How to Use Social Media Listening to Design Online Courses that Draw Crowds

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To build an authoritative brand online, all you need is high-quality content and a reliable distribution strategy that constantly pulls in traffic.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, if you believe that statement, then you could be one of the run-of-the-mill brands that contribute to the digital content pollution.

It may seem harsh, but the vast majority of businesses today that are engaged in content marketing tend to recycle topic ideas that are already covered countless times before.

Sure, you can definitely add your own twist or repurpose ideas into new content formats, such as infographics or tutorial videos.

But if you really want to cut through the content noise and win the attention of your target audience, you need to listen to their conversations on social media — figure out what particular piece of information piques their interest, refine it into a full-fledged content plan, and present the information in a truly engaging and enriching way.

And when I said engaging and enriching, I’m talking about full-fledged online courses that discuss topics thoroughly.

Why Online Courses?

Of all content types that allow you to get your point across to your audience, why create online courses?

First of all, e-learning is on its way to becoming a hundred-billion-dollar industry. If you manage to establish yourself as a credible education provider, then developing online courses can also be a source of income for your brand.

Additionally, online courses pretty much guarantee that you’ll generate driven, high-quality leads. This will make them significantly more receptive of your products or services one they acquire the knowledge or skill they seek.

Using Keyhole to Unearth Topic Ideas

It may seem like a complicated task, but it’s actually incredibly easy, especially if you have access to social media listening tools like Keyhole and a reputable online course platform.

Here’s how to do it.

1. Being in-tune with social conversations

Social media listening is one aspect of modern marketing that you don’t always find in “how-to” articles.

That’s why, this time around, we’ll put it front and center.

Put simply, social media listening encompasses activities that enable brands to monitor and extract insights from user conversations.

With Keyhole, you can listen to your target audience by searching for posts that contain a specific keyword or hashtag.

On the “Hashtags & Keywords” page from the main dashboard, all you need to do is enter the hashtag, keyword, URL, or specific profile to start aggregating relevant posts.

social media listening online courses audience

For example, suppose you want to develop an online course about video editing.

By entering the hashtag #VideoEditing in your tracker, you will end up with the following posts:

social media listening online courses audience

From the get-go, you should be able to identify potential topics you can cover when developing your online course.

Don’t see them? In that case, let me highlight the specific bits of text that can fuel a comprehensive, multi-module course.

social media listening online courses audience

A quick glance at the initial results could yield you dozens of potential topic ideas for your online course. You can also mix and match the keywords and hashtags you see to come up with something a bit more unique.

Using the results above, some of the content topics you can use in your online course are:

  • How to design a multi-cam editing workflow with Final Cut Pro
  • How to maximize your Premiere Pro experience with Motion Array
  • How to do shape-based color corrections in Avid Media Composer

2. Digging a little deeper

With Keyhole, you can easily expand your pool of content ideas within a few clicks.

Under the “Top Posts” section, for instance, click on “View All Posts” to reveal hundreds of additional post ideas you can borrow inspiration from.

social media listening online courses audience

As with every method of conducting content research, it’s advisable to create a spreadsheet that consolidates all your ideas into one place. There’s no strict rule for this — feel free to scoop up as many potential ideas as you can translate into online courses.

Another interesting feature of Keyhole is that it allows you to pick up on trending topics with ease. Simply navigate to the “Trending Topics” section under the “Hashtags & Keywords” menu to view terms that are being searched by users and how the demand for them changes over time.

social media listening online courses audience

Why is this important?

Remember, you ideally want all the topics you cover in your online course to be valuable over the long-term. Although plenty of trendy topics may eventually tank before after peaking, most of the terms Keyhole produces for you should be somewhat evergreen — just use your own judgment to predict which terms, keywords, and hashtags will stay relevant in your niche.

Going back to your tracker, you can also utilize real-time metrics to gauge how popular a topic currently is. Some of the metrics included are the number of users who engage in discussions and the overall reach of posts that contain the hashtag.

social media listening online courses audience

For more variety, don’t forget to check out the related hashtags and keywords to learn more about the types of content social media users look for.

social media listening online courses audience

3. Building out killer online courses with Kajabi

Now that the research side of things is done, it’s time to put your content ideas to use.

The first order of business is, of course, to choose a platform that has everything you need to build online courses.

I personally recommend you check out Kajabi, which is a powerful and user-friendly online course platform that lets you design e-learning “products” using templates or “blueprints” — namely a “Mini Course,” “Online Course,” “Evergreen Training,” “Membership,” or “Blank.”

social media listening online courses audience

With Kajabi, general online courses can be segmented into categories and subcategories. It’s completely up to you to decide how you’ll use these options to structure your online course and make the learning experience well-paced and impactful.

social media listening online courses audience

If you did your homework and have a spreadsheet full of content ideas from Keyhole, you should have no problem populating your online course outline with meaningful lessons.

The good news is, you can manage the other facets of your online course campaign within Kajabi. This includes member management and your lead generation channels.

social media listening online courses audience

Using the “Pipelines” feature, Kajabi also lets you set up automated workflows for acquiring, nurturing, segmenting and upselling to leads. It’s powerful stuff.

Target Your Audience with Social Media Listening

That’s it — you now know a simple and repeatable workflow that can help you build online courses that your target audience actually wants to see.

Are there other methods you’re using social media to market your online courses? Absolutely. If you have a favorite or suggestions for alternative tools, please share them in the comments below.

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About Author

I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.