Social Media requires followers, but how do you build your social media audience? This article will walk you through ten proven methods for increasing your followers across your social media accounts.
Be consistent. You should aim to post two or three times a week, as an academic you should upload engaging and interesting content on a regular basis. This will help build both a new and recurring audience.
Know your audience. As an academic your core audience should be other academics and enthusiasts. By using relevant hashtags, you can bring a new audience to your posts. For example, an Astrophysics professor may use the hashtag ‘#SuperNova’ to connect with people interested in this phenomenon.
Post original and relevant content. New and innovative content always finds a way to the masses and will excite those who see it. This will in turn encourage your followers to share your posts, broadening your social media exposure.
Actively search for and follow others. Social Media is being used more widely by academics and many have extremely interesting blogs, Twitter accounts or Facebook pages. Make sure to follow and promote your peers posts regularly. By sharing their content and engaging with those in your niche will help expand your social network.
Link social media accounts to one another. Your audiences may differ on each platform. To make sure that the widest audience sees your post, cross-share your accounts. Usually there is an option on the social media application to share the post to other social media’s.
Quality over quantity. Make sure your content is thought provoking and interesting. In theory you could be uploading talks, presentations and papers on a daily basis however, by flooding your social media with trivial posts, you will water down your content and make it lose its appeal.
Tell stories. Instagram, for images, and Blogger, for blog posts, are perfect media’s to tell stories. Continuously posting and writing about an ongoing experiment or project heightens a follower’s engagement.
Share other peoples content. Re-posting and sharing content from like minded individuals who may or may not have a larger following is another way to attract new followers and spread sciences
Be relatable. Post videos using 5minofscience, showing your followers that you are not faceless thus making your content more personal and attractive.
Set goals. Lastly by setting short term but specific goals you will enhance your efficiency on social media. These goals will record your social media activity and whether you are being active enough.
Platforms are networks where users can share content and engage with followers
Blogs are platforms where web content is published. Posts are indexed by search engines for easy retrieval. They allow users to post material such as articles, news, pictures, videos… Blogging platforms include Blogger and WordPress.
Relevance to researchers
Blogs can be used to post long articles about current research or your ones take on things that are going on in the news.
It can be very time consuming to regularly post content on social media. There are services such as Buffer and Hootsuites that let users write posts ahead of time and schedule when they will be put online.
Relevance to researchers
Buffer allows researchers to write when they have time and post when the content will be read by the most people. They also offer analytics to understand what your followers want to see.
Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking website. Through Facebook, users can connect to family, friends, colleagues, fans and customers. They can add photos, post status updates, create events
Relevance to researchers
Facebook can be used to create a community with people interested in your work.
This is Google’s social network and like Facebook it is used to connect with friends, families and colleagues. Users can share photos, send messages, and comment or like content.
Relevance to researchers
Google+ can be used to create a community with people interested in your work.
Instagram is a free photo sharing platform where users can post photos, apply filters, edit and post to their Instagram account or cross-share on other networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Relevance to researchers
Researchers can post pictures of their labs, experiments and excursions to show followers that what they do is pretty cool.
This social network is geared towards professionals and businesses. Users create connections with their colleagues and can follow organisations’ pages.
Relevance to researchers
LinkedIn can be used to post resumes and professional credential to gain followers in their field of work.
Determining what to post on social media can be a daunting task. Here are some fun ideas on what you can share with your followers. If we missed something, include it in our comment section!
Direct interaction with followers
Polls: Facebook and Twitter offers the option to post polls. They are an effective way to have two way communication with your followers. There are so many questions that you can ask. They include, which of these is their favourite flower (botanist), the most impactful Shakespeare play (literature), predictions on interest rate moves (economist)…
Requests: In the same category as polls, you can ask your followers to post pictures or videos of something in your field of research. It can be pictures of stars (astrophysics), a video of them doing an experiment (chemist) or a picture mushrooms or tracks (biologist).
Photo contest: Pushing the requests thing a bit further, ask for photo submissions that your followers can vote on. This will not only create engagement, but by asking their friends to vote for them, you will tap into their network.
Caption contest: Instead of a photo contest, you can ask your fans to come up with funny captions for a picture that you have posted. This can be of you working in the lab, of a weird plant species that you discovered, or of a failed experiment.
Follower of the month: When it is well done, social media is a two way conversation between the poster and its followers. Let your most active followers know that they are appreciated by profiling them as the follower of the month.
Ask for inputs on your work: You might be intimidated about receiving negative feedback, however, I strongly encourage you to seek feedback from your followers. For researchers it can be to ask how a talk could be improved or for a museum curator requesting feedback on an exhibition. You will not only receive useful feedback, but your followers will appreciate your vulnerability.
Answer questions: You can dedicate a day where you will answer any question from your followers. If you are an administrator of a faculty, a museum, a university or college, you can make this initiative even more wide spread and choose a different faculty every week who to be questioned.
Ask for contents ideas: Continuing with the theme of asking your followers questions. You can ask them what content they would like to see or what big questions they would like answered. This will not only help you post more relevant post, but if it is a truly interesting recommendation, it can also drive future research.
Respond to tags and mentions: Try to respond to your followers. It takes courage to send a message and responding would mean the world to them. However, if they become nasty, do not hesitate to block them.
Saying thank you: This takes the least effort and goes the longest way.
