ECU provides a variety of support and advice services to assist researchers in engagement and promotion through social media as well as the mainstream media. Staff at ECU should be personally accountable for any statements made in the media, and ensuring that they do not breach copyright confidentiality, privacy or other agreements.
Brand and marketing has experience with promotions via a variety of channels, and the Digital Marketing, Experience and Analytics team is able to provide advice on ECU's social media policy and how it might apply to you. The team also has responsibility for managing ECU's approved social media presences, and the process of endorsing any new channels, the process of requesting approval for a new ECU social media presence is available on the social media advice page. ECU's approved channels are a fantastic way of networking by following them through your own accounts on the relevant platform, you may also like to contact the channel in order to provide content and broadcast your message, you may use the social media content request form in order to submit suggested content. Other useful requests to have promotions and content shared by the approved channels include the YouTube requests form, for sharing videos that may be of interest to prospective students and the community, and the social media call for research participants request form this is a paid service offered by the university.
The corporate relations team is the main point of support for dealings with the media, and for official responses and media releases. They are able to provide a variety of assistance in communicating with the media, including training, preparing press releases, and crisis communication.The ECU media policy which outlines your responsibilities, and outlines the different levels of comment and how to direct media requests for university comment, as these may only be addressed by a designated spokesperson.
ECU provides a wide range of researcher professional development training, information and support to assist you to develop as a researcher, no matter your experience level. The Researcher Professional Development Framework has been developed as an evidence based approach to researcher development and capacity building. Using the framework researchers are able to locate resources, workshops, online materials and mentoring to assist in planning their professional development needs across each of the framework's four domains. The Impact and Engagement domain brings together resources internal and external to ECU relevant to this topic, including making the most of online accounts professionally, and sharing your work and expertise to a non academic audience.
The ECU Library- Research Services team developed and maintains this guide for our researchers at ECU, we also run a range of training sessions each semester, and work with our publisher partners to promote events. To see a listing of upcoming events please visit our Workshops for Researchers guide. We are also able to offer consult sessions for individual support and tailor workshops to the needs of ECU schools, research groups or other targeted audiences and present in online, hybrid or in person formats. Please use the contact us button to get in touch. Our on demand workshops are pre -recorded sessions available at your convenience, a selection can be found below.
Highlights the benefits of making research outputs openly accessible in ECU’s repository. How Research Online can help increase readership and impact as well as fulfill funder requirements. Creative commons licenses, journal copyright agreements and author’s accepted manuscripts explained.
Academic identifiers and tools can help to boost your reach and visibility. Learn to use social media to network, and how to publish for a broader audience to increase engagement with your research.
Developing a plan to best manage social media for the promotion of your research and forming networks within the research community. The social media planning template can be located here.
There are a range of social media platforms that are used by researchers, each has it's own benefit and uses. If you are new to social media, or looking to expand into other platforms it can feel overwhelming as an already busy researcher to choose a platform and to get the most out of what each offers. Many researchers use a combination of these platforms to meet their aims, social media accounts allow you to create your own space to discuss your work and connect with others in a way you control. Below is a brief summary of some of the platforms used by researchers and why you might consider using them.
Pages and groups are useful ways to promote your research to users and to create and join groups related to your interests. Groups and pages enable you to have a presence that is linked to your personal account but kept distinct, always check your settings as care needs to be taken to ensure you are operating within your comfort level and professionally. There is often some commingling of the professional and personal on Facebook, and you may find your feed is a mix of the personal and professional especially with those you have friended or followed. Using groups and pages means you can go directly to the content that interests you rather then scrolling through a feed, you can also set up notifications for when posts are made.
Events are another feature that makes it easy to promote and share your events, be they community talks, live performance or a gallery show, these can be posted on Facebook or on other platforms making it easy for others to share. Facebook has a slightly older demographic then other social media platforms like Instagram, as such you will tend to get more engagement on posts if they are made in the early evening when people are off work. For some guidelines on using Facebook for promotion of your research check out the Wiley 5 Tips for Promoting Your Research Through Facebook which looks at privacy settings, scheduling content and making use of groups.
