By Sheeva Azma
You don’t have to spend hours on a Twitter #SciComm strategy. Here are six tips to help you create content quickly and easily!Tweet
For most of 2020 and 2021, I was juggling many different tasks: building Fancy Comma from scratch, performing work for our clients, managing our social media presence…and generally trying to make it through the pandemic.
During that time, I was invited to host two of my favorite #ScienceTwitter accounts: @IAmSciComm and @RealScientists. I accepted, even though I was super busy. I knew I needed a Twitter content strategy for those accounts that would be super simple and straightforward…so I made it happen.
My time-saving Twitter content creation strategy helped me host @IAmSciComm not just once, but *twice*! When it came to hosting @RealScientists, I pulled together a simple strategy that achieved both visibility and impact: I even chatted with a few lawmakers (read my @RealScientists recap).
Want to know what I learned about crafting a simple, yet powerful Twitter SciComm strategy? Keep reading!
Make the most of your time as a SciCommer
As a science communicator, you can use Twitter to talk about science, build trust with the public, and so much more…but let’s face it, sometimes, there’s just no extra time in the day to figure out what you want to say and the best way to say it.
Even if you have the time, it can be intimidating to create and manage a social media following. Sadly, this can be a barrier to SciCommers’ participation on social media platforms. Without SciCommers actively participating in science discussions on Twitter, misinformation can drown out the actual information on the popular platform.
Barriers to improving #ScienceLiteracy through Twitter: A lack of time; not knowing what to talk about; feeling intimidated by social media and even #SciComm in general.Tweet
The good news is that you can create content for Twitter quickly and easily without too much extra work.
In this blog post, I share some tips to connect with your Twitter following without too much behind-the-scenes work. While this post is geared toward Twitter, most of the the principles mentioned can apply to other social media platforms as well.
Over time, applying these insights, you’ll be able to grow your social media reach and gain new followers. Remember, building a social media following is a marathon, not a sprint!
So, let’s get into it. Here are my best Twitter content creation and content strategy tips:
1. Know your audience.
The easiest, most foolproof way to interact on social media is to know your audience. You can do this quickly by checking out hashtags that your followers are likely to use (for example, science communicators can check out the #SciComm hashtag on Twitter and Instagram). Take a quick moment to scroll through your Twitter feed, too. What are people talking about? What are they interested in? What do they care about? Use this information to come up with content that your followers will want to read (and share).
2. Look for interesting things to post.
If you see a cool article or social media post, share it with your followers and ask them what you think. This could be from other people on social media, or from newsletters, blogs, even news segments you see on TV. These serve as ‘conversation starters’ that you can use to engage with your Twitter following.
3. Encourage people to ask questions.
Answering questions is an easy way to come up with content for your social media account. You could put out an “ask-me-anything” or AMA post encouraging your audience to ask questions about something you know a lot about. When hosting both @RealScientists and @IAmSciComm, I answered people’s questions about being a freelance science writer. Sometimes, simply answering your audience’s questions and tackling issues they care about can go a long way: not only for growing your Twitter presence, but also to position yourself as an expert.
4. Live-tweet your experiences.
A live tweet is when you tweet about something as it is happening. Live-tweeting is fun because it naturally unfolds as a story. If you tweet with your followers during the live-tweet, too, it can be interactive. You can live tweet events of interest to your followers, such as a seminar you are attending (yes, you can live-tweet remote Zoom events, too); something you are doing; or even a news event you are watching on TV. I once live-tweeted a Federal Reserve meeting held by Jerome Powell in which he talked about the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on reopening the United States for business and improving the economy. I also live-tweeted getting my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for @IAmSciComm.
5. Have conversations with people.
The easiest way to participate in content creation on your Twitter is just to have conversations with people. This works both ways, as you will also learn something from them. Hosting @IAmSciComm and @RealScientists, I tweeted with science communicators, scientists, policymakers, scholars, and science aficionados from all over the world, who taught me a lot. I keep in touch with many of these people via social media today.
6. Remember to be helpful, friendly, and approachable.
Social media can sometimes be a toxic place; try to steer clear of people who aren’t interacting with you in good faith. Don’t make the negativity problem worse. Instead, strive to be helpful, friendly, and approachable! When used properly, Twitter can be a great way to connect with fellow science communicators, science enthusiasts, and people all over the world from different walks of life.
More from Fancy Comma on building a SciComm Twitter following
To learn more about ways to interact as a science communicator on social media, check out this article. For ways a Twitter presence can help scientists and science communicators boost their work, combat misinformation, and improve science literacy, check out our book, Amplifying Science Communication with Public Relations.
Disclaimer: Fancy Comma has affiliate partnerships to support its blog content. We may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.