Social media

Why bother with social media?

With 3.028 billion active social media users in the world, you are almost guaranteed to come across someone who is interested in your research!

Social media gives individuals the ability to reach audiences previously only available to large brands with big marketing budgets.

Like all forms of communication, social media must be a two-way conversation – anyone would get fed up if they had a friend who talked at them all day and didn’t listen to your views!

Some facts
  • More than 95% of Facebook users and 60% of Twitter users log-in daily
  • Fastest growing demographic on Twitter is 55-65 years
  • On Facebook, this age group has risen by 46%
  • More professionals, academics, institutions and societies are becoming actively involved with social networks
Top tips
  • Schedule posts for optimum times when your audience are online
  • Try to engage your audience in a two-way conversation. Target influential figures in your field
  • Include images to double the engagement of your messages
  • Ask followers on Twitter to “RT” to get a 12x higher retweet rate
  • Use key tools to reduce manual effort by, such as scheduling posts in advance with HootSuite.
Where to start?

Consider your audience: Always keep in mind who you are trying to reach. Go where they are, rather than expecting them to come to you. Consider the times they are most active and the content they are interested in to maximise engagement.

Tell a story: Your social media accounts are an online representation of you and your research. Don’t just push your research, engage with other users. Join conversations and start discussions, offer an opinion, and share a variety of relevant updates/ news from your field.

Choose your channels: What is the best platform to reach your audience? Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are often popular choices. However, there are many other social platforms to consider, such as Instagram or SnapChat. Each social media channel has its advantages, but it can be very time-consuming to run multiple accounts. Do some browsing to see where your community is more lively and then decide what channel to focus on.

Set up your processes: How often will you post? What content will you share? How will you find content? Establish these criteria before starting out to ensure you maintain a strong social media presence. Set up Google Alerts or Feedly to receive updates on key topics in your field of research that you can share with your network.

Equip yourself: There are a number of tools that can help make social media easier! Create a content calendar using Trello to collect interesting articles over time and make note of important conferences taking place in the future. Reduce the manual effort required by using a social media management tool, such as HootSuite, which allows you to schedule posts ahead of time and easily keep an eye on activity across your social media accounts.

Putting it into practice: Conferences

Conferences are a great place to test your social media skills. You never know who’s at that conference, and it might be the right chance for your work to get noticed by the right people!

Make note of the official hashtag (normally available on the conference website) and engage in conversations with other delegates, during and after sessions. You can also interact with conference activity, even if you are not attending. Simply log in to social media and join the online conversation!

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