Twitter is becoming increasingly popular with researchers in all disciplines, often described as a micro blogging platform it enables you to connect with other researchers as well as the general public. Follow researchers, publishers and groups of interest to curate your feed and keep up to date, and make use of hashtags to find and target your community. The Nature Index blog article 10 tips for tweeting research has advice including how to make the most of hashtags, finding a community that meets your goals.
A social media site with a focused user base of the research community rather then the general community. Many researchers use this platform to promote themselves and their research and network with others in their field, doing so should be done with some caution however as ResearchGate is a private company. Many publishers do not allow the uploading of a manuscript to ResearchGate, even if they allow its inclusion on an institutional repository, such as Research Online here at ECU or other platforms, ensure you read your copyright or publisher agreement carefully to ensure you are not breaching it. Awareness of the nature of private companies is also important, ResearchGate wants to turn a profit, and like many social media sites you are the product, with targeted advertising and membership there is also the possibility that the platform will be sold along with the data and documents you have uploaded to the site.
Despite the .edu suffix this is another private company focused on social networking for researchers, Academia.edu leans towards more of a humanities researcher demographic. For scholars in the humanities Humanities Commons exists as a nonprofit alternative that is fully open access and open source with full featured accounts free for all users. In the case of Academia.edu there are various paid tiers of account and services on offer, with some of these coming under scrutiny. The ability to pay to see the identity of who has accessed their work, raising concerns around the selling of users data in this way. As with any time you wish to upload or share your published work you should ensure that you are doing so in a way that is consistent with your signed publishing agreement.
Instagram is a platform that many academics may not consider for promotion, however Instagram has a higher engagement rate per post then other social media platforms. Recent benchmarking across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is available on the Rival IQ site, which includes the suggestion to diversify your hashtags across platforms, as users are often interested in different things. Don't feel as if you need to be an expert photographer or that every image needs to be perfectly edited and polished, Instagram does have built in filters to make it easier, but they are not compulsory and many users are looking for a more authentic profile. The Social Academic has a guide on Instagram for academics, that looks at ideas for posts and creating an effective post.
LinkedIn has a different audience that interact with content that may not gain traction on other platforms, longer posts and are likely to garner higher levels of engagement. Unlike other platforms even posts that are fully texted based and outline the importance and relevance of your work are often popular, ensure you are making use of hashtags to . A more corporate and industry related user base provides the opportunity to reach that audience and communicate your research, whilst Linked in is often thought of as being for employment academics need to be aware that their research is the main content that employers will be looking at. To make the best first impression on LinkedIn your profile image should be clear and show your face, and your headline should be specific and make the most of the 120 characters, these are the two pieces of information that people are guaranteed to see when you message them, send a request or appear in search results.
Owned by Elsevier, ECU staff and students have access to the institutional edition, which provides you with 100GB of personal storage and the ability to have unlimited private groups, you will also be added to the ECU page when you sign up. Offering both web and desktop options, Mendeley is both a reference manager and social media platform for researchers. Create or join groups to share research and find collaborators to discuss and annotate documents, search to find groups and researchers of interest to you and find to research. Private groups enable you to share the full text so that all members are using the same version.
Check with your publisher, institution or research group if they create and upload author interviews to their YouTube channel, these are popular among the public, and can generate interest in your work especially if you are able to be engaging and interesting. Whilst these are usually undertaken for books they can also be done for other outputs, connect with content creators and channels related to your research area to see if they would be interested in collaborating.
Your work as a researcher and the projects you are involved in are likely to change overtime, profiles and websites are prone to being created and then left to be updated "when I have time" or do not show the full picture of your research and academic activities. Social media provides a way to keep your network, potential collaborators, employers and the public informed of any updates and developments as they happen, the flexibility and timeliness of social media is one of its strengths with the ability to easily disseminate information about publications, findings and news.
