Maximizing the Impact of Your Academic Research Using Twitter

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You’ve probably heard about the amazing growth of Twitter use. According to the latest Pew Research, “the proportion of online adults who use Twitter on a typical day has doubled since May 2011 and has quadrupled since late 2010.” (Smith, Aaron and Brenner, Joanna. Twitter Use 2012. Pew Internet, May 31, 2012. Web. June 21, 2012.) Did you also know that universities and academics are finding Twitter to be an important means for cultivating downloads and usage of papers? Have you ever thought about using Twitter to increase the reach of your research? Do you know how to go about this? Or why you should? From its start in 2006 as a means to communicate quickly with a specific group, Twitter has evolved and grown and should now be an important tool in your arsenal of ways to promote your research. Here’s why.

A recent blog post from the London School of Economics and Political Science, “Who gives a tweet? After 24 hours and 860 downloads, we think quite a few actually do,” told of what happened when the National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) released a research paper as part of the NCRM Methods Review series to a large number of interested academics and researchers on Twitter: “The paper was uploaded online late afternoon on Monday 26th March and was first tweeted to our followers the following day. The paper caught the interest of NCRM Twitter followers and within 24h it was retweeted 10 times to over 5000 followers and shared 135 times using social sharing tools (email, microblogging, social bookmarking, social networking) available on NCRM website. This resulted in 861 downloads within 24 hours of the first tweet about our paper. This was clearly a Twitter effect, as the paper was not publicised anywhere else at that time.”

Although you may not see results quite like these from the NCRM, if you’re willing to try promoting your article this way, you’ll find that Twitter allows the ability to broaden your reach outside your normal audience and you will see increased downloads and greater usage of your paper as a result. In addition, you can quickly update all of your followers multiple times a day, or as often as you are able, offering more opportunities to increase the reach of your research.

A few tips:

  • When creating your tweets, make them interesting – for example, pull out a finding in your research or ask a question the research answers.
  • Remember to use hashtags judiciously in order to have your tweet show up in relevant searches.
  • Change the text of the tweets to attract more attention.
  • Keep your tweets to 120 characters or less as they’re more likely to be retweeted.
  • Take note of what works for the next time you tweet about your research!

At SAGE we have a number of active social media channels spanning SAGE corporate, disciplines, audiences and major products. Connect with us today! If you have a book or article you’d like us to help you promote via social media, let us know.

Happy tweeting!

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Reblogged this on Blog of and commented:
Check out @AcademicPortal for Political Science Academic Research tweets!

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