Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Empowering Scientists for Effective Research Dissemination

In today’s digital age, social media has revolutionised the way we connect, communicate, and share information. It has become an indispensable tool, not only for personal use but also for professional endeavours. Recognising its potential, the BLUETOOLS project recently conducted a Social Media training aimed at empowering scientists and researchers involved in the project to effectively disseminate their work and engage with a broader audience. This article delves into the key takeaways from the training and highlights the importance of social media within the project.

The Significance of Social Media

Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to engage with the public, raise awareness, and educate a wide range of people. They provide an effective means of sharing detailed information and initiating meaningful conversations with the audience. Moreover, social media serves as a catalyst for community-building, enabling scientists to connect with a broader audience and act as a reliable source of information from trusted entities.

BLUETOOLS project has chosen LinkedIn and Twitter as their primary social media platforms. LinkedIn, with its staggering 740 million global monthly users, has experienced significant growth and is well-suited for disseminating scientific information. It offers a platform where 40% of visitors engage with a page organically every week, underlining its enduring power and relevance in the market. On the other hand, Twitter has witnessed a substantial increase in usage for community-building purposes and will serve as BLUETOOLS’ main social media platform for connecting with stakeholders, disseminating research, and sharing timely content.

Objectives of the Training

Conducted by the European Science Communication Institute (ESCI) and Minerva Communication, the Social Media Training was designed with several key objectives in mind. Firstly, it aimed to educate scientists about the importance of social media in research dissemination. Secondly, the training provided an overview of key social media platforms, focusing on LinkedIn and Twitter, and highlighted current trends. Finally, it equipped participants with practical tools and strategies to create compelling social media content, maximize reach and engagement, optimize targeting, and build networks and collaborations. A content calendar and sample posts were developed to assist in scheduling and programming social media content effectively.

The training session employed a combination of presentations, demonstrations, interactive discussions, and hands-on exercises. Participants were introduced to the various social media platforms, their unique features, and their relevance to the BLUETOOLS project. They were guided on techniques for producing engaging and high-quality content, customizing it for different platforms, and leveraging existing resources. The significance of post engagement and the creation of a content calendar were emphasized. Interactive exercises encouraged participants to evaluate the project’s current social media performance, brainstorm ideas for future content, and utilize an online whiteboard to organize sections, sentences, and keywords for different social media channels

Outcomes and Participant Feedback

The training session concluded with the creation of three online whiteboards filled with relevant ideas for social media posts and hashtags. These resources were shared with participants, empowering them to create impactful content in the future. The PowerPoint presentation and tips on creating visuals and content for social media were also shared for reference and dissemination within the BLUETOOLS project. Feedback from participants highlighted the value they found in understanding social media trends, platform-specific content, post frequency, and leveraging information across platforms. Practical aspects such as examples, ChatGPT assistance, and the group experience of using the whiteboard were well-received.

Embracing Science Communication on Social Media

Reflecting on the training session and their thoughts on science communication, participants expressed their commitment to actively support the Communication and Dissemination team. They planned to follow and engage with the project’s social media platforms, publish content about their daily activities, create videos to bridge the gap between their work and the public, and seek expert guidance when needed.

The training has equipped scientists and researchers with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively disseminate their research and engage with a wider audience. By harnessing the power of social media, the project aims to raise awareness, foster collaborations, and inspire a greater understanding of their scientific endeavours. As scientists increasingly embrace science communication on social media, we can expect to witness a positive transformation in how research is shared, understood, and valued by society.