No matter who you are there are some basic cybersecurity measures that everyone should take to protect themselves and their identity online. As a general rule it is a good idea to regularly check your online accounts to make sure all the security and privacy settings are set up and working how you prefer, as platforms will on occasion change how the settings work. The Australian Government Australian Cyber Security Center guide on identity theft is a simple outline of what information is of interest to steal, how to protect that information and what to do if you think your identity might have been stolen including how to report cybercrime. For a more in depth guide the Attorney-General’s Department of Australia publishes the Protecting Your Identity: What Everyone Needs to Know booklet, which includes Australian relevant resources and information as well as case studies.
Most of the time when things go wrong online it is very minor, negative reactions this might include loosing a few followers, receiving an email privately telling you that the person disagrees, or a constructive but negative response in a public online space. As the ability for experts to be engaged in the public discourse around their research topic increases through online interactions and social media they are increasingly at risk of drawing scrutiny towards themselves and their research, on occasions this may cross the line into harassment when it is no longer constructive criticism or harmless such and shifts towards being persistent, harmful or insulting. Often these subjects are not seen as being controversial within the researchers own field or more broadly in the academic community, and this can lead to surprises when the researcher experiences backlash. These topics are often those that are prone to misinformation or misleading facts promoted by those who wish to push their own agenda, it is of vital social importance for experts to discuss and correct misinformation and build trust with the public. It is worth noting that whilst being aware of how to protect yourself is useful most researchers will not experience online harassment, and in cases where they do it is usually short lived, involving a limited number of people and only in online spaces. In rare cases speaking out on these topics can lead to more severe and targeted harassment, which may involve "doxing" or revealing information about the researchers identity, grouping together to form a brigand to harass or bully, disseminating photos that may be real or created of a personal nature, or occasionally spilling over into the real world leading to false deliveries to the individuals home, or on the more extreme end "swatting" which is the false reporting of the individual to emergency services leading to them being called to the individuals home. For more in depth information including best practice to protect yourself, support others and what to do if you are harassed the Data Society resource "Best Practices for Conducting Risky Research and Protecting Yourself from Online Harassment" is a fantastic guide and includes how to educate those around you about possible issues, making use of security settings and block lists, and taking protecting your privacy proactively.
There are ways take to protect yourself when you speak out about potentially controversial topics, some steps you may consider taking:
There are guides to help you in locking down your online identity and increase security, C.O.A.C.H - Crash Override's Automated Cybersecurity Helper is a step by step wizard designed to walk you through the process in an easy to follow manner, for an in depth guide on how to protect yourself online and what to do if you do become a target for online harassment, Speak Up & Stay Safe(r) has detailed advice from activists and authors who have experience being targeted online.
Networking is a term that is used in different contexts and depending on who you ask you might be met with both a range of explanations, at its core however networking is building relationships between people but also organisations, groups and industry, in order to make connections. This could be through organised networking events, online spaces or even informal networking which might be as simple as having a chat over coffee in the staff room. Some organised networking events may have a target of a particular audience such as higher degree by research students, researchers from a particular area, members of the community or industry interested in a particular topic, or a group of individuals interested in a shared goal such as improving public speaking skills. So much of life and whether you fail or succeed in a goal hinges on knowing the right person to ask a question of when something is urgent, or having done work for an organisation that is now being consulted about a government policy in an area you are passionate about. Often networking is reduced to providing an advantage when applying for jobs but there are many other reasons. "A guide to authentic networking" by Brian Wang provides a summary of benefits of networking in any industry and practical advice on how to go about it. Due to the nature of research and academia there are some benefits to networking that are unique, these include:
If you are unsure on how to start networking there is support provided at ECU, the Researcher Professional Development Framework Networking competency page has information on training and resources as well as current networking opportunities. There are also numerous networks, committees and groups at ECU that you may be interested in joining, a selection of these includes:
Early and Mid-Career Researcher Network (EMCRN)- Open to all research active staff at ECU the network aims to provide events and discussions that help to build a strong and supportive research culture.
Young Alumni Network (YAN)- If you have graduated with an ECU degree in the last 10 years, or are under the age of 35 the YAN aims to support the transition into life after university through events, training and socialising.
