Great Social Media Idea: Making Research a Resource

Before we get started, I want to take a moment to talk about what I believe is the greatest American holiday. 4th of July? Meh. Thanksgiving? As if. Memorial Day? Puh-lease. Give up? Well, here's a hint - it happens every year on the same day. Today. 7/11. That's right, IT'S FREE SLURPEE DAY!!!!!!! If you're reading this blog and you have yet to pick up your free cup of frozen corn syrup goodness, do yourself a favor: close the browser and head to the closest 7-11. This post will still be here later. I promise.

Now onto business. If you're a regular reader of this blog (THANKS!) you might notice that I haven't yet posted much about colleges sharing articles and infographics about faculty research. It's not because I haven't seen any of that... it's just that I've been keeping a few examples in my back pocket (if my back pocket were a folder on my desktop) and was planning on doing a more in-depth case study on that.

But then I saw this post from UC Berkeley today, and I figured what the heck - let 'er rip with a faculty research post. So here you go! 

Lack of sleep makes people cranky? "The more you know (do do do do!)"

Lack of sleep makes people cranky? "The more you know (do do do do!)"

A few things are key to making this work: 1) a topic that is understandable to the masses. Yes, almost all of our followers are college students or alumni, but still... 2) a concise, clear, and brief (!) write-up; and 3) a photo or graphic to accompany it.

But most of all, it needs to be the type of content that acts as a resource to the audience. Something that is, sure, promotional for the school, but manages to break through the marketing wall (we all know by now how run-of-the-mill self-promotional posts, while sometimes necessary, get zero engagement) because it is content that is good enough and interesting enough that people want to share it with their friends. Of course, not all faculty research works well for social media, which is where brilliant and talented social media managers step in and use their judgement about what they think will resonate with their audiences.

Despite my crack earlier about the audiences not being titans of intellect, you'd be surprised at some of the examples I've seen over the past few months that feature research that is pretty dense and esoteric, but still got great engagement rates. Never underestimate the desire for people to make their friends on social media think they are smarter and more interested in intellectual things than they really are. (It's sort of like the story - possibly apocryphal - that people who fill out manual Nielson ratings books always write down that they watch more public broadcasting than the digital ratings box shows.) People love to humblebrag... tap into that instinct!

Anyway, Cal is lucky enough to have a great press release for this topic, complete with some delightfully cheesy stock photos. (Not sure how many of you social media managers are also media relations people like I am - i.e., writers of fabulous press releases like this - but if you're not, it's always  a good idea to get on the good side of your media relations people, because they are the ones that crank out a lot of the content that you then go on to share on social media. This doesn't really relate to this post in particular... I'm just sticking up for we unappreciated, ink-stained scribes.)

More on this topic later, but until now - thanks Cal! 


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