reach. That’s great because Instagram does consider popularity metrics, such as likes, to decide the posts to feature on its Explore page. So, having more likes increases your odds of being featured. It would be great if you get featured because over 200 million users visit this page daily.
Also, bear in mind that everyone’s Explore feed post is customized to their interests. That means if you get featured, you’ll be connecting with highly qualified leads who might show interest in your course down the line.
5 tips to follow to effectively promote your online course
Before any marketing strategy, it’s crucial to ensure that your course is well-prepared and structured in the first place. You wouldn’t want to wake up to a series of refund requests after eventually gathering your course takers.
Thankfully, top online course platforms like Thinkific and Teachable have a reputation for helping course creators make online courses that engage and satisfy their learners. They offer exciting features like an easy-to-use curriculum builder, video hosting, and interactive quiz tools.
Once your course is ready to go, follow these tips to effectively promote your online course on Instagram:
1. Create a Distinctive Profile
Your profile is often the first thing potential students see, so it's essential to make it count. A distinctive profile immediately conveys professionalism and credibility.
Start by optimizing your profile picture. Ideally, use a high-resolution image or logo that represents your course or brand, if applicable. Here's an example from Willow Crossley’s Create Academy:
Your bio deserves attention as well. This is like your elevator pitch. So, it should include the essence of your courses, potential benefits, and a CTA in less than 150 characters. The CTA is usually to click the link in your bio:
Your bio is the only place the social media platform allows you to add a clickable link. So, if you have multiple courses with different landing pages, consider using link management tools like Linktree or Koji. With this, you can create a single link that leads to all your courses.
Moving on, if you offer multiple courses, consider setting up an Instagram Shop for them.
This way, your audience can conveniently browse through your course catalog on Instagram and find one that interests them.
2. Create and Share Content that Makes the Audience Curious
Your Instagram content should spark your audience’s curiosity, make them eager to want to know more, and eventually buy your course. It’s important to know your audience and learn from the engagement metrics to understand the best times to post for maximum reach and engagement. The best social media management tools help you to learn more about your audience and schedule posts for the best times, according to your audience behavior.
You can share high-quality content you think your ideal audience will find helpful. StudentInKorea’s main target audiences are individuals interested in Global Korea Scholarships (GKS), for instance. So, it makes sense that it creates various posts around that topic.
You can also use teasers. Why not create a bite-sized reel or image carousel showcasing interesting snippets of your course material? Offering your audience a sneak peek of your course’s value will leave them eager to explore the complete content.
MoCheddah does this. She shares a snippet of her digital marketing course, providing a few tips such as giveaways and creating excitement. She then directs her audience to the course for more details.
Sharing social proof, including success stories or positive reviews from your previous students, also helps. Let’s say you have a fitness course. Display before and after stories of students who achieve remarkable results via your course. This leaves your future students wondering “how” and eventually opt for your offer.
Whichever relevant content you share, remember that you need an engaging headline. Hint at a problem, then imply you hold the solution.
Take, for example, Plottery, a book writing course. Its headline teases the issue of an underdeveloped plot. Any writer struggling with plot problems would undoubtedly be curious.
3. Interact with Followers
Interacting with your followers is a great way to build a thriving community around your course. It shows your followers you value them and are listening to their needs. This, in turn, nurtures trust and loyalty, increasing their likelihood of exploring your course.
When someone comments on your post or sends you a message, make it a priority to acknowledge their input and respond promptly. You never know, a simple "thank you" can go a long way in building rapport. You can also respond to their comments with intriguing opinions and suggestions that can drive more conversation.
Another clever move is using Instagram Live to interact with your audience. Host live Q&A sessions or tutorials, and show behind-the-scenes glimpses into your course creation process. This not only engages your audience but also humanizes your brand.
4. Engage with Other Brands
Actively engaging with other top brands opens doors for possible collaborations in the future. The collaboration will then allow you to tap into their followers and extend your online course’s reach.
But you’ll only get the best results when you prioritize brands that align with your online course’s topic. Their audiences are more likely to overlap with the same people you’re trying to reach. So, for instance, if you teach digital marketing, seek out digital marketing agencies, content creators, or social media influencers.
Next, follow these brands and engage with their content. Like their social media posts and leave thoughtful comments. The goal isn’t just to promote your course right away. It’s to build a genuine connection.
If you do this consistently, they’ll start noticing you over time. So, it won’t come across as odd when you reach out to them for collaboration opportunities.
Speaking of collaborations, consider co-hosting Instagram live seasons, organizing joint giveaways, or creating co-branded content:
In the example above, Alexandra Fasulo, partnered with BloomSEO to offer a 30% discount on her course. That’s a collaboration strategy you can copy to reach a wider audience as well.
As you promote online courses on Instagram, you want to understand what’s working and what's not. This way, you can fine-tune your strategy for better results.
The social media channel has a built-in analytics tool that gives you insights into your account performance. To access these analytics, you’ll need to switch to a business account.
Mobile users can access their analytics by clicking on “professional dashboard” on their profile page:
But for desktop users, you need to use Creator Studio for Instagram.
Within Instagram's analytics, you'll find data about your post reach, impressions, post engagement, and follower count. With this information, you can adjust your subsequent promotion strategy.
For instance, if you notice your entertaining videos record more engagement than images, you might then want to prioritize creating more videos.
If you’re running paid ads to promote your course, the ad campaign manager provides detailed data on ad reach, clicks, and conversions. You can use this information to optimize your ad campaigns and content strategy for a better ROI.
Instagram has the numbers and essential tools to make your online course business a success.
To effectively promote online courses on Instagram, you must first understand how to make your prospective customer base curious. Also, you need a distinctive profile and consistent interaction with your current and potential customers.
Moving on, pay attention to your interactions with other brands to reach a larger audience, and don’t forget to monitor your results.
With these Instagram marketing tactics, you can successfully promote your online course on Instagram and eventually make online course sales.
Baidhurya Mani is the founder of SellCoursesOnline.com. He regularly shares tips, tools, and strategies to help creators and entrepreneurs build a successful online course business.