Many scientists think that they don’t have the time to develop a presence in social media. Like many people in other trades, scientists are busy and cannot spend half of their day on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Many tools are available that make it possible to automate many of the activities associated with the development of a presence in social media.
I am sharing a list of the four essential social media tools I currently use with the hope that it may help you develop a community of people sharing your scientific interests.
Essential Social Media Tools for Content Publishing
Buffer is the social media tool I used most often. Buffer makes it possible to schedule posts on different channels at specific times where my audience is most likely to be engaged. For each channel (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), Buffer allows me to specify how many times a day I want to publish content. It also suggests times that have been optimized based on my audience previous engagements. For instance, I publish up to 15 items on my Twitter accounts but only 2 on Facebook, and 1 on LinkedIn.
Buffer puts my content in a queue for each channel and posts it at the right time. This functionality allows me to identify the content I want to share in a few sessions a week and have it trickled down over multiple days and at different times of the day.
Buffer takes different sources of content. Any web page can be sent to Buffer through a browser extension. It is also possible to add RSS feeds to Buffer. Instead of automatically pushing the content of the feed to different channels, Buffer allows me to review and edit the content I’d like to post before sending it to the queue.
Buffer also includes great analytics that allows me to identify the content my audience liked and gauge their engagement. In particular, it identifies the Top posts and gives me an opportunity to repost them quickly to get more mileages out of these blockbusters.
Essential Social Media Tools for Community Building
I have a presence in different media with different accounts on each platform. It would be time consuming to switch between web sites to monitor what people are talking about. Hootsuite is a feature-rich service that include publishing and reporting tools. However, I mostly use the dashboard that provides me with an integrated view of what is happening in different social media. It makes it easy to find Twitter handles or Facebook pages. It also makes it easy to see the influence of members of my community by looking at their number of followers, timeline, or even Klout factor.
Hootsuite analytics are great but they are ridiculously expensive as they charge for each report. This price structure is a shame because it sort of taints the whole experience of using the service.
As my community was growing, it became difficult to identify who I should pay the most attention to. Commun.it helps me identify members of my community as influencers or engaged. The services suggests people I should follow because they share common interests with me and people I might unfollow because of their lack of engagement. The service includes features to give credit to different groups of people who have been particularly engaged. This can be done either manually but it can also be automated through the Campaign feature.
One way to build a healthy community on Twitter is to retweet material that can relevant to your audience. Retweeting can be overwhelming as it is not always easy to find the content that should be retweeted. I don’t want to find too little of it but I don’t want my timeline to be composed only of content generated by others either. I might want to retweet certain groups of people at different rates. I recently discovered Round Team. It is a service that allows me to define rigorous retweeting policies by specifying what I want to retweet, who I want to retweet, and I often you want to retweet.
Other essential social media tools?
These are the essential social media tools I am currently using. However, I am experimenting with new tools all the time and I will update this page as my list of essential social media tools evolves over time.
Is there any tool I have left out? Is there any tool you like that you would recommend I try? Please let me know by writing a comment below.