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Social media for researchers

Engaging with social media enables you to promote and track your research to a wider audience. This guide introduces platforms and provides tips to maximise social media usage. Relevant university policies and guidelines, as well as copyright information.

Top Tips!

These top five tips will assist you in successful social media usage.

Explore below for more information about each one.

  1. Set up your profile      

  2. Create compelling content

  3. Build your community

  4. Engage your audience

  5. Promote your research

Five tips

Once you have selected your social media platform/s, you will need to set up your profile and develop an online presence or brand. As noted by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in their social media guide, to obtain maximum benefit from social media, you will need to create a presence or curate a brand that is relevant for your research and is of interest to the audience you are wanting to engage with such as other researchers.    


Tips for setting up your social media profile:  

  • Professional account - You may already have personal social media accounts, consider creating a professional social media account that you use only for your research.        

  • Discoverable username - Keep it simple and consider using a professional username (i.e. add your title or qualifications to your username). If your full name is already taken, include it in your biography. Remember you want other researchers to easily find you online. 

  • Profile photo - Consider the professional nature of your profile photograph and background image.   

  • Biography - If a biography or background information is required, consider creating a story or niche around your research and your expertise. Include links to your research profiles or websites.

  • Hashtags and keywords - Consider the hashtags and keywords you use for your research areas or interests. Do other researchers in your discipline use the same keywords?    

  • Make content public - Check your profile settings to ensure that other researchers will be able to find and follow you, and your content can be viewed and shared.


Further resources

Content creation is a crucial step in using social media to successfully build your online network and promote your research.

 


 


Tips for creating compelling content:

  • Determine who the target audience is and why you are trying to reach them. Target this group by posting relevantinformative and innovative content. Keep it current.

  • Before posting, check all content for errors.

  • Be consistent with your social media activity. Post regularly, but not too often. Post your content at a time when your audience is most likely to be using social media.

  • Tools such as Social Searcher or Twitter advanced search will help identify trends and top posts in your research areas

  • Use attention grabbing visuals and one sentence summaries that connect your audience to your more detailed research.

  • Break up lengthy text with the use of threads or slides. Keep the most interesting information at the top.

  • Use social media analytics to identify what’s working and what’s not.


Further resources

Once you've set up your social media platforms, you now have the opportunity to connect and communicate directly with your fellow researchers and to build an engaging online community.

 


Tips for building your community:

  • Follow your peers such as fellow researchers, colleagues and industry leaders. Respond to comments on your posts with a reply or a like. Your audience will value your responsiveness and be inspired to engage with your posts more regularly. 

  • Develop industry partnerships by collaborating and co-creating content with your social media community. Share each others research and engage in commentary on it, share and celebrate each others successes. 

  • Use relevant hashtags, keywords and tagging in your posts to help reach a wider audience and build on your community. 

  • Use your profile to promote a strong self-image. You will build more followers and appeal to potential collaborators.


Further resources

Once you have developed your online presence you want to encourage engagement with your research by involving your online community.
 

 


Tips for engaging your audience:

  • Maintain consistent social media activity. This will assist you with keeping your audience engaged in your profile and posts.

  • Share and promote other research or researchers. Celebrate others successes along with your own. 

  • Be responsive. 'Like''retweet' and comment on other users' posts, this will motivate others to engage with yours.

  • Entice your audience to interact with your content by posting a question, poll or idea.

  • Encourage others to engage with your posts by tagging relevant colleagues, collaborators, publishers and organisations.

  • Ask your audience what types of content they’d like to see on your page. Collaborate with them. 

  • Resist responding to online trolls. Consider blocking or muting such followers.


Further resources

Social media is an effective tool to use to promote your research as it's a direct way to reach your research community and it provides an ideal opportunity to raise the profile of your work.
 

 


Tips for promoting your research:

  • Follow and interact with experts within your research area.

  • Post regular updates on your research.

  • Use relevant hashtags and @ mentions to increase visibility.

  • Utilise altmetrics to measure your research impact.

  • Use a social media management app (e.g. Hootsuite) to simultaneously share your posts across multiple social media platforms. 

  • Add your research output DOI to your social media post so that it increases citation metrics.

  • Use personal branding to create a presence or curate a brand that is relevant for your research and is of interest to the audience you are wanting to engage with.

  • Connect with the RMIT Social Media team for media opportunities and other support, email: social.media@rmit.edu.au


Further resources