As part of their drive to offer more events and training outside of London, UKeiG teamed up with CILIP Yorkshire & Humberside to hold a networking event in Sheffield. This included three short presentations from local speakers about personal, professional and organisation use (and misuse) of social media, plenty of time for chatting and discussion, and the most amazing spread of afternoon tea I have ever seen. Hats off to Nabarro’s Sheffield office catering team.
Laura Woods (@woodsiegirl) explained that the guidelines for social media usage are actually very similar for individuals and organisations:
Combine professional and non-professional content to avoid boring people, and show your personality. Follow Ned Potter’s 1-in-4 rule (also mentioned by the other speakers), and only post about yourself or your organisation once for every three posts of funny, interesting, local or shared content.
Interact with people. Social media is not designed for broadcast-only use, so monitor what users are saying to and about you, and respond to it quickly. Like, favourite or share content from your network, because these microinteractions are what build up both friendships and brand loyalty.
Remember you have to invest time to use social media effectively. Crafting good content, monitoring and responding all eat up more time than you think, and definitely more than management think. You’d be better not having a presence on a site than having one that is poorly maintained.
You would be hard-pressed to name a social media site that Penny Andrews (@pennyb) has not used (nay, early-adopted), which she attributes to her wide-ranging interests and skills, and also to her perception that there is no fundamental difference between offline and online interactions, only differences of convenience and scale. She pointed out that social media statistics can be used to win management support by showing that your accounts have more likes, shares, retweets, followers etc., than [key competitor], or vice versa.
Karen Dolman (@Podling) enthused about altmetrics – the statistics gleaned from social media that tell authors how many times their article has been downloaded, linked to, mentioned etc. on different sites. These statistics are extremely useful, particularly for early career researchers, as they demonstrate the impact of research without having to rely on traditional citation counts, which can be slow to build up. Use of altmetrics is also likely to expand as open access does, and more research can be freely linked to.
Evelyn Webster, CILIP Y&H visits co-ordinator