Contributed by Colm Ryan
Are you a scientist that wants to master social media? If so, then these are the 4 essential tips to master social media that you need to know! As former PhD scientists turned entrepreneurs, myself and the ELISA Genie ELISA Kits website co-founder Sean Mac Fhearraigh PhD, are passionate about finding the best ways to grow our personal brands and promote our fledgling business. This has meant going back to our scientific roots researching, testing & implementing social media strategy across many different platforms. We have also invested time mastering social media strategy and learning best-in-class approaches from leading social media experts across many different industries to come up with 4 tips to help you master social media. So, let's jump straight in!
Just like planning a project or a bunch of experiments, you need to do your research, set your goals and plan like hell. Believe it or not, the same is true for social media. So, the first thing you need to decide is what you want to achieve from social media and this will dictate the rest of your strategy. For example, do you want to be seen as an influencer in the lab? Or, do you want to develop an interactive group for your post-doc society? Or, maybe develop your personal brand for a move into industry? Whatever it is, decide what is you are going to do and then go for it!
Picking a platform can appear overwhelming especially with so much information at hand. However, if you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve from social media, then picking a relevant platform is a cinch. My favorite is LinkedIn and it's certainly one of the best to develop a more serious & professional profile with a long post lifetime of 24 hours. It is great for job hunting and the message feature will allow you to chat with even the most famous scientists in the World for that dream job. Twitter is great for scientists and especially good for expansive discourse as well as real-time updates from conferences & events. Instagram is the up-and-coming platform and while it has advantages, it caters for a much younger audience generally centered around PhD students and undergraduates. That's what makes it excellent for educating and inspiring the next generation of scientists. As the old saying goes "Olden is Golden" and that's why 85% of Millennials still use Facebook. Irrespective of what LinkedIn offers with its group features, Facebook still comes up trumps when connecting groups of people, announcing events and sharing daily updates.
Now that you have picked a platform, it's time to generate and post great content! Instagram & Facebook are super visual so you will need to develop your skills on generating amazing pictures and videos. Invest in a good camera or at least a smart phone capable of taking high quality snaps & videos. Once you have the images some great tools to use to maximize them are Canva & remove.bg. These will help generate those amazing shots from the bench that will wow followers. You can keep it fun & light and even mix some appropriate personal content with those fun snaps from the conference dinner table. Twitter is moving towards images but it is still mainly text driven. Don't just re-share someone else’s ideas & thoughts, share your own unique ideas and remember to use the most relevant hashtags to boost your Tweets. LinkedIn loves original content! Get someone to take pictures of you in the lab, at a conference or meeting your fave scientist and get posting. While LinkedIn can tolerate some fun stuff, your future employers might be watching so be sensible.
As my Dad says, "Rome wasn't built in a day" and likewise, your profile will take time to build & develop. It requires a large dollop of patience, a mix of time and a good splash of dedication to get that profile you want! So, post good quality original content at regular intervals and tools like Hootsuite can help if you are too busy to remember to post those daily hilarious lab cat pictures!
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