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Communicating and Conducting Research through Social Media: Lessons Learned from an Academic Research Centre

Authors:

Abstract

Introduction: The Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence (ARCHE) developed Twitter and Facebook presences for stakeholder engagement. The social media tools targeted two main audiences: 1) A Facebook page and a Twitter account were established to recruit participants for a survey of health consumers; 2) another Twitter account was intended to communicate information about the activities of the centre to academics and health professionals. Methods: Goals, target audiences, marketing strategies, and performance indicators were developed for the social media strategies. Subsequently, the Twitter identities and Facebook profiles were established by a research embedded health librarian and a research associate during the fall of 2013. Google Analytics, Twitonomy and Altmetric.com were used to collect statistics on the performance of the social media strategies. Results: 1) Participant recruitment: As of March 2014, 57 survey participants were recruited through Facebook, and only 11 through Twitter. 2) Communication: Twitter is now the primary referring site to the centre’s website, and responsible for 80 visits (58% of the total). The centre’s main Twitter feed has 128 followers and a potential reach of 116,974 individuals. The centre’s most frequently mentioned publication, on lifestyle interventions for type 2 diabetes, received 141 tweets from 128 accounts and reached an upper bound of 143,780 followers. Discussion: From preliminary results, Facebook has shown potential for engaging a consumer audience, while Twitter has helped the research centre reach a professional audience. The embedded librarian has established a new role within the centre managing social media presences and monitoring their performance.
Communicating and Conducting
Research through Social Media
Lessons Learned from an Academic Research Centre
Robin Featherstone, MLIS; Michele Hamm, PhD; Lisa Hartling, PhD
Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence
Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta
Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence
www.ualberta.ca/ARCHE
@arche4evidence
(2) Academics and
health
PROFESSIONALS
(1) PARENTS
and child
caregivers
The @arche4evidence Twitter feed communicated
information about the activities of the centre.
INTRODUCTION
RESULTS
CONCLUSION
OUTCH study Facebook and
Twitter profiles recruited parents
for a survey on pediatric health
outcomes.
2 audiences were
targeted:
ANALYTICS
Google Analytics, Twitonomy
and Altmetrics were used to
assess performance of the
social media strategies.
Of the 68 OUTCH
participants recruited
through social media,
84% came from
Facebook.
Of 191 visitors to the ARCHE website,
59% came from Twitter.
From preliminary results, Facebook has shown
potential for engaging a consumer audience,
while Twitter has helped the research centre
reach a professional audience.
The embedded librarian established a new
role managing and monitoring the
performance of social media presences.
ARCHE’s most frequently mentioned
publication received 268 tweets from
242 accounts with an upper bound of
264,273 followers.
In 2013 an ARCHE research associate
and a embedded health librarian
developed Twitter and Facebook
presences for stakeholder
engagement.
Article
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