Welcome to part 3 of how to maximise your academic potential via social media. This blog series summarises a seminar I was asked to give by the research excellence unit at Coventry University.
Many people ask the following questions:
- How do academics use social media?
- How can social media be used for research?
- How can social media be used to promote businesses?
- How can social media be used to promote Community interest companies (CIC)?
- How can social media be used for networking?
- How can I use social media to promote my academic research?
Hopefully you will either be setting up and using your social media accounts by now, or you will already have your social media accounts set up and ready to go.
If not, here is another user friendly guide on how to do so..
So before we go any further, it is probably a good idea to discuss ‘netiquette’ i.e. the etiquette of online behaviour. The ‘do’s and don’ts’ online….Here are some simple rules:
- Be human and remember the human behind the screen
- Stay away from the negative, even if things get unpleasant, try to diffuse the situation or walk away (digitally).
- Nurture a culture of reciprocal support and celebration as you congratulate those who achieve (including yourself)!
- Respect others’ privacy, confidentiality and anonymity
- Remember that real world codes and laws still apply online
- Be forgiving of others mistakes (and your own)!
OK, so now we have explored Twitter, lets go on to the others in brief…
Facebook is slower paced, and in my opinion, is best used for casual friends and family use. Remember, it is still important to remain professional in any case. Big Brother could always be watching!
That doesn’t mean that Facebook cannot be used professionally. I’m sure your friends and family (perhaps a few colleagues) would love to know about your achievements as well as how you are enjoying a pub lunch with your dog.
More importantly, I think Facebook can be great for recruitment strategies in research. This is because you can pay for very effected and extremely targeted advertising if you know how. This means that if you want to study elite athletes who practice Nordic walking for instance…Facebook will know where they are and target your advert directly at them.. Clever huh? (Or a little scary!)..
You can also follow large scientific groups and pages who will sometimes want to promote your work (if you talk nicely to them)! The British Psychological Society have been particularly helpful for me and my work on Facebook.
Facebook is also great for commercialising or monitising your research ideas should you want to move your project into becoming a business or Community Interest Company (CIC). This is because Facebook enables you to set up business, personal or front facing pages. These pages are separate to your account (no need to set up a new account for a new business). These pages work really well as stand alone websites, as you can download apps to them to suit your needs and even sell from them.
See my academic Facebook page here -> THE ACADEMIC MIDWIFE
Trending and hash-tagging features are still available on Facebook so don’t forget to use them!
YouTube is the largest search engine and is owned by Google, therefore the usual Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) rules apply. (More on that later).
This platform is great for generating viral and visual contest. Videos.
Once you set up your YouTube ‘channel’ you can link it to Google plus and share the content easily and quickly with others to achieve maximum reach. This can be a personal channel where you upload your interview, lecture and promotional research videos. Or it can be great for a research centre looking to promote their work collectively.
There are many innovative ways academics can attract some positive attention online: Be creative!
Quite simply, this is your online CV. In my experience, it is where potential collaborators, funders and employers will go to find out more about you….So it can be frustrating if your profile is absent, out of date, or incomplete.
You can also engage in professional discussion and blog directly onto the LinkedIn platform. this can be useful for getting your thoughts known, especially if you join groups or follow organisations with shared interests.
Here are some top tips for LinkedIn
- It is your online CV
- Keep everything very professional
- Keep it up to date
- Use professional images and photos
- Celebrate the achievements of yourself & others
- Connect with people & shared interests
- Add your papers, grants, honours and awards.
- Join in group conversations
- Blog more professionally on Linkedin
- Create groups and company pages
- Check out advertised jobs
- Be found by recruitment agents (by using strategic key words).
- Let people ‘Scout you out’ at conferences
- Scout others out who you want to connect with
- Professional sharing only!
Now, there are other social media such as Google plus, instagram, snapchat and Pinterest etc…However, I have found these less useful in research. This is unless of course you are wanting to conduct research via these social media?
However, I would create a google plus account if only to link your YouTube account into this platform and share things for the benefit of Google. Google decides what to show and what not to show, and so with everything you write, you need to think about what people will search for if they are trying to find you and your work. With this in mind, use keywords to ‘maximise your academic potential via social media’.
This is what Google (and other search engines) will look for:
- Unique names come out on top
- The volume of incoming links from related websites
- Time within website
- Page titles
- Quality of content
- Page descriptions
- Quantity of content
- Technical precision of source code
- Volume and consistency of searches
- Page views
- Technical user-features
- Regularity of updated content (like news, weather or a regulary updated Twitter feed)
- Functional vs broken hyperlinks
Lastly, I wanted to talk about Blogging:
This is where you can share your learnings, knowledge, thoughts and ideas fairly casually as I am doing now. As you will see on my blog, everything is interlinked, as people can arrive here and see my other social media channels and connect with me. I also make it very easy for people to share and comment on what I post.
I am sharing my research journey. Everything I publish on here is automatically shared on all of my other channels, because I have set it up this way to avoid duplication (working smart)! I also recruit my participants from here, share my papers and conference talks. I reflect on things I have seen and done. This is a great way to absorb what I have experienced and can also be very therapeutic in some cases.
I would highly recommend blogging your research journey and keeping people posting on what you are doing throughout your academic career. For this reason it is important to choose a unique and catchy title for your blog which will capture the nature of your work on a long term basis (You don’t want to start all over again because that specific part of your research ended and you named your blog ‘MyLiteratureReview.com’).
There are all types of blogging platforms to choose from:
As you can see, I use word press because I find it easier to connect with other blogs. You can also make your page here as snazzy or as simple as you like. You can also upgrade at any time (this blog is free).
Top Tips on Blogging:
- Share your professional thoughts values and opinions
- Build a picture of ‘Who you are’
- A hub to link others to your other profiles
- A place to share your work
- Reflect on conferences/events
- Reply to the public
- Document your academic journey
- Create community debate
- Add your blog to an academic blog directory
- Connect blogs together within organisations
- No more than 1000 words (ish) per post weekly/monthly – Keep it consistent!
- Interact with other blogs and join the conversation
- Stay positive & professional (even if you get negative responses)!
- Never release research before publication!
- Think of Google and SEO! (avoid jargon)
- Have ever changing content (Twitter feed/news/weather)
- Think about your audience & who will engage
- Connect everything together in a ‘hub’
- Use social media to share and promote your blog (Use hashtags too!)
- Use visuals, quotes, slide shares, hyperlinks, videos and engaging content
So, That’s it for part 3 of this blog series. There will be one more part to this blog series where I will take you through a few things on how to use social media for research and academic promotion. Until then, why not start to build your social media empire?
You are nearly qualified as a Social Media Ninja!
Until next time, look after yourselves, and each other.