Social Media for Impact Social Media for Impact

Please familiarise yourself with the HR guidance on Social Media code of conduct.

Please also see the UEA Social Media Marketing Guidelines.

A social media strategy can be used for a wide range of aims including; increasing the reach of your research, driving traffic and interest to websites/forums/materials, communicating outside of academia and engaging the public and expanding networks and sharing opinions or ideas. 

LSE have previously presented data on how social media posts can affect paper downloads and website hits:

 


Graphs produced by Duncan Green in his article 'An antidote to futility: Why academics (and students) should take blogging/ social media seriously', LSE Impact Blog, October 26th 2015

 

Fast Track Impact have developed a Social Media Strategy template to help you to focus your online activities and ensure they are aligned with your Impact aims. The template can be downloaded via their website.

The template focuses around four key questions:

1. What offline impacts do you want to achieve via social media?

2. Who are you trying to reach, what are they interested in & what platforms are they on?

3. How can you make your content actionable, shareable and rewarding for those who interact with you, so you can start building relationships and move the conversation from social media to real life?

4. Who can you work with to make your use of social media more efficient and effective?

By considering these questions you should be able to develop a focussed social media strategy and be able to plan what types of data will act as indicators of your success. Indicators that could help you to demonstrate the impact of your online activity may include:

Geographic reach or demographics

Numbers of reactions, retweets or likes

Comments/feedback

Link clicks or downloads

If the call to action was to visit another page, how many people followed the link to view your content?

Video views

Shares

New followers

Has anyone new followed your account as a result of something you posted?

 

Twitter

Twitter top tips:

Start by following and conversing with people you know 

  • Tweet regularly in the beginning as people may be hesitant to follow a blank account
  • If you’re unsure what to tweet to being with, start with what you’ve been reading, have opinions, share content, links and images 

Find, follow and converse with those you’d like to know 

  • Think about who you want to engage with, plan who to follow and identify key potential stakeholders
  • Get outside your bubble

Tweet regularly about your research

  • Consider using a service such as Hootsuite to schedule your tweets in advance to go live at peak traffic times
  • Find and create relevant hashtags to make your research more visible
  • Engagement is two-way so retweet your followers to build a relationship
  • Provide links to your blogs, articles and websites

 

Twitter Analytics

The Twitter blog can be a useful resource for background on using analytics. The analytics module tracks impressions from your tweets, showing you top tweets, retweets, click throughs and most influential followers.

 

Websites

Websites can be useful tools for disseminating your work and can act as points of contact, advertisements and repositories for products (e.g. software, toolkits and training resources). In order for websites to be successful, you need to consider mechanisms for driving traffic to them, this could be via twitter, a link on a stakeholder website, Blog posts or media coverage for example.

In addition to dissemination, websites can be a valuable tool for evidencing Impact depending on how they are constructed.

 

Impact evidence from websites:

Analytics do not go far enough to support impact claims (they may support reach), it is therefore necessary that certain UEA microsites (e.g. those making resources available for use) are able to capture information about the people accessing and using their resources, and the ability to follow up in order to see how/if they were being used. This is why it is necessary to consider data capture options.

The potential of web analytics to help evidence impact has recently drawn considerable interest from the academic research community, where researchers are increasingly required to account for the impact of their research in terms of the reach and significance of their work outside of their research communities. A Google analytics script built into a website can be used in order to provide:

  • Demographics (in terms of the location and browser language setting),
  • visitor behaviour (i.e. the number of new and returning visits, and the duration of their page visits),
  • technology used (i.e. the browser version, operating system and the network service provider), 
  • mobile (i.e. the number of visitors via specific phone or other mobile devices), and
  • visitors’ flow (i.e. the pathways commonly used through the website).

This blog by Simply Measured provides some background to using Google Analytics.

 

Data capture methods:

In addition to the quantitative information analytics can provide it may be necessary to employ techniques that allow you to identify users and interrogate uptake/application of resources in order to support impact claims. Options to facilitate this include:

  • Subscription to access locked site areas (capture of user info and agreement that follow up may occur)
  • User info form to download certain items (capture of user info e.g. name, email, organisation, and agreement that follow up may occur) – I believe IP have a work around for this – but I do not want to advertise this, and we do not have the sufficient resources to support academics in doing this.
  • Forum within website, with user registration required (would require moderator/PI involvement)
  • Sign up for newsletter (would require regular PI involvement to produce)
  • Software, free trial followed by survey and sign up for full access

 

Blogs

Anyone can set up a blog using sites such as Medium, Tumblr or via WordPress. Blogs can be used for sharing opinions, initial findings or early drafts and can be a useful mechanism to link your research to current news, developments or events. Blogs are useful ways of communicating your work beyond academic audiences, and used well can be excellent ways of external stakeholders becoming interested in your work. 

Blogging top tips: 

  • Have a perspective or unique selling point, make sure you are making a point and/or opinion. 
  • Have structure and be visually attractive. 
  • Find easy ‘regular’ features to keep the blog live and active. 
  • Keep length (post paragraph, sentence) under control. 

 

Fast Track Impact has many resources to help you develop your Social Media strategy for creating impact from you research, including this article by Mark Reed and Ana Atlee has some great Top Twitter Tips. Fast Track Impact now produce an online magazine full of useful advice on all aspect of Impact, including articles on Social Media. 

The LSE Impact Blog also has this handy Guide to Using Twitter available to download, as well as other articles on Social Media use including this article on Writing for Wikipedia

Details of the session presented by Mark Carrigan, author of Social Media for Academics, during UEA Impact Week 2017 can be found here. Mark Carrigan's blog also contains useful insights into using Social Media for developing impact opportunities to occur, including the possibilities of using mediums such as Snapchat and Instagram to connect with younger audiences. He has also put together a useful series of webinars discussing Social Media for Academics available on Soundcloud


Follow @UEAImpact on Twitter for more resources, inspiration, support, and details of upcoming impact events.