Many journal editors are embracing social media to create an online identity and reach a digital audience to promote their journals more widely. Miles Richardson, Multimedia & Social Media Editor of Ergonomics, shares his tips on getting started, making an impact, and how the data can be used to improve the overall quality and performance of a publication.
Although a simple tweet appears to be the output of the Social Media Editor, there is much to consider – and a number of lessons to be learnt. Here are my top tips for building an online identity:
- Find the best social media outlet – Twitter is home to a wide cross section of society, but tends to be used professionally by many. From my experience, Facebook is not the most effective channel, but there are others to explore, such as LinkedIn.
- Finding partners – getting off the ground and some gaining ‘critical mass’ is difficult. Try to engage the support of professional bodies related to the journal. And make social media users in the discipline area aware of your presence – simply by following them when you launch is one first step.
- Get every paper out (at the best time) – one of the advantages for a journal Social Media Editor is the continual flow of new content! Yet, this can be very varied and complex (more on that later). If using Twitter, consider scheduling using a tool such as Hootsuite. This means at one sitting the editor can schedule a couple of weeks’ worth of tweets. And once your followers build up, such tools can identify peak engagement times.
- Finding a simple message – The limitation of a 140-character tweet returns us to the issue of complexity. By nature, journal articles are complex and the titles can be impenetrable – even for the well-informed! Read the abstract for a concise message; often the practitioner’s summary contains the key message, or basis of it at least.
Generally, using a (copyright free) visual engages an audiences and makes a greater impact. This could be in the form of images, infographics, videos – or even photos of text! ‘Top tweets’ are those with a good visual and are the best option (along with an engaging title/text) for driving traffic. Images also allow others to be ‘tagged’; for example, if you were to promote a paper on firefighting, you could tag firefighting organizations. Here are some ways you can integrate them into your social media output:
- Images - Some papers contain an image that’s usable, but high quality library images from a copyright free database are a great resource. If it’s a paper that could fly with a good visual, then ask the author or take a fitting photo yourself! Here’s an example of a photo I’ve used alongside a tweet:
- Infographics – these can be hugely effective, but need professional support, from the publisher. There are tools requiring sign-up, such as me or venngage.com, but you can use Powerpoint templates.
- Photo of text – or make a graphic of some text, use a figure from your article or photo of fridge magnets!
- Branded quotes – create a branded template (in PowerPoint or similar) to add a touch of professionalism and ensure continuity.
- Videos – Although submission of Video Abstracts was strongly promoted along side guidance on tools and the offer of open access to all recent authors, only one video was forthcoming and didn’t create a great deal of engagement.
To identify what works, your reach and most popular output. Analytics also show profile visits and tweet impressions and inform wider input by the Social Media Editor, for example:
- Work closely with the Editor-in-Chief – the Social Media Editor will be able to identify papers that might have a wider interest from impact they have made online, which will then inform the editors of the journal.
- Title complexity – the data also highlights that many titles mean little to the informed reader coming cold to a new paper. Twitter analytics can help feed back such issues to the editors, improving the quality of future papers.
- Insight from Twitter Analytics – again, this information can be passed onto the Editor-in-Chief. For example, insight from Twitter Analytics shows that the demographic of @ergonomics1957 followers is 56% Male, 96% English language, with audience location and age shown below.