Social media pitfalls
Hopefully this guide will provide you with some good pointers of how to publicise your research using social media. However, there may still be some room for error. The following lists a few common mistakes often made when writing a press release with some advice on how to overcome them.
Although it is important for you to engage in conversation with others within your social networking community, it is crucial that you only intereact when it is relevant to do so. For example, if your research is about genetics, a hashtag about Simon Cowell would be completely irrelevant. If you frequently engage in inapporpriate interactions, followers will view your account as spam and therefore cease to follow you, meaning they will miss out on your relevant contant due to your misuse.
It is important that you use social media appropriately as your audience are more likely to engage with you and your news if you are both using it in the same way. It is therefore a good idea to observe how other people and organisations with similar interests, audiences and purposes to you, use social media before you begin, eliminating margin for error.
It is easy to lose track of the art of conversation social media allows and purely see it as a way to promote yourself to your followers. This will not prove successful as you will be viewed in the same manner as advertisers. Obviously you want to promote your research, but you need to make sure this is in an informal, appropriate manner that is not self-serving, but encouraging interactivity and inviting discussion.
If people are trying to interact with you regarding your posts, make sure you do interact with them as this will help to spread your message. Do not ignore attempts at making conversation with you as this is the golden opportunity to enhance your networking and increase your contacts.
Loss of control
Once you have posted information within the social media arena, it is in the public domain and therefore to a certain extent you are relinquishing control of where it goes from there. You cannot control the reaction and what people are saying about your research. If people directly interact with you regarding content, you are encouraged to engage in conversation with them. However, make sure you do not attack their views. Their comments will not show up on your feed and therefore you may have to accept that you will not always be able to control what people are saying, just as you cannot control the way a print journalist may choose to frame your story.