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Developing a social media strategy to enhance your research profile


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These are the slides I used on a workshop given to researchers and doctoral students at the University of Bristol, UK on 17th June 2015.

The aim of this practical 2-hour workshop was to help researchers engage with social media more effectively to support their research and career.

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Developing a social media strategy to enhance your research profile

  1. 1. Developing a social media strategy to enhance your research profile 1 Gilles Couzin 17th June 2015 (CC BY-NC 2.5)
  2. 2. About this workshop  Do I really need a social media ‘strategy’?  Developing your strategy: asking (and answering) the right questions  Measuring and evaluating success  5 suggestions for getting started  Case study: PolicyBristol (Kat Wall)  Q&A 2
  3. 3. 3 18 June 2015 Photo by Mariano CC BY-SA 3.0 Show of hands… How many people in this room are currently usingTwitter? LinkedIn? Facebook? others?:  For personal use?  To support their research/professional activities?
  4. 4. 4 Do I really need a social media ‘strategy’? Photo by kdee64 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  5. 5. 5  carefully consider what you will do before investing time and resources;  prioritise your effort;  plan content and a schedule for releasing it;  avoid the “shiny object syndrome”;  identify who will do what, when and how often, when in a group setting;  assess what works and what doesn’t;  manage expectations. …well, it’s up to you, but having a plan will help you…
  6. 6. Where you want to be? 6
  7. 7. Who are you and where you want to be? 7 JISC Developing Digital Literacies guide (
  8. 8. Who are you and where you want to be? 8 Beetham and Sharpe ‘pyramid model’ of digital literacy development model (2010) Listening Participating Creating Leading JISC Developing Digital Literacies guide (
  9. 9. Activity 1 9 Photo by Guy Mayer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) In pairs: use these models to discuss a) where you see yourself now in terms of your social media use, and b) where you would like to be.
  10. 10. 10 Developing your strategy: asking (and answering) the right questions Photo by Brian Koprowski (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  11. 11. Questions that need answers  What do you want to achieve?  Who do you want to reach?  What conversation is already taking place?  Where is it taking place?  Who is involved?  What tools will you use?  What content do you want to share?  How will you measure and evaluate success? 11
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. 13 Consider if someone was looking for the skills and expertise you have as a researcher. What search terms would they use to find YOU?
  14. 14. 14
  15. 15. Activity 2 15 Photo by Guy Mayer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) In pairs: 1. Explain what you do and why it matters. 2. Listen to your partner explaining back to you what your key skills are.
  16. 16. What do you want to achieve?  Define your primary goals, e.g.:  stay up to date  build connections  promote my work  raise my profile  find potential collaborators  learn from others  publish my ideas  communicate research results  attract job offers  a mix of the above? 16
  17. 17. Who do you want to reach?  Identifying your audiences will help you tailor your content and also choose the right tool(s).  List your primary audiences, e.g.:  other researchers in your field  potential employers  journalists  the general public  funders  etc… 17
  18. 18. Activity 3 18 Photo by Guy Mayer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) In pairs: 1) Discuss what you want to achieve through social media and make a note of 1 to 3 goals. 2) Start profiling 1 or 2 target audiences.
  19. 19. What conversation is taking place?  Identify the “thought leaders” in your field - start with Twitter, or ResearchGate  What are they talking about?  Where are they saying it? What tools are they using?  Keep track (“follow”) the topics, people and sites that are leading the conversation that is relevant to you. 19
  20. 20. What tools will you use?  To start with, pick 1 or 2 core tools (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter) and concentrate on doing them well.  Plan to add new tools as you grow in confidence.  Map out which tools you will use now and which you will work towards using later. 20
  21. 21. What tools will you use? 21 Storytelling Resource finding/sharing Disseminating research Networking Blogging    Twitter     LinkedIn    Academia / ResearchGate    Facebook     Flickr   Slideshare    Pinterest   YouTube   