SOAR Centre- A free peer-to-peer service open to HDRs offering advice, training and support for research skills and developing your career. Consider attending SOAR sessions to meet other researchers, or applying to become an adviser yourself to be paid while gaining experience in the role.
Research competitions- including Three Minute Thesis, Fame lab, and Fresh Science. Enable you to get your research out there, meet other researchers, and learn communication skills, with some of these programs offering perks such as Fresh Science providing winners with media and public speaking training.
Building networks on social media can take time, and is very much a give and take as the more you follow, interact and share with others the more likely you are to have them reciprocate. Social media is social after all, so strike up conversations or provide additional information to posts, answer questions and ask for help and advice yourself as people are more likely to respond if they feel you are open to them doing so.
Hashtags are a fantastic tool utilised by many platforms similar to keywords they enable yourself and others to find and follow topics of interest. To get an idea of what hashtags to use or follow look at what others in your field are using, those that publishers or research groups use in their promotions or check your network to see what they follow. For general hashtags that aren't specific to a research field the blog post 53 hashtags for academia to expand your academic network on Twitter offers suggestions along with a summary of the types of posts that make use of them. When using hashtags on your own posts ensure you are not using jargon and that they would be something that a non expert might use to search for that content, ideally each post should have a few well targeted hashtags and avoid using an excessive number. Most conferences now have a hashtag and it is common for attendees to use these when posting about the conference or live tweeting during it, this provides a few benefits it means you can find other attendees to follow, read any thoughts about your presentations and by using this hashtag when discussing the conference others can find you. If you are a woman in STEM consider creating a profile on the Australian Academy of Science STEM women page, other profiles are helpful to locate women in your field who may be interested in collaborating, or presenting at conferences and other events, you can also find links in the profile to the individuals social media accounts and use these to start building your online networks.
Make use of the tools available to you to further the reach of your research and to build your visibility, use of various platforms and profiles means that you have access to a wider audience as each service will have its own target user-base and demographic. To make it easy for others to locate you and to verify that an account is yours, ensure your biographical information is up to date and consistent across platforms including a clear and recent photograph. Your employment and current research projects should be listed, an outdated profile can make it look like you are not active in research. Link back and forth between profiles and author identifiers including links to staff pages and social media, when building your network you want to make the process of finding you as easy as possible. For information on setting up and maintaining author identifiers including ORCiD please go to the ECU Library guide ORCiD and other researcher IDs, the library also offers support in the form of regular workshops and individual training if you require any assistance please contact us at any time using the contact us button on this page.
Many people struggle with networking face-to-face, as they find striking up a conversation with a stranger can be difficult, especially for those who are more introverted or not confident in their own abilities and knowledge. Whilst you cant flip a switch and turn into a social butterfly, the Harvard Business Review article "Learn to Love Networking" outlines some strategies to help develop a different outlook and build motivation for networking. One of the largest hurdles faced by those networking is a feeling that they are being inauthentic and the relationships that they are building are largely superficial and selfish. Some strategies that may be useful to develop stronger more authentic networks and to feel more confident doing so are summarised below:
Have you been contacted by a journalist for comment? Or maybe seeking extra participants for your research? The corporate relations team is the main point of support for dealings with the media, it can be useful to let the team know that you are interacting with the media as they are able to assist with providing background information about the journalist and their media outlet, advice on giving interviews and arrange car parking and escort on campus.
Researchers are often concerned about loosing control of the narrative of their research, or their research being incorrectly reported. The Nature Feature "On the Record" provides solid advice from researchers who have had interactions with the media. It is suggested that researchers prepare for their interview by asking the journalist what their angle to the story is, whilst you will generally not be provided with a list of questions before hand as it is generally preferred that your answers are more organic, this can assist you to prepare a few short statements that get to the core of you research without jargon to help guide the conversation to include important points. For even more in depth guidance through the whole process of media interactions the "Sense About Science Media Guide for Scientists" provides advice collated from interviewing 218 science journalists, with a section on preparing for the interview, what to expect during and after the interview. For an Australian perspective, ECU’s partner the Australian Science Media Centre, has developed a guide for researchers wanting to use the media or social media to raise their profile see Science Media Savvy for more information.
