Interview Justin Murray

Justin Murray on Connecting English Learners, Building an Audience, and Solving Problems

What would you do if Facebook deleted your group with over 120,000 English learners?

That happened to Real Life English (RLE), and one of the co-founders, Justin, joins Teaching ESL Online to share this story, and to give us an insight into how the RLE team built a very popular site for English learners.

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What We Discussed

Justin started by introducing Real Life English as follows:

“It’s a global community of English learners and speakers dedicated to help people all around the world speak English through real life conversations, real people, and real learning materials.”

RLE got started with a party in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Justin, and his cofounder Chad, wanted to teach English in a way that would help people to live it. And after they saw how popular the parties were, they decided to start a blog.

For nearly two years now, they have been posting content (videos, podcasts, articles etc.) 4-5 times a week. One of their former cofounders started a podcast and a Twitter account. And talking about the podcast, Justin said:

“If you keep doing something over and over again, you get better.”

We then talked about the Facebook group that they built to over 120,000 members. But out of nowhere, their group was deleted.

“If you build your house on Facebook, they can always take it away from you.

This is why it’s so important to build your own blog/website and email list.

We then talked mored about Facebook, specifically organic reach (how many of your followers see your content when you post). Justin then went through the difference between a Facebook page (business page) and a Facebook group.

Justin’s former cofounder started their Twitter account and employed different tactics to grow their following (currently at 70k), using tools such as Tweepi. They also use Hootsuite to schedule their tweets.

They have a free ebook for learners and this has helped them grow their following. Focusing on email marketing has been a big part of their strategy from the start.

Justin and the team spend most of their time interacting with learners through email, and prioritize this over social media.

We moved on to talk about the different products they have sold. They have offered an audio version of the ebook mentioned before, a course called Fluency Plus, and a product that goes with their podcast. I’ve seen one of the podcast lessons, and it’s incredible how detailed and in-depth they are.

The RLE team are now in Chile in a startup incubator. They are shifting their mindset to try and understand what learners really need, and to build a business around this. And the problem that they are trying to solve is to help learners connect with others and use their English in a way that feels real.

You can learn more about Justin and Real Life English here.

Over to You

What was your biggest takeaway from this interview?

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