How Teaching Abroad Can Help Grow Your Social Media Platforms

Rachel Weiss
Career China Digital Marketing Manager
May 6, 2020

Q&A with China YouTubers and Social Media Influencers


Teaching abroad is a great way to launch a career living abroad and also build your social media platforms. You’ll be able to travel, connect with other expats, and get a taste of the digital nomad lifestyle. Whether you’re already a blogger, Youtuber, or Instagrammer, or are just starting to build and grow your social media brand, teaching abroad can help you build your online presence and also gain influencer marketing skills.


If you’re wondering how to grow your social media platforms while teaching abroad and need some inspiration, check out how these expats have grown their social media platforms while teaching abroad in China.




Adventures Around Asia


Hi I’m Richelle from Adventures Around Asia! I’m originally from Seattle, Washington but I lived in China for five years. I first came to study abroad in China, and spent a semester in Beijing and the summer in Xi’an. After graduation I moved to a rural area in Ningbo to teach English to 1,000 high schoolers. Then I went on to get my Master’s Degree at the University of Nottingham Ningbo campus. After I graduated, I moved to Beijing to work as a high-level college admissions consultant, where I worked for about 2.5 years!




What Social Media Platforms Do You Primarily Use?


I primarily write my blog Adventures Around Asia, but I also have a Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, and a new Youtube Channel. Finally, I run a free Facebook group for teachers in China.







How did you get started building your brand online?


I first started Adventures Around Asia as a study abroad blog that I used to tell stories from my time in China. I wanted to share my adventures with everyone back home and give information and advice to people who wanted to head to China in the future. When I moved back to China after graduation, I started writing about my experience teaching abroad! About half-way through that year teaching I decided to make my blog a bit more professional, and I started posting on different social media channels too.


The main reason why I put so much effort into my blog, and social media was because I just enjoyed connecting with people. I wanted to tell my story so that people wouldn’t feel alone. It also helped me feel connected and like I was making a positive difference by putting myself out there.




In what ways has teaching in China helped you grow your social media channels?


Living in China is very unique, and so many people are interested to see what it’s really like to live and work in China. People have a ton of questions, and if you can provide answers and give a clear picture of what it’s really like on the ground in China, people will be extremely interested. There are so many people blogging and posting about travel in Europe or Southeast Asia, so China is different and exciting, and you’ll be sure to stand out!


What online resources and other influencers have helped you learn more or inspired you?


When I first took my blog to the next level (back in 2013!) I was really inspired by Adventurous Kate. I loved how she provided helpful info while also telling entertaining stories, and she was never afraid to let her personality shine through in her writing.


What advice would you give to other teachers who want to grow their channels while teaching abroad in China?


Share your real experience and be honest! Top 10 lists are fine for growing an audience, but people stick around for the real stories and experiences. Back when I was first heading to China in 2012, there really wasn’t a ton of information on living in China and I wanted to know everything! What’s it really like there? How is the culture different? What’s an average day like! Don’t forget that these things are super exciting to people who’ve never been to China before.




We Are Nico


I’m Nicola from the UK, and I’ve been living in China for just over three years. I originally moved to Nanjing to teach for First Leap then I moved to Beijing to work in HQ for the online product.





What Social Media Platforms Do You Primarily Use?  


I use lots of different social channels as well as having a blog but I mainly use YouTube and Instagram as this is where my biggest and most engaged audiences are.

 

How did you get started building your brand online?


I felt like when I moved here there wasn’t a lot of content available online about China. I really didn’t know anything about Nanjing before I moved there and I had no idea what to expect. I moved here with my husband and we decided the best thing to do would be to start making videos to show people some of the awesome places we were experiencing. Then if people were looking into moving to China our content would be something they would search for.

 

In what ways has teaching in China helped you grow your social media channels?


Being in China means we have so many more opportunities to travel and experience new things. Even just going to the supermarket is interesting and other people want to see it. As we make videos aimed at expats, people often get in touch when they are looking into moving here and so I have given a lot of people advice about it. It has helped give people a real view of China and people recommend me as they think my content is helpful and informative.




What online resources and other influencers have helped you learn more or inspired you?


YouTube is such a great tool, not just for posting videos but also for learning lots of different things. I really enjoy watching videos and I find lots of people inspiring. At first it was just a hobby but we have noticed the more work we put in the more it grows. My style is very different to other people’s as it is more structured, so I like watching people like ‘Where’s Poppy’ and ‘Blondie in China’ who inspire me to be a bit more natural on camera.

