The Complete Guide to Using Twitter to Sell Your Online Course

Morgan Timm

| May 12, 2016

Twitter has always been a bit of an enigma to me. I spent 12 stubborn months fighting every blogger advising me to jump on the Twitter train because I just didn’t get it.   

Why would anyone want to spend time on a social media site that limits you to 140 characters? How could I possibly use that platform to grow my brand? 

Spoiler alert: I eventually gave in, created a Twitter, and now I’m a believer. 

Twitter is the ultimate social site for pinpointing potential students and driving sales. There is a bit of a learning curve, so I’m going to hold your hand and walk you through getting set up, automating your account, promoting your course and everything in between.

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While my heart belongs to Instagram, my time goes to Twitter because it is a community building powerhouse and I’ve seen results. The most compelling reason to join Twitter is the statistics showing that people are more likely to buy from you only after they follow you on Twitter. 

Twitter isn’t the most intuitive social media platform to use, so people often get stuck in the "getting started phase" and never get to see how powerful Twitter can be. 

Setting up Your Profile 

Like everything else associated with your business, your Twitter account should be branded. 

Depending on the goal of your brand and business you can choose between a picture of yourself or one of your logo, you just want to ensure that you are recognizable wherever your audience might find you.

How to grow your presence on Twitter and sell your course.

Branding your social media goes further than your profile picture, though. I also encourage you to try and snag consistent social media handles. We are @TeachableHQ on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest

Being consistent not only makes your brand seem more professional and established, but it also makes you and your business recognizable. 

Another important element of your profile is your bio. This is prime real estate to add the most appealing part of your brand. Talk about who you are and what you can do for people. 

Here are a few examples of my favorites - give 'em a read.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

Your bio is also one of three places where you can include a link, which means you can include a call-to-action. If you didn’t already know, a call to action is language that provokes a response in your audience. In this case we want their response to be clicking a link and taking your audience to your prefered online property (maybe your course sales page, lead magnet, or blog post).

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

The second place where you can add a CTA is your autoresponder. Basically, autoresponders are messages that automatically send when somebody follows you. This is a good time to say, “Hey! This is my brand and here is what I have to offer. Check it out here!” 

Autoresponders are great because they target people who are already interested in you, and they provide an extra push to get them on your site. 

A word of warning: a lot of people are very anti-autoresponder and automation in general. We combat this by being very transparent about our use of automation and promise that this will be the only automated message that our audience receives.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

Growing your Following 

Once you have your profile set up and looking snazzy you can start following users and building your own following. 

Focus on following users in your target audience, thought leaders in your niche, and your peers rather than using any of the "gain followers fast" schemes that are floating around. 

A common method that a lot of people fall into while trying to grow their following super quickly is following as many people as possible, unfollowing those who don’t follow back, and repeating the process over and over. 

We don’t recommend this method because it looks spammy, it’s inefficient, and will result in a largely unengaged audience. No gusta. 

The best way to grow your audience is by following people who will be interested in your tweets and continue to post quality tweets throughout the day (we’ll talk about automating this later!) 

Ultimately you want to be creating a community of like minded individuals who you can learn from and who can learn from you, it’s a longer game but it is well worth it in the long run. 

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Click-to-Tweets 

Another way to promote your Twitter and gain followers is by adding click-to-tweets on your website or newsletters. Click-to-Tweets make social sharing on your site simple by doing what the name implies: allowing your audience to click and be taken to a pre written tweet ready to send on twitter. 

If you are hosted on Wordpress you can download the nifty ‘Click to Tweet’ plug-in otherwise you can pull the code that Blog Tyrant shares here

There is even a website called Click to Tweet where you can write your desired tweet and a code will be generated for you to stick in the HTML of your site.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

Another way you can promote your Twitter profile is by adding follow links and icons within your blog posts and author bios. Again, there are plug-ins that you can use, but you can also input them with HTML, too!  

Writing Tweets 

Writing high quality tweets on Twitter is hard. I’m long winded, so getting my ideas into 140 characters can actually be painful, but in the end it’s doable. 

Given the limited space you have to express yourself always convert your links into bit.ly format to shorten them. 

Another benefit of bit.ly is that they provide analytics that are powerful for figuring out what is and isn’t working on your Twitter page.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

One hashtag is fine, two is pushing it. Three and you won’t have room for actual content. 

Now that we’ve talked about how to manage the forced brevity, let’s discuss actually writing the tweets. 

Given the constraints, it’s far easier to tease what your link is about rather than trying to use the limited space to describe exactly what your audience will get from clicking your link.

Grow your Twitter and market your course.

The biggest problem with marketing on Twitter is how quickly it moves, and the tweets in your timeline all seem to blend together. 

It’s easy to get caught in the noise and have your tweets skimmed over. To prevent this I recommend adding media to some of your tweets to help you stand out! Another great time to use media is if what you have to say won’t fit in the 140 characters. 

Adding text to your image gives you the freedom to write to your heart’s content without worrying about character constraints.

Grow your Twitter and market your online course.

Depending on your brand, you can stick solely with including pictures in your tweets, or consider livening things up with the gif feature on Twitter.

Tweets with attached media tend to get more engagement than standalone tweets, and they are certainly more eye catching. If your audience hasn’t been engaging on Twitter try playing around with media and let us know if it makes a difference! 

The ideal size for a Twitter image is at least 440 x 220 pixels, and if you go larger be sure to keep the 2 to 1 scale. If you use different dimensions your image will be cut off and the impact of your image will be lessened. 

How often to Tweet 

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

Even if you are writing the best tweets with the most hilarious gifs it’s likely that a good number of your followers will be missing a good number of your tweets just because Twitter moves so quickly. 