Another option to have your research promoted in a journalistic style and still maintain full control of the article is to write for The Conversation. The Conversation is a completely independent news and opinion source that publishes direct from experts and the research community to a public audience. Working alongside universities and expert researchers the team of professional editors aim to make research accessible to the general public. ECU researchers are recognised for their contribution to The Conversation by ECU for their efforts in communicating their research to the community, all articles written by our researchers are available to read on the ECU Conversation page.
Many researchers have little experience communicating their research to a non-expert audience, and may struggle initially with creating an interesting message that their audience can be both informed and engaged by. Being able to communicate your research and get your message across to any audience is essential to building your brand, the main goal of research is to develop positive change for society. The Researcher Academy from Elsevier offers a series of modules on ensuring visibility the session Seven strategies for scientists to communicate their research and create a brand offers advice on how to get your research to stand out and what tools can help with this. As with all communication it is not a simple matter of announcing what you think people should know, it is a two way street where you need to understand what your audience is interested in, and meet them half way by showing them that your message aligns with their interest. People are all different and no audience will be exactly the same, each individual will have their own motivation for listening to you, their own interests and their own background knowledge. One thing that they will have in common is that they do not want to be lectured, successful communicators are able to make their presentation or writing engaging and entertaining to their audience, and discuss complex issues and concepts in an accessible manner.
Many researchers create a practiced statement of a few sentences that sums up their message this is sometimes called an elevator pitch or elevator speech. The idea being that if you were in an elevator with a policy maker, funder or employer what would you say in that 30 seconds? The AGU has a fantastic guide to creating and using elevator pitches to communicate your research. Creating a statement that you have prepared means that you are always ready to answer "So what is it exactly that you do?" and make the most of opportunities. A brief statement can always be expanded upon but ensures that they you are addressing the most important points no matter how nervous or put on the spot you are. You may not have a lot of time to both get your audiences interest and attention as well as inform them. There are many techniques that can be used to distill your message a very simple start is to create a one sentence headline, headlines are designed to grab attention and intrigue, if your research was a news article what would the headline say? The structure of Aristotle’s classical argument can also be adapted for communicating your research. The 5 strategies follow a series which you can use as a frame work- the aim being to get your audiences attention, inform and educate, and to leave them feeling as if they are taking away a valuable message they feel confident in their understanding of and that can make use of:
The ability to write lay summaries, sometimes known as a plain language abstract are short and concise summaries that has been written in a jargon free, plain language manner that can be understood by the general public or a non expert. Writing a lay summary can allow you to communicate the big picture of your research without getting lost in the fine detail, and provide important context and story to why your research matters. Many journals and grant applications require one as part of the publication process, as this allows for ease in promoting the article on social media or in the case where the journal also has an audience of practitioners such as teachers or medical professionals who do not have a research background but still need to keep pace with current research. The Wiley how guide how to write a lay summary for your research gives advice on writing but also provides a a publishers perspective the infographic below has some tips. Having a summary written in accessible language can assist with your own promotions of yourself and your work through social media and other networks,they may also be provided to communications teams or journalists who are non-experts in your field but able to make use of their own networks and skills.
The Wiley Lay summaries info-graphic, available at: https://www.wiley.com/network/researchers/preparing-your-article/how-to-write-a-lay-summary-for-your-research
A recording of a live session, covering an overview of tools to use to create infographics and the dos and do-nots of displaying your research in a clear interesting way for a variety of audience.
Map out the various publications and outputs resulting from your research project, including information about traditional and non-traditional outputs and choice of audience. The Who, What, When, Where, Why of publishing during the research lifecycle. The publication planner templates can be located here.
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the traditional custodians of the land upon which its campuses stand and its programs
In particular ECU pays its respects to the Elders, past and present, of the Nyoongar people, and embrace their culture, wisdom and knowledge.