  22. 22. What content will you share?  Identify the content you already have to share, as well as the content you plan to develop.  Is it primarily news updates, research developments, networking information, opinion pieces? Images? Videos?  List the content you are planning to share via your social media outlets.  Also think how often you will publish content. 22
  23. 23. Activity 4 23 Photo by Guy Mayer (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) In pairs: 1) Discuss the social media tools that you think may be most relevant to you. 2) Identify the content you already have.
  24. 24. 24 Measuring and evaluating success Photo by Tormod Ulsberg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
  25. 25. Possible measures of success 25 Web analytics Mentions Likes Followers Retweets Comments Downloads Shares Bookmarks However, remember that engagement is more than just numbers! Connections Views
  26. 26. 26 Useful tools for measuring success “Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score", which is a numerical value between 1 and 100.” Wikipedia
  27. 27. 27 Useful tools for measuring success “Hootsuite is a social media management tool that allows you to manage multiple social profiles, schedule messages, track brand mentions, analyze social media traffic and more.”
  28. 28. Evaluate your activities  Set a timeline for evaluating your social media activities.  As part of your evaluation, consider:  What is working.  What is not working.  What changes you need to make.  New tools you could be using.  On-going evaluation should be part of your strategy. 28
  29. 29. 29 5 suggestions for getting started Photo by rachaelvoorhees (CC BY 2.0)
  30. 30. 1: Create a professional profile 30  Use your own name or choose a simple and descriptive name that clearly identifies your affiliation with the University, research project or organisation.  Write a short biography (including your skills and expertise) of yourself or your group/project.  Prepare a professional looking photo of yourself or use a group/project logo.
  31. 31. 2: Join LinkedIn 31 1. Create a LinkedIn profile 2. Consider your skills and add keywords 3. Add a photo to your profile 4. Edit your public URL and add it to your email signature 5. Join groups of interest to you 6. Add projects to your profile 7. Link SlideShare to your profile 8. Add publications to your profile 9. Blog good practice and tips 10.Connect with people!
  32. 32. 3: Join Twitter 32 1. Read the LSE Twitter guide ( 2. Create a Twitter profile. 3. Consider your skills and add keywords. 4. Add a photo to your profile. 5. Find and follow some relevant people. 6. Search (use for relevant hashtags* and save them. 7. Use Lists to organise people and organisations you follow. 8. Use to view and manage your lists and saved hashtags. 9. Re-tweet relevant tweets so your followers can see them. 9 tips to develop your Twitter presence: * Start with these hashtags: #phdchat, #ecrchat, #scitwittips, #acadtwitter, #digitalacademic, #phdadvice, #research
  33. 33. 4: Join an academic social network 33
  34. 34. 4: Join an academic social network 34
  35. 35. 5: Start blogging 35 1. Read other people’s blogs and learn from them. 2. You don’t have to start your own blog, you can be a guest blogger - e.g.,, 3. Use to set up your own blog. 4. Limit yourself to a maximum of 500 words (at least to start with). 5. Write regularly. 6. Monitor and reply to comments when appropriate. 7. Decide what you are going to blog about – e.g. research progress, opinion piece, book review, test new ideas, publications, etc. 8. Make use of your About page to tell who you are and the purpose of your blog. 9. Write in plain English. 10.Share writing with colleagues if the blog is for a group. 10 tips for blogging:
  36. 36. 5: Start blogging - examples 36
  37. 37. Case study: PolicyBristol (Kat Wall) 37
  38. 38. 38 Questions and answers Photo by Clarkston SCAMP (CC BY 2.0)
  39. 39. Where to find more information  List of resources: strategy-for-researchers  Connect with Bristol:  UoB Social media directory:  How to maintain social media channels at UoB:  Research Information Network – Social Media: A guide for researchers research/social-media-guide-researchers 39
  40. 40. Credits and licence Some of the ideas in this presentation are based on the work of others:  “Who do you really think you are?” UCISA keynote, by Sue Beckingham, Sheffield Hallam University (  “Social Media for Research” CAURA 2013, by Krista Jensen, KMb Unit, York University ( This presentation is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY- NC-SA 4.0) licence ( sa/4.0/). 40