To combat this you should be tweeting throughout the day so you have fresh content up no matter what time your followers start scrolling through their feed. 

Tweeting at least every two hours (or more!) will keep your profile active and compensate for the fact that most people don’t catch up on every single tweet that they missed since they last logged on. 

Make note that posting every 2 hours on any other social media site would be considered spammy by most, but because Twitter moves as quickly as it does you should be safe. Here at Teachable we tweet at least once an hour during the day!

Twitter isn’t the most intuitive social media platform to use, so people often get stuck in the

Automating Twitter 

Your head might be spinning - tweeting every other hour is intense and you’re a busy person. I get it. 

Luckily for you, there is no reason that you should have to be live tweeting. Instead automate your Twitter account and save a ton of time. 

Automation is a great way to ease your workload and make your life leaps and bounds easier. For our Teachable account we use Meet Edgar to schedule our tweets so we don’t have to worry about tweeting throughout the day.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

I spend the time that I would be using to Tweet to engage, instead. I’m are able to reply to any tweets that Ankur doesn’t beat me to and I can interact with our followers in a really genuine way. 

Every week I add about 20 new tweets into Edgar to promote our new content and features and keep our feed fresh and updated. This only takes ten or fifteen minutes out of my workweek whereas I’d otherwise be dropping everything several times everyday to keep up with tweeting frequently. 

That’s just not practical. 

While I’m all for automation (it’s a lifesaver, yo!), one thing to keep in mind is that automation shouldn’t be your entire Twitter gameplan: Automate 90% of your content, but be sure to live tweet when it’s relevant, too. 

Your followers want to see a real life person behind the Twitter account, and live tweets help keep your account genuine.  

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How to Leverage Twitter 

Twitter Chats 

You might notice that some of the big names in your niche hosting Twitter chats. Twitter chats are guided conversations led by one person or brand for their followers to participate in. They use a branded hashtag and usually ask questions surrounding a certain theme.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

There is no reason that you can’t join those thought leaders in your niche and start hosting your own Twitter chats. You don’t need a large following or a ton of know how to host a chat, you just need to plan and promote in advance. 

Twitter chats strengthen you community and help you gain followers. As the people participating in your chat use your hashtag, people are likely to check your account out and hopefully follow. 

The prep is the hardest part of Twitter chats: You’ll need to establish a hashtag, a theme, and craft questions. 

When it comes to coming up with questions remember that you need to be concise to fit in the 140 character limit.  

Can’t do it? 

Take a page from Melyssa Griffin’s book and create graphics for your pictures, instead. It creates a bit more work for you, but it looks super legit.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

Prepare to be busy during your chat - your notifications will be blowing up and things will be moving super quickly. To make your life 100 times easier, scheduler the chat questions to go out automatically so that you can be in the moment and interacting with the participants in real time.

We had our first Twitter Chat at @TeachableHQ yesterday and it was a blast. I always recommend attending a few chats before attempting to host your own, so if you’re interested we will be hosting chats everyday at 3:30 EST through next Wednesday using the hashtag #b2cChat! 

Promoting your course on Twitter 

Alright, y’all. Things are getting juicy now. Yes, Twitter is a fantastic community generator, and great for engaging with your audience but it’s also a great way to promote your course! 

One promotion method is scheduling promo tweets throughout the day - but you probably already knew that one. When it comes to finding your targeted audience, the advanced search is your secret weapon. 

You can use it to pinpoint users who would love what you’re teaching by typing in your course topic and selecting the question option. There are a ton of other fields that you can fill out, too, but in my experience they aren’t necessary.

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

The advanced search will bring up a ton of tweets that meet your criteria and usually about ⅓ of them will be relevant users who might be interested in buying your course. 

I recommend following those users and answering their question while mentioning that you teach a course on that topic. 

Sending out general tweets is another way to promote your course and it allows you to cast a wider net, but as we mentioned before Twitter moves super quickly so a large percentage of your followers may miss it. 

To combat that, you can use a ‘pinned tweet’ on your profile. This will be the first tweet that anyone sees when they check you out on Twitter. At Teachable we have an invite to our webinar as our pinned tweet, but pin whatever makes sense to you! 

Influencer Marketing 

When it comes to promoting your course, you don’t have to do all of the work yourself. Influencer marketing is a great way to get the word out to as large of an audience as possible. 

With influencer marketing you are going to connect with influencers in your space and have them promote your course for you. There are a few ways that you can go about this:  

  • Be awesome and hope for the best: this is unreliable but it will likely happen organically. If you’re rocking peoples’ worlds with your awesome content a few of them are going to promote you because they think you’re great.  
  • Ask: If you have friends in your space ask them to promote your course for you. Chances are a few of them will be more than happy to.  
  • Bring on affiliates: The most surefire way to get people to promote your course is to incentivize them. Offer them a percentage of each sale and they will be more likely to promote your course.  

You can find influencers in your sphere with the advanced search feature linked above, but Inbound is another great option!

How to grow your Twitter and market your online course.

You can find targeted influencers on inbound by searching your course topic and finding Twitter users that have your topic listed in their bio. From there Inbound makes it very easy to follow relevant users. 

If you’re already on Twitter I challenge you to step up your game and use some of these tips to take your profile to the next level - and if you aren’t on Twitter yet, I hope you’re motivated to fix that immediately!  

If you need some Twitter inspo, a few of my favorite accounts are Melyssa Griffin’s (her #nectarchats are bomb, yo!), Tiny Buddha, and Maria Popova. 

Want to use Twitter to promote a course but you're still in the production phase? No worries! Join us for our 7 steps webinar to learn how to create a profitable course!


Morgan Timm is a content marketer at Teachable with a background in blogging and social media. She runs Mostly Morgan, a life and style blog that reaches an audience of 40,000 people monthly.