There are 2.789 billion people using social media today, but that’s no help if you can’t reach the right people.
So, we hosted a Twitter chat about how journal editors can use social networking platforms to connect with their readers, raise their profile, and build an online community.
Meet the panel
- Euan Adie (Altmetric Founder) @Altmetric
- Emma Maguire (Social Media Editor for Life Writing) @LifeWritingJnl
- Tepi McLaughlin (Social Media Coordinator for Journal of Sport Sciences) @JSportsSci
- Miles Richardson (Multimedia and Social Media Editor for Ergonomics) @Ergonomics1957
- Bethany Farr (Social Media Manager at Taylor & Francis) @TandFAuthorServ (now @TandFOnline)
Don’t worry if you couldn’t tune into the live event. We’ve collated the main discussion points below, or you can always search #TFGoSocial on Twitter to find the full conversation.
Why should academic journals have an online presence?
Social media brings people together, which means it can help your journal to reach new audiences.
Euan Adie, Altmetric Founder, said “most journals will have an accidental presence on social media anyway, people are going to Tweet and blog about your articles no matter what. Journals should take the opportunity to engage with interested audiences!”.
Emma Maguire said “research can change lives, but first it needs to find readers. That’s where social media is so valuable”.
Which social media platform is best for your journal?
Social media isn’t one-size-fits-all. There are so many platforms to choose from – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, and more – so each editor should explore their options.
The platform which is right for you will depend on several factors:
- The journal’s subject area
- The audience you want to reach
- How you want to engage with your audience
- What kind of content you want to share
Bethany Farr, Social Media Manager at Taylor & Francis, advises that whatever platform you choose, the most important thing is to be genuine about your content; it’s better to “build an audience slowly based on quality content and genuine engagement”.
Planning tips for social media
When it comes to planning a content strategy, follow Emma Maguire’s advice and start by thinking about your audience:
- What do they want?
- What will they engage with?
- When are they active?
- How do they share, read, and use your content?
Tepi McLaughlin said “it’s mission critical to know: have we got resource to meet this? Do we need to plan in extra resource? Who is responsible for what?”.
A great social strategy starts with great planning, so don’t skip this essential step.
Overcoming common challenges
When you first set up social media accounts, it can be hard to grow your following. Miles Richardson recommends you gain “the support of professional bodies related to the journal, and tag others who may be interested in a paper”.
It’s also important to focus on what your audience wants to hear, not just what you want to share. As Bethany Farr said, “you have to remember the social part of social media”.
Strategies and tactics for social media success
Tepi McLaughlin shared four tips for running a successful Twitter account:
- Integrate with the journal’s existing processes. For example, the Social Media Editor should get notified of new papers and author Twitter handles.
- Marketing. Have a good brand and write out the details in your branding guidelines for consistency. You could use the same branding as the journal itself, or consider building a slightly separate brand purely for social media.
- Frequency. Tweet regularly! Don’t forget that it requires planning and resource to build a steady stream of content for your followers.
- Repeat. Don’t be afraid to repeat existing Tweets, as many won’t get seen by all of your followers anyway.
How to measure success
When it comes to tracking and measuring your journal’s presence on social media, there are a few different tools which are helpful. Explore the different results you can get from platform-specific data through tools like Twitter Analytics, and the data pulled into scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Social Studio.
Of course, Altmetric can be used for tracking conversations about specific journal articles on social media too. Euan Adie warns that metrics “can’t necessarily measure ‘impact’ … unfortunately this makes dashboards and monthly reporting hard”, so take a holistic approach to measuring success.
Final words of wisdom from our panel
As the discussion came to a close, we asked the panel for some final words of wisdom. Here are their top tips for success on social media:
- Use great images with a simple message
- Invest resources and assign responsibilities on your social media plan
- Engage with great ideas and great people, and your audience will grow organically
For more advice on setting up your journal on social media, download our free guide for journal editors now.