Running an online learning platform is no mean feat; it takes time, perseverance, and effort to build up your audience.
One way to increase your audience and build a sense of community is to use Instagram to grow your following, showcase course content, engage users, and highlight success stories/testimonials as social proof.
Instagram has a massive userbase, with users sharing visual content, videos, photos, and stories. Tapping into this pool of users can help with the exponential growth of your course website.
In this guide, we will show you how you can leverage Instagram to increase your audience, build a community around your content, and attract new customers to your platform, using LearnDash and Spotlight PRO. No code is required.
Ways of Using Instagram for Social Learning
1. Hashtag Campaigns
One of the main benefits of using Instagram in social learning, aside from posting visual content, is hashtags. Hashtags are used to highlight posts, categorize content, and make it more discoverable.
Using a hashtag unique to your course content can open up new marketing opportunities for your LearnDash courses.
Hashtag campaigns are very popular among even the biggest brands. Take, for example, the incredibly popular Instagram hashtag #100daysofcode used by TreeHouse.
You can start using this very same technique for your own online learning platform. Spotlight PRO can help in this instance.
Using the hashtag filter system, it’s incredibly easy to highlight hashtag posts relevant to your course content and add them to course pages and more. The key is to use a relevant hashtag unique to your course content.
As in the example above, using the #100daysofcode hashtag, you can showcase the most recent or most popular posts on Instagram using Spotlight PRO.
Hashtag campaigns can help create awareness relevant to your site and increase your user base.
Testimonials are crucial to enrolling new users for your courses. Even in social learning, trust is one of the most important element. People look for testimonials as proof your course content is up to scratch. Using Spotlight PRO, you can showcase student feedback.
Encourage students to include a specific hashtag or tag your account when posting a testimonial to Instagram for a chance to be featured on your website. You can then use the nominated hashtag or display tagged photos to create a testimonial feed. Doing this means you can then showcase the testimonials on a page/post of your choosing.
Using Spotlight PRO you can filter your feed, embed it, and display social proof emphasizing that your course worked for your students.
If you have a wealth of testimonials from students and are worried about what to show on your website, Spotlight PRO can help curate your feed. Using the moderation setting, the plugin lets you either hide selected posts or only show the selected posts.
Encourage users to sign up by highlighting a student’s success story. Nothing sells a course to a visitor more than a real-world case study of how it helped them.
3. Nurturing and Creating a Community
In a similar approach to testimonials, speak to your existing course members. Ask them to create an Instagram video post in which they answer questions such as:
- How have they progressed?
- Has the course helped them in any way?
- What have they learned so far?
Feature a user once or twice a month to keep your Instagram content fresh and on point. Remember to ask students to add unique hashtags or tag your account. Then display posts using a hashtag feed or tagged posts feed on specific pages/posts with Spotlight PRO.
By getting students involved, you’re creating a community; their Instagram followers will see the content, which equals more exposure for you. Congratulate them on the progress they’ve made and remember to use a hashtag relevant to your business to highlight your content.
Engaging with students on Instagram is a sure-fire way to make them feel a part of a community. Interact with and nurture your community to watch it grow.
4. Run Competitions
Run competitions once a month to win 1-month free access to your course content. Running contests through Instagram stories can be a great way to encourage new clients, and potentially get your Instagram account in front of like-minded individuals. You can then display your stories and feature the winners on your website using Spotlight PRO.
5. Marketing Your Courses
Instagram is a great way to market your new and existing courses through posts, stories, and hashtag campaigns.
For example, you can record video content for an Instagram story and add text with a voucher code for users to use on your LearnDash powered website. Keep the code short and memorable. Make it specific to that story; that way, you can track how successful your Instagram marketing is and how much engagement you receive from your following.
Using Spotlight PRO, you can then showcase your Instagram stories on your website for added exposure.
Another important marketing strategy is to post regular content with a branded hashtag. Promote your meetups and online conferences and get people talking.
With Spotlight PRO, you can display hashtag and tagged posts anywhere on your website. In this way, you can turn your existing students into marketeers by getting them involved.
6. Post-Quiz Questions on Instagram
Nothing drives interactivity more than posing a question on Instagram. You’ve probably seen a ton of Instagram posts and stories containing quotes and questions. Drive engagement by taking a quiz question from your course content, and posting it to Instagram.
Encourage current students to answer the question. You can then display your post and all their comments in a popup box using Spotlight PRO.