 

What advice would you give to other teachers who want to grow their channels while teaching abroad in China?


1. There are so many things and awesome photo opportunities here in China, so just start posting.


2. Be consistent - I really find that constancy is key and keeping to a sort of schedule for posting really helps as your audience expects to see you post at a certain time. When we first started we didn’t really have any strategy and it took a while to grow. Now we know what works and what doesn’t and we’ve really noticed by keeping to a schedule for posting it really helps.


3. Find your voice and share your stories. - People love to see more than just a pretty picture they like to know what is behind it. Tell the story, share some tips, say something funny, this really helps people to relate to you and build an engaged audience.


4. Engage - If people engage and comment on your post or video then reply to their comment, it will help people to keep coming back and consume more of your content.


5. It’s a lot of hard work - I think people just think it’s a case of posting a picture or a video and it’s that simple. For us there is a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. If you are serious about wanting to grow then you need to also be passionate about it and want to put in the hard work to get there.






Lettice Travels


Hello! My name is Lettice. I’m from Oxford in England and I’ve lived in China since 2016. In my first year I taught English at a college in Guizhou province and for the past 3 years I’ve been teaching English at a university in Beijing.


My favorite social media platform is YouTube. In fact, I’m addicted to it! I’ve been an avid user since 2005 and a vlogger since 2012. My YouTube channel is called Lettice Travels.


My second favorite social media platform is WordPress. I’ve been a blogger since 2008, however, those teenage ramblings are no longer public! Nowadays, I limit my ramblings to my experiences working, both paid and voluntary, in South America, Nigeria, Austria, and China. My blog is called, you guessed it, Lettice Travels. I also have Instagram and Twitter.




How did you get started building your brand online?


Lettice Travels was born from my desire to help other people quit their office jobs and travel the world. After 3.5 years working in an office, despite loving the job and my colleagues, it was time to see the world. I felt like being chained to a desk was a waste of the healthiest years of one’s life and that the time would be better spent travelling.


In 2014, when I began my travels, I used the skills I’d acquired as a Communications Assistant to build my brand. I focused on writing “How to” blog posts on a range of topics, such as: “How to cross the border between Brazil and Venezuela”; “How to be selected as a volunteer for the FIFA World Cup”; and “How to volunteer with wild animals in the Bolivian jungle”.


To accompany the blog posts I also created vlogs showing what these experiences were like, for example: the atmosphere surrounding a FIFA World Cup football match in Brazil and the chaos of trying to feeding five baby howler monkeys all at the same time!


In what ways has teaching in China helped you grow your social media channels?


First, teaching in China has granted me an audience. Many people are curious about what teaching in China is like and they want to see social media content from people who are currently teaching in China.


Second, teaching in China has presented me with many unique opportunities. I’ve accepted lots of invitations and captured them in writing and film, including: visiting tea farms, judging speech competitions; and even modeling for a trench coat!


Last, teaching in China has given me ample free time to dedicate to my social media channels. Not only can I spend my free time creating content but I can also attend events where I can make friends and learn new skills.





What online resources and other influencers have helped you learn more or inspired you?


YouTube is a treasure trove for learning! I follow YouTube gurus such as Roberto Blake and Sunny Lenarduzzi. Also, I’m inspired by Miriam Follin from the YouTube channel “Miriam in China”. I was fortunate enough to meet her at a workshop last year and hearing her speak about her social media channels was fascinating.


What advice would you give to other teachers who want to grow their channels while teaching abroad in China?


First, make the most of your free time. Some teaching jobs will give you a lot of free time so use it wisely!


Second, be open-minded to all the invitations you receive. Learn how to perform a traditional tea ceremony? Sure thing! Speak to 1,000 middle school students? Why not! Learn how to make dumplings? Absolutely!


Last, live in a small city. You are more likely to encounter traditional Chinese cultures and receive unique invitations whilst living in a small city compared to living in a big city.





Teach Abroad and Start Building Your Social Media



Teaching English abroad is an excellent chance to share your unique and amazing experiences while also branding yourself. If you’re looking to build your personal brand and grow your social media platforms, living abroad will gives you the adventure, flexibility, and opportunities you’re searching for to do that!


Ready to teach abroad and start growing your social media platforms? Learn more about available jobs and apply here.


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