How to get started
Choose your platforms
There are many social media platforms to choose from but you don't need to use them all. Keep it simple by choosing one or two platforms and commit your efforts to them. This will help to enrich your message rather than spreading it too thinly.
Decide your goals
Think about what you want to achieve by social media. For example, it can help you to recruit research participants, share your research findings, connect with your network, engage with your research users, among many other options. This will help you plan your time and engagement using your choosen platforms.
Link with key partners
They key part of social media are the connections you make with the people you want to reach. Whatever your goals, social media will help your message to reach a far wider group of people, whether they are tagging, mentioning or resharing your research. You can also ask people for, and share your social media links, when you meet them in person.
Think about your audiences
Think about who you are writing for, the language you will use, and the interests of your audience. If you are aiming to reach academic colleagues in the same subject then specialist language may be expected. If you are writing for the general public, avoid jargons and acronyms.
Make it accessible
Accessibility is about removing barriers so that everyone has fair and equal access. Content that is accessible is quicker and easier for everyone to understand and use, regardless of individual needs.
Tell a story
If your key aim is to share your research to a wider audience, think about telling a story to spark interest. Some people will click on a link because they are interested, where some need a hook, and many are often as interested in the person behind the research as the research itself.
Impact of images
Images can introduce a human element to your research, help you keep your text in any character limit, and help your post stand out from the crowd. They can also quickly convey a key message that will attract people as they are scrolling through their social media feeds. Add alternative text to your images to remove barriers so that everyone can access and understand them.
Balance your time with the benefits
It is very easy for social media to take a lot of time, to detract from your key aims. There are many social media management tools that you can use that can help by scheduling your social media posts, and limiting the time you commit to them.
Measure your successes
There are plenty of tools to measure your social media engagement. Many sites, and scheduling apps, have built-in tools. Using the works' DOI (where available) is the easiest way to track the reach of your research. A range of tools can also help you monitor your activities across social media platforms, such as Kudos, and show where your highest levels of engagement are coming from.
Expand your networks
One massive advantage of social media is the ability to expand networks. However, research about twitter use shows that researchers broadly recreate their existing networks. When you first start to use social media, invest some time in looking at who the people you know are following, then who they are following. This will help you expand your social media network and be a key way of reaching a new audiences.
Click the button below to email the Research and Scholarly Communication team about social media for researchers.