After publishing an academic paper, it’s tempting to sit back and be proud of one’s achievement. This is an important step, and it is something we encourage, but it is just as important to see the publishing of a paper not as an end, but as the beginning of a new phase of work.
This is why social media has become such an important tool for researchers and authors of academic papers. Used effectively, social media can give research a longer life, increase author notoriety, and ultimately lead to more success.
Here are five tips to help you build your social media presence and help people find and understand your research.
1. Develop an Active Platform
With social media, a hands-off approach rarely works. Because social media sites feature a constant flood of updates from users, you need to make sure your research cuts through the noise.
Once the article has been published, a post-once-then-forget approach is not going to be effective. Instead, find creative ways to put your research in front of your audience often. One way to do this is to post about your research from different angles. Here are some examples of different things to post about:
-Small portions of your research that are interesting on their own
-Conclusions of your research that are currently timely or in the news
-Congratulations to the authors that worked on the research with you
-Other research that is connected to your own
2. Connect with Your Audience
One of the most valuable things about social media is its ability to allow you to form a direct connection with the people to which your research matters. That often means casting a wide net, and so you should think about setting up accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Each of these networks have its own strengths. On Facebook, setting up an author page will allow you to connect with people by name. Think about promoting your page to fellow researchers that you’ve met at conferences, friends who enjoy your work, and colleagues. Many researchers have come to see Facebook as the bedrock of their community online, a place where casual conversations happen in a relaxed environment.
Twitter is another thing entirely. It’s useful to view Twitter as a medium to connect with people that you wouldn’t come into contact with in daily life. Thus, though Twitter may not be as personal as Facebook, it allows you to cast a wider net. It’s also public, so be very conscious about the content you put on it, and how you present yourself. Be professional first and personal second.
LinkedIn is perfect for promoting your work in an exclusively professional setting. Through it, you can reach people in industries associated with your research. LinkedIn is also useful as a blogging platform, so use it to write small stories or updates about your work.
General tips for finding your audience:
1.Join groups or lists: find places where people are already discussing topics similar to your own and join in the conversation.
2.Brand yourself: make sure that your profile is clear about who you are. Imagine your profile from the perspective of someone who would be interested in your research. Does it sound interesting? If not, change it to appeal to those people.
3.Search: each platform has a useful search function. Use it to search keywords associated with your research, and find out who is talking about it. Connect with these people.
4.Discuss: don’t shy away from conversation. Once you’ve found people who are talking about topics related to your research, engage them in conversation. Participate in discussions, especially active discussions. The goal here is to get noticed and to represent yourself as an expert.
3. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are keywords that help users find related content. Simply put, they are words preceded by the # symbol (“#science”).They are most commonly found on Twitter, but Facebook uses them as well. In every case, they are invaluable tools for bringing more people to your article.
The first step is to determine what hashtags to use. Create a list of ten or more keywords that relate to your article. Next, use online tools like Hashtagify to help you determine which of the hashtags you’ve identified are being most often used. Those are the hashtags to use in your posts.
While it is very important to use hashtags, it is equally important not to misuse them. Putting too many hashtags in a post can distract from your content, or make your post look spammy. Additionally, using popular hashtags that are unrelated to your content may confuse your audience.
4. Use Visual Content
Visual content is more appealing to audiences because it conveys information more quickly and often more effectively than text alone. Remember, you are fighting for the attention of an audience that is often scrolling through a lengthy feed of content. If you have an image or a video, that helps give your posts an edge.
Here are some examples of visual content that may help promote your research:
-Slides from lectures you’ve given on the topic
-Figures from your research
-Videos describing the research
It can sometimes be useful to use visual content from free image sources like Pixabay. Images from sources like this are free to use without attribution, and can help to give your written content more visual impact.
5. Get Feedback
Finally, make sure that the techniques you’re using are working. Use any and every method available to get feedback on what you are doing. That can be as simple as asking a friend to look over your social streams and give you their reaction.
However, it is often more useful to get feedback based on internet analytics. Some journals will be able to tell you how people are finding your content and who is citing it. Tools like Altmetric can be incredibly useful in tracking down that information.
Once you have the information, it’s important to listen to it. If you’re finding that Facebook is the primary way in which your audience has found your research, it makes sense to put more emphasis on that medium in the future. The same is true of regional data. Finding where your core audience is in the world can help you find them more effectively.
Bonus: Work with Your Journal
The journal you have published with may be one of the best aids in promoting your research. Often, they will have online followings that you can tap into, especially if they are promoting your article over social media themselves.
Be sure to read your journal’s social media policy, or contact them directly to find out how you can work together to get your research more widely distributed on social media.
At Can. J. Chem. Eng., we offer social media support to our authors, and our publisher, Wiley, is able to provide social media feedback through Altmetric.