Six Lessons I’ve Learned Helping Researchers with Social Media

Six lessons I have learned helping others with social media:

  1. Time – It takes time to build your social media muscle. There’s no substitute for hours on the platform. There’s no substitute for being on the platform for many years.
  2. Know your audience – Knowing who you want as a follower as well as who follows you.
  3. Research works – Investigate the content, channels, posts, time of day that leads to the results you’re after. Spend time testing different approaches. Learn where your ideal followers hang out.
  4. Research your audience – Make a list of their likes, and dislikes. Get specific. Know these details for each of the accounts you’d like as a follower.
  5. Ask – For what you want. Likes. Shares. Follows. Downloads.
  6. Copy others – Look at what they are doing. Don’t steal their content but reuse their ideas. Video styles. Picture styles. Words. Layouts. Approaches.


Over the years I’ve helped a lot of researchers, and academics with their social media. Here are 6 lessons that I’ve learned from them as with helping them.

The first is time. Time is one of the biggest things that will help you grow followers. So, time has 2 meanings in this sense. The first is the amount of time you spend interacting with your followers and your other people on social media, and in the next sense it’s time since you’ve had the account. That just allows more and more people to get on for you to promote yourself more frequently on social media. So, time is the first lesson.

The next lesson is to know your audience. So, by this I mean know the people that you would like as followers, and what you know broadly speaking what they are I’ve called this previously an avatar, and sometimes it’s also called a persona. So, know your ideal follower, but also know your actual followers who are the people that are actually following you. Get to know them and think about the kinds of content that they might like to see. Particularly, if they do fit your persona or your avatar. 

Without a doubt like with everything research works, so investigate the content, the channels, the posts, and the time of day. All the different things that you might change as variables on your social media and investigate what works best for you, your content, and your followers. Spending time, testing different approaches can really pay off in terms of growing your channel and your influence. Obviously, research your actual audience.

So, we already talked about knowing your audience and having an avatar, and also knowing the individuals that are currently following you. But who are the specific accounts that you might want to have follow you? Are they journal, and book publishers? Are they other universities? Are they other searchers? Start creating content specific to those individual accounts. Now that might seem like a really narrow approach. But what that does is it gets them to follow you and get to see your content, and then their followers end up following you. If you’re interested in their followers as well as them, that’s a really useful way of growing your channel. So, research your audience.

The next tip number 5 is to ask. Ask for what you want. There’s a reason why at the end of videos people say like and subscribe because it helps the people who are watching to remember. That’s a useful way for them to contribute back to the channel. By the way, like and subscribe with my video as well. But ask for what else it is that you might want. If you’re after grant money, don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you’re after collaborators, don’t forget, don’t be afraid to ask for them. Now this shouldn’t be in every single post, and some people talk about asks being in sort of one in 10 posts. But nonetheless, not asking means that people have to guess what it is that you might be after. Whereas, if you ask, they’re really clear about what it is that you’re after. If they’re willing and able to help, they probably will. 

The final tip for the lesson that I’ve learned about improving your social media game as a researcher is to copy others. So, don’t copy their content obviously. Don’t plagiarize their content but copy their approach. If they’re using a video-based approach and that looks good to you, and you can see that they’re having good results with that you know, what’s the same thing that you could do with your content. If they’re doing a picture-based approach, what’s the same thing that you could do with your content. If you’re on one social media channel and you see that another channel’s kind of content is really working at the moment you know, 90-second videos that are appearing on TikTok are really popular, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a 90-second video up on another channel like Instagram or on Twitter.

So, you know, can you copy that approach for a similar effect? So there you go, 6 lessons to help you with your social media game. I hope they’re useful and let me know how you go. And of course, don’t forget to like and subscribe.