Our work across institutions and our links to policy and practice communities has highlighted the importance of communication and engagement.
If you are an early career researcher, beginning a project or just looking for help with communications methods, our short guides will point you in the right direction.
If there are any other areas you would like more information on, do please get in touch.
Before committing yourself to a name for your project, don’t forget to do an internet search in case your title has already been used for a similar project or is a well-known product in another country…
Copyright of names and branding, particularly online, is a difficult legal area, so avoiding potential issues at the outset is advisable.
If you’re buying your own web domain name rather than using a subdomain of your institution, it’s worth buying those with similar suffixes. It helps to prevent copycat sites using them. For example, if you purchase www.abc.org.uk, you might wish to buy www.abc.org too and redirect it to your main site.
- Use what you feel comfortable with – try a number of networks to see what works best for you.
- Using a network for your own research purposes may require a different format to that needed to manage a network for a group or project.
- Twitter is probably the easiest and most widely used media – scroll down for more specific guidance.
- LinkedIn is commonly used for business and is useful for setting up discussion groups on specific subjects.
- YouTube or Vimeo accounts are handy for uploading videos of presentations, work in progress etc. but make sure you edit before you do so – the average online attention span for video is 2.7 minutes.
- Make sure you write your posts in an engaging style, and use images and video – the most shared content.
- The Guardian: Top tips – how to boost your social media profile
- Buffer blog – very useful blog with tips for social media. Well worth signing up for their newsletter if you’re doing a lot of communications work.
- Only tweet if you have something useful or interesting to share.
- Tweets should ideally include a link to something, unless you have a specific point to make.
- Adding a visual helps your tweet to stand out – the ideal image size is a 1024 x 512px jpg. Some scheduling apps pick up images from the link you’re tweeting and allow you to include them.
- You only have 140 characters and a lot of competition – make your tweets snappy and interesting (it’s headline writing really).
- Don’t send lots of tweets close together – quite irritating for anyone using a feed.
- Make use of tracking and scheduling services (Buffer, bit.ly etc.)
- Apps such as Tweetdeck are great if you have multiple accounts, or to keep track of activity.
- Use hash tags – they are invaluable in keeping an eye on what’s trending.
- Use the list function to separate your contacts into groups – this is particularly helpful if you’re using a single account for personal and work.
- Try to keep personal and work accounts separate if you can – funding bodies probably don’t need to know your sandwich is mouldy etc.
- Make sure you include where you picked up information by using ‘via’ and the source Twitter handle (it’s only polite!).
- Keep a note of when and what you tweet, what gets retweeted etc. if you like – they may be useful metrics.
- Twitter Analytics quantifies the number of retweets / likes etc. but also a number ‘impressions’ – how many people have read your tweet.
- Apps such as Mentionmapp can provide visualisations of the spread of a tweet or hashtag.