Academics are very busy people. Among other things, they must teach, mark, publish, and network. Despite all that work, we still suggest that you try to write newspaper or magazine articles occasionally.
Publishing for magazines is a great way to improve your writing skills, as your content will be reviewed by experienced editors. This will help you professionally when writing academic papers. Once you get the hang of it, it can also be a lucrative side hustle as publishers are always looking for articles that contain in-depth information and that are written by a experts in the field.
Your picture is one of the most important feature of your LinkedIn profile. It is your first opportunity to say that you are knowledgeable and personable. Not having a picture also makes it enormously difficult for people to find you, especially if you have a common name. In fact, LinkedIn estimates that a profile picture is associated with up to 21 times more profile view, 36 times more messages and 9 times more connection requests.
You do not need a professional photographer to take your shots. Smartphones and DSLR camera do the trick just fine. Just ask a friend, colleague or assistant (who knows how to handle a camera) to help you out. The guiding principle of the shots:
Be front and centre and the focus of the picture;
Use a well lit room, it’s the difference between a good a great photo;
Absolutely no selfie;
Take many shots in different rooms and conditions then ask your friends to pick the best one.
Fundamentally, your blog post is a story about a particular event. First identify what event you want to write about and why it is of value to your readers. After understanding the purpose of the writing the story, jot down a list of every topic that must be covered. This step is the most important. If done well everything else will naturally flow from it.
How will the article be structured?
Once you have a good understanding of the plot, start working on the structure of your story. Write a detailed bullet point outline of how the article will look:
Make readers stop in their tracks: First grab readers’ attention by telling them why they should care about the story. This includes how the issue covered can affect their lives (i.e. the decrease in the bee population will jeopardize food security) or how mind boggling amazing is the topic (i.e. millions of light years away the collision of two black holes has created ripples in space time that can be felt on earth).
Paint a vivid image: After grabbing the readers’ attention, describe the event that you will talk about. Include all important information such as its origin, its scale or its frequency. Your objective is to build a vivid mental image for your readers: they should be able to close their eyes and picture the main characters in the article, whether they are bees or black holes.
Academics are very busy people. Among other things, they must teach, mark, publish, and network. Despite all that work, we still suggest that you maintain a science blog. It can help you build your career, secure research grants, find collaborators all over the world, and get ideas for new research.
Cross disciplinary collaboration
Professors traditionally publish in academic journals. This is an effective way for your peers to review your work and to read a very technical explanation of your research. Unfortunately, that audience is extremely targeted.
Since inter-disciplinary collaboration is the most effective to identify and solve problems in an ever complex world, your ideas should be exposed as widely as possible. Having a blog reveals your work to researchers who would otherwise never know about it. If they find that there is a link to theirs, they will be able to propose a joint paper.
Such a cross disciplinary paper, by its very nature, will be more likely to break exciting new ground, receive more citations and benefit from more exposure.
Besides being used to express views and opinions, academics can also supplement their income through a blog. Because of their duty to remain neutral, they must, however, be creative when monetizing their blog. This article will teach you how to generate revenue in a subtle way that does not compromise your professional integrity.
Building your blog
The first thing that we recommend is that you invest in a professional looking blog. You can use off-the-shelf website creating tools or, if you lack the technical abilities, hire a web designer to build a blog for you. They can build it for $600 and, for less than a hundred more, they can even create your own logo.
Secondly, leverage your authority by creating the blog around your research: there are thousands of blogs on the internet, the ones that succeed are the ones that stand out.
Once you found your niche, create unique and interesting content. You will obviously post articles on subjects related to your research. However, you can make your blog even more interesting if you also have more personal content like pictures and articles describing your typical workday, posts about professional challenges, videos of experiments and field studies, or profiles of your assistants and students. Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Monetizing Your Blog”→
Reddit, commonly called the front page of the internet, is an extremely popular and informative social news site. It is place where users comment on links, texts, videos and images posted by their peers.
With 15 million subscribers, Reddit’s most popular feature is the Ask Me Anything (AMA) subreddit. It is a place where experts and people who accomplished something of significance are interviewed by users for an hour. The interviewee begins the process by publishing a post describing who they are and what they do. Jane Goodall, the famous ecologist, started her AMA with “I am Dr. Jane Goodall, a scientist, conservationist, peacemaker, and mentor. AMA”. Users then leave their questions in the comment section; the best ones are upvoted to the top. Once posted, interviewees can respond to any question that they like in any way that they choose.
AMAs are such a popular feature because of the quality of the interviewees and of the questions. Although high-profile individuals garner the most attention, academics do well because having a niche interest is enough to have a successful AMA. Remember that AMA is a friendly community and users will flag and remove abusive or harassing comments.
Guest blogging is way to expand your following by publishing articles on third party blogs. This practice introduces people, who would otherwise have no exposure to your work, to what you do. It can also supplement your income since most sites pay guest writers.
By regularly guest blogging, you will build a reputation as an expert in your field. This reputation could lead to more lucrative assignments such as writing for magazines, doing television interviews or getting published.
Where to guest blog
Before even exploring guest blogging, you must already have high quality articles. This is essential because host sites will review your work before accepting your offer. They look for the quality of your writing, the frequency of typos, the number of likes, comments and shares that you receive, and whether you are indeed a subject matter expert who generates original ideas. Continue reading “Tips for Academics: Why and How to Guest Blog”→