Adding Custom Instagram Feeds to Your Website
Spotlight PRO showcases Instagram feeds in WordPress. It comes with a host of features to make your content stand out, helping you build followers and highlight posts.
The first thing you need to do is connect your Instagram account. There are two options available when connecting an Instagram account to Spotlight PRO. Either connect a personal account or a business one.
The difference between the two is simple. A personal account allows you to show Instagram posts from your account only.
A business account enables you to display posts where you are tagged and show posts with a particular hashtag from all over Instagram.
We would recommend a business account for your LearnDash site. It opens more opportunities for highlighting Instagram content. Converting your personal account to a business one is easy to do and free.
Note that you can connect an unlimited number of Instagram accounts to Spotlight.
Display Tagged Posts
Once your account has been connected, your Instagram feed will show up in the live interactive preview in the Connect tab. Here you can also choose to show posts where your account(s) has been tagged.
Select your preferred account and in a matter of seconds, your tagged posts will show up:
Display Posts By Hashtag
If you’ve followed our guide thus far, you’ll know the importance of using a branded hashtag relevant and unique to your course.
Using Spotlight PRO, you can choose to display these posts to your visitors. All you need to do is type in a hashtag and select Most recent or Most popular from the dropdown menu. You can add as many hashtags as you want. In no time at all, your students’ posts will be shown in the live interactive preview.
Thanks to the versatility of Spotlight PRO, you can also combine tagged posts and hashtag posts into one feed.
Designing Your Instagram Feed
Your course website will undoubtedly have a design aesthetic of its own. Spotlight PRO comes with over 40 customization options, to make sure your feeds match your content.
Creating something in keeping with your existing content, using your website colors, is easy to do using the intuitive interface Spotlight PRO provides.
Some of the Features Spotlight PRO Offers:
- Preview and design your custom feed, on Desktop, Tablet, or Mobile.
- Change the header layout from standard to centered.
- Change the layout of your posts, from Grid, Highlight, and Masonry.
- Set the number of posts to display.
- Show the number of likes/comments on hover.
- Show/hide captions underneath each post, as well as likes/comments.
- Add calls to action to follow you on Instagram. Change the color, and text on the button.
- Insert a Load More button to showcase more posts from your Instagram account.
- Customize settings for a popup box or lightbox. Here you can display a popup when a user clicks on a post and show a sidebar with comments for the Instagram post.
- Enable stories to show in your custom feed and set the interval time between them.
There are many more design aspects/features to Spotlight PRO that help you style your Instagram feed to be in keeping with your website’s overall design.
Filtering Posts In Your Feed
For more granular control over your custom Instagram feed, you can filter posts by captions or hashtags. There are two ways of doing this. First, you can set some global filters which will be used throughout all instances of your feeds. You can add these by going to Instagram Feeds > Settings in your WordPress sidebar.
The other method is to add filters at the feed level. You can then enable global filters or disable them upon creating your feed:
Moderate Instagram Posts
To ensure your feed is relevant, Spotlight PRO allows the moderation of Instagram posts. Here you can manually select to hide or show posts based on your needs:
Spotlight PRO lets you moderate your feeds, clean up content, and enable or disable specific posts at the click of a mouse.
Embedding Your Content
Once you’ve built a feed or range of feeds, embedding them in courses, posts, or pages is easy. You can do so either by using the generated shortcode, WordPress Block or via Spotlight’s dedicated widget:
Take a look at the example below of a feed embedded on a LearnDash powered website:
Spotlight PRO lets you create an unlimited number of feeds. You can then embed feeds specific to a course, with testimonials as social proof, and increase your customer base.
Benefits of using Spotlight PRO and Instagram
If you’ve created a bank of testimonials for a specific course or all of your classes, create an Instagram feed called Testimonials, highlighting all the positive feedback your content has garnered.
Paste the shortcode from the feed into the course page, and show visitors real-world feedback.
Remember, a visitor to your course site is more than likely not following you on Instagram. Highlighting testimonials to them could lead them to becoming a customer, or at the very least, a follower on Instagram.
Using the same method, you could create a wealth of different Instagram feeds to highlight what your course entails.
Add feeds to the home page, about page, sidebar, wherever you need. Combine the Instagram tips mentioned, and use Spotlight PRO to showcase your courses’ popularity.
Using Instagram and Spotlight PRO together will help grow your user base, engage with current students, and open up new opportunities.