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Tips for Academics: What to Post on Social Media

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!

 

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Direct interaction with followers

  1. 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)…
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Saying thank you: This takes the least effort and goes the longest way.

 

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Tips for Academics: Taking the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Picture

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.

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