How to connect Academics and Social Media

For some time now Higher Education marketing departments have faced a well-recognised struggle trying to discover how to connect academics and social media.

At first glance, the connection between academia and social media might not be obvious, with social media more-associated with selfies than serious academic rigour. But even with reach to over 305 million monthly active Twitter users, over 300 million Instagram users and more than 1.59 BILLION active monthly Facebook users – it’s still not always enough to convince academics to enter the socialsphere.

Frequent concerns include that by using social media academics would have to “dumb down” their research, or that those who “do” social media are somehow showing off, or worse, that they aren’t serious about their research because they wouldn’t have time for media if they were.

This simply isn’t true, so if you have academics that are dragging their heels with social, we’ve put together a series of blogs to help you identify and sell the benefits of creating an online presence to your academic colleagues.

To start off we’re going to look at how we can help them find their “why” with social media;

1 – Total control over their own accounts and content

Concerns around potentially damaging their reputation, perceived lack of control on social media and the fact that academics want to maintain control of what is picked up by the mainstream media has been an issue for many academics. In order to counteract these concerns you can grant the academics access and control to manage their own material, giving them a sense of empowerment.

2 – Unlimited collaboration potential

Social media is the perfect opportunity for academics to start conversations with others within their field and find like-minded individuals from across the globe. With the ability to reach a considerably larger audience than possible at networking events alone, they can cut straight to business by easily detecting and identifying the most influential contributors and contact them directly, unlocking the potential for better collaborations.

3 – Correct any wrong media around them

With the ability to filter through social content to find mentions of themselves or their work, academics can identify any incorrect information that is circulating about them, ensuring that they are being presented in the right tone. This can help them to protect their reputation and ensure that they continue to be seen as professional.

4 – Get additional promotion around content

As ground-breaking as their research paper may be it can risk being overlooked and under acknowledged if it doesn’t receive a sufficient amount of media attention when only utilising traditional outlets. With social media their content can go further, reaching a new audience whilst sparking the interest of young researchers and broadening scientific understanding.

5 – Find new research first

New research often appears on social media before it is picked up and covered by local or national press. Plus it’s a great place to get information direct from the source and get an understanding on the overall attitude towards the research. By using this they can also gain a new perception on their own work by monitoring their follower’s feedback and comments, potentially sparking the topic for their next blog.

6 – Give them stats and inspiration

Academics like statistics, they like data so it’s your job to give it to them. After they release some new content, report back to them and let them know how it’s been received by reporting on engagement and other actionable data, letting them compare the results themselves. Helping you to prove to them that social media is worth their time.

The risks involved may seem great to your academics but by using a number of tools and techniques you can help remove their worries by selling the benefits of these powerful digital channels. Social media is only going to permeate and influence our lives more and more moving forward, making it a powerful platform for them to inspire, captivate and spread awareness around their new discoveries.

If you would like to know precisely how to get your academics using social media effectively and with confidence, please download a free copy of our eBook – produced in collaboration with the award-winning Marketing department at Loughborough University – Academics and Social Media.

My little Jedi & Moi - EditedAbout the Writer:
Rhiannon Birch is the PR & Marketing Coordinator at SocialSignIn. She is passionate about all aspects of writing and enjoys discussing the real-life stories behind social media. With two young children and three dogs, Rhiannon spends her (very little) spare time exploring new places and watching Star Wars.

If you’d like to connect on LinkedIn click here or follow her on Twitter @RhiSkywalker