4 Chapter 4: Getting the Word Out: The Role of Social Media

The benefits of using social media for communicating academic research have been cited as contributing towards greater democratization, widening participation, and engaging new audiences on a global scale. Below is an outline of some of the best social media networks for academics, along with a quick summary of social media tips on how to best use each.

Before getting started make sure to consider:

What is your goal(s)
Common goals for academics or university research departments may be:

  • To raises awareness about your research and scholars, by generating positive media coverage.
  • To create an online forum for conversations about relevant issues.
  • To reach previously underserved audiences with key messages, news and information
  • Build new audiences by providing increased access to faculty, student and administrative voices.


Who is your audience?
Every social media tool has a different audience.  Therefore, consider who your main audiences are and then select the social media tools that would best allow you to reach that audience.  If you are trying to reach various constituencies that you may have to use a variety of social-media platforms.  However, if you have only one or two key audiences, then you may want to concentrate on one or two main social media tools.

How much time and who will do it?
Diligence and consistency are essential for social media success.  Therefore, you want to identify the number of hours you can realistically spend on social media in the long term, rather than a week by week approach.  At the same time, if you will have others maintain your social media profile, it’s important to be consistent in style and approaches to social media across all platforms.

 

Additional Recommendations

Have a communication and press strategy in place. Your social media strategy should build upon and not replace your existing communication strategy.

 Make your content interactive. The various digital tools discussed in this toolkit can help you produce content that is both engaging and interactive.  These elements are important because they help promote the “social” aspect of these online interactions and engage your visitors.

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