Learn North West a tutoring company with a difference priding ourselves on providing tutoring for students with hand-picked teachers who are highly qualified, up to date with the latest curriculum and examination reforms and passionate about engaging and inspiring students to both achieve and enjoy their learning.
They are omnipresent on social media, in a good way, so we caught up with Maria to find more about how they market their business.
Q: Learn North West – do you want to tell us your founders story from set up to the present day to set the tone.
From humble beginnings, LNW started with myself as a mobile tutor, travelling to children’s homes before we secured a weekly spot at Tesco and began expanding the offering with new tutors. It seems surreal now to look back at how simplistic our initial set up was and even our goals or expectations for the business were. We knew that there was a real need for access to quality tuition for both parents and schools and that was all we focused on – providing that quality support, building relationships with our clients and putting the students at the core of what we were doing. It was that simple. From that, interest grew and we had to rethink, revisit our business structure and model to work out how we could scale up what we were doing to reach more people whilst maintaining the quality and intimacy of what we had achieved as a small team. Enter the Partners and our brilliant Associates and here we are today.
Q: We start all our interviews with this question. When we’re training businesses on social media we aim to improve their social media in the following areas. Understanding Of Platform; Follower Growth; Idea Generation; Quality Of Content; Consistency / Frequency; Engagement; Analytics; Sales. Which would you say you’re strongest on? And which would you say you’re weakest on and why?
Probably for me personally, LinkedIn and it is my own complacency here – of all the platforms this has been the least productive for us but equally I recognise that this is because it is a platform I do not invest in and you can’t yield crops if you do not plant or nurture them.
Q: You came from a teaching background – which is very much about communication – do you feel this helped you with marketing the business?
Yes and no, whilst we have lots of experience delivering assemblies and speaking at conferences, speaking to potential clients and B2B networking is a completely different audience. Our audience on social media is not usually the children, it is their parents so when we are talking about things we are familiar with we have to adjust how we talk about these things to speak to the audience as parents and appreciate how parents would view or understand these things. I would probably say being parents ourselves does help quite a lot with relating to our audience on social media.
Q: I just checked your numbers before we started. Over 3500 tweets. Over 1000 Instagram Posts (plus all your Instagram stories). I know that a lot of local tutors have only done dozens or lower hundreds of posts on social media. How do you keep the consistency and volume of posts up? Do you have a system for social media?
Now that we are a bigger team it has become possible to prioritise social media as a remit for our team. Maria takes the overarching lead, supported by all the team in the creation of content for posts. It is not always easy, especially at very busy times it can be the thing that has to give but certainly having a larger team now is so helpful to keeping things more consistent! We also have outsourced Twitter and Alex was always great at prompting us when we were slacking!
Now we all have social media as an integral part of our individual business goals and we have made more time to work on sharing our knowledge in content online.
Q: You’re communicating to parents to convince them on the value of tutoring. Do you have core messages or content pillars that you stick to?
We do not advocate that every child needs tuition, they don’t and our team would never “sell” tuition as a necessary service for all. Schools are first and foremost the primary provider of education and they do a brilliant job. Our consistent messages around tuition are ensure that tuition is a professional service and one that should only be trusted to qualified, vetted teachers – it concerns us that the precious education of our children is being used by companies to make money – using unproven templated models, fancy websites and unqualified staff. We set up with the goal of making LNW a company that parents and schools can trust with children’s education and we have never and will never waiver from this.
Q: Facebook and Instagram are your core channels for parents. How do you use these and how do you keep up with the always changing element of instagram? And how do you encourage the parents to be active and engaging with you on social media?
We mostly just post and hope that parents find the messages useful or engaging. Lots of our parents verbally engage with us about information they have seen on our socials but do not always comment or like the posts – and that is great, that means it is reaching them and helping them to keep abreast with things that are relevant to them. I must admit that we are not very quick on the uptake with things like producing reels or getting all the fancy features on posts so we usually get up to speed with these things when they become old hat! We do find following your account very useful for finding out about updates and things we ought to be thinking about and doing with our socials.
Q: Twitter is the tool for recruiting teachers. For those outside the industry do you want to tell the world about Teacher Twitter and how Learn North West use Twitter to be visible?
So a lot of schools are on Twitter as are lots of influential education experts which means it is a great space to keep ourselves up to date for education research development, engage in CPD opportunities as well as find out what schools are doing locally, what their priorities are etc. All valuable insights into making sure we are continually meeting the changing priorities and demands facing education as an industry. Equally, it is a good space for them to see what we are doing and understand how we work.
Q: As the business has changed and grown in terms of number of teachers, how has the social media changed?
I would say I hope our social media has become more varied – we have been able to feature more of the breadth of what we offer through our wider team. Parents of younger ones will find information and tips on KS1 and our Secondary team are reaching not only the parents but the students themselves with revision tips and insight.
Q: I know you moved away from a lot of traditional marketing in favour of social media. What was the pivot point for you in terms of social media winning out?
For a start we can do it from our phones… so this helps using dead time in the car or sitting at the side of the swimming baths whilst our children are having their lessons etc. – we can fit it in to our schedules quite easily. I also feel our clients can hear, see and encounter who we are whereas print based marketing just cannot convey that. Social media gives people a little insight into us and how we work and I hope that helps them when they come to considering choosing a tutor.
Q: How do you judge the success of social media ?
Two ways – how many enquiries come from social media helps to assess the reach in terms of a sales point of view. From an education point of view, I like to look at the engagement and how well we have used our informative posts to help parents gain a teacher’s insight into education.
Q: What is your biggest social media marketing success story for Learn North West?
This one is quite tricky… I would probably say one particularly large contract with an education setting that came from social media perhaps. But it is not one big thing in particularly – it’s the cumulative effects of small wins every day (or week in a quiet week 😂)
Q: What is your biggest social media marketing failure? And what did you learn from it?
On the very odd occasion we have had one or two uneducated users choose to leave unhelpful comments – letting them get to us and chip away at our confidence is definitely a failure. Putting yourself online for all to see is a very daunting and unnatural thing for a group of unassuming teachers to do and these comments (only two or three thank goodness) did knock us a little.
Q: If you started Learn North West again would you have anything different with your social media marketing?
Trust it would work sooner than we did. I think because social media was new to me personally (I did not have Facebook or any personal accounts), I did not know how it worked and it took a while to see how people use it to communicate to their client base effectively.
Q: You’ve been on our social media courses and follow our content. What’s your biggest social media marketing lesson from Altrincham HQ?
Engage with others – it’s not all about the sound of your own voice in your own posts!
*** Find our more about Learn North West here ***
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