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There are pretty much no sectors or industries for which social media has not become a crucial tool, either for internal and external communications, branding, or for the marketing and selling of products and services.

Some may say that one group late to jump on the social media wagon has been university research teams (if, indeed they have jumped on at all). Stereotyped as ‘not very social’ and a ‘bit geeky’, social media may not seem like the right platform – perhaps research faculties worry that the public on social media won’t be keen to learn about what they are doing – and yet they wish they could ignite an interest from the wider public about critical research and development going on every day around the UK. We think there is a huge interest and appetite for such information, indeed we know there is.

There are many ways research teams can use social media, but one that is critical to them is funding. Increasingly, organisations that offer grants for research want demonstration that the research has a public interest, and that the faculty is going to engage stakeholders, interested parties, and the wider public in the research. Social media can do all of these things, in a cost effective (if not practically free) way.

We’ve had first-hand experience of this, working with a research faculty at the University of Cambridge.

The Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride research team had applied for a grant to fund their research project but as part of their grant application, they needed to prove two things:

  1. How their work would be engaging to the public; and
  2. How they would deliver this message to the public.

That’s where we came in. Working with the team we developed a social media strategy that would demonstrate both of the above, then we used training sessions to show the team how they could organise and run the social media themselves. You can read the full case study of this project here (spoiler – they got the funding!) which shows just how social media can be used and implemented within a research faculty.

Whilst we’re on the topic of research faculties and social media (and for a bit of fun), we found this infographic a while ago via @AcademiaObscura and it inspired us to make our own version for the social media and marketing industry. See them both below.

Our social media jargon infographic – inspired by it….