One of the biggest benefits of using social media as a researcher is that you have your own platform on which to share your research. Leveraging this can help you make an impact and open up opportunities in the future. Here are a few thoughts from our panelists on doing this effectively.

This is part 3 of a 3-part blog series summarising the Research Services Team’s “Social media for researchers – panel discussion”. Part 1 covers building your visibility, profile, and networks and introduced our panelists. Part 2 covers managing your social media presence and use. Don’t worry if you’ve missed them – these parts can be read independently from each other.

Read on to hear some of the advice on effectively sharing your research.

Talk to your audience

As is the mantra for all communication, know who you’re talking to and tailor how you talk to them accordingly. As discussed in part 1, knowing why you are using social media is important for this.

If you are looking to reach a mainstream audience, it is essential that your explanations and commentary are understandable without needing much background knowledge. In contrast, if you are looking to connect with other experts, academic language may be more appropriate, and nuances may help you connect with more relevant people.

Knowing what your audience wants and responds to helps you to spread your research in way that goes beyond traditional academic publishing. For example, writing an X thread or LinkedIn post, creating a short video for Instagram or TikTok, or creating info-graphics that explain your key findings can help to extend the reach of your research and make all the effort you put into it more worthwhile.

Simple ways of getting to know your audience include: paying attention to the kind of posts that get the most engagement, or where you see the biggest change in followers. Some platforms, such as YouTube, also provide audience analytics. When you have a bigger audience, you could do live events, like ‘ask-me-anything' (AMA) sessions, or live streams where you get to interact with people directly. These have the added bonus of sharing your personality directly.

Ultimately, paying attention to what is helping you achieve your goals on social media will help you better understand your audience and where you may need to explore to expand it.

Make content accessible

The beauty of most social media platforms is that they allow everyone to connect with anyone. As Analisa said, social media helps to break down barriers and makes it easier to reach out to others. This means that it’s a great opportunity to share your research in a way that allows more engagement.

For example, Matt discusses the backlog of research material he has on his podcast. The conversational tone and speed that it can be put out into the world compared to traditional academic publishing means more information is accessible to a wider audience. Sharing your research like this can also help you to inject your passion and personality. Explaining why you think your research is important and why you are interested in it can hook others too. Who knows, you may go on to inspire the next generation of researchers in your field!

Chloe’s entire use of Instagram revolves around making her research area approachable. Women’s sexual arousal is often considered taboo, and so it can be hard to talk about without getting entangled in stigmas and stereotypes. By sharing her research journey through a personal lens, Chloe helps to demystify and destigmatise the topic, communicating her research findings in an engaging way. By using Instagram, she typically reaches a younger audience than platforms like X and LinkedIn, helping to embed this positive attitude from a younger age.

Leverage your platform strategically

Using social media strategically is another way to get the most from your efforts and promote your research amongst your target audience. As an example of this, Analisa and her team within CATs focuses on creating accessible YouTube videos about stroke aphasia and then use Facebook to share these videos directly to the intended audience. They leverage the expertise of the aphasia researchers in CATs to summarise their research or share about an area they have knowledge in. They then have a sister team that converts the content to be effective on X.

Analisa highlighted that Facebook’s features make it easier to manage a community of interested people through groups and pages, however it’s not always easy to grow that community. Other platforms, such as TikTok or YouTube, use algorithms to promote content organically. This multi-platform strategy helps to leverage the unique benefits of each and maximise the reach and accessibility of your research.

This can be a lot of time and effort, and not everyone has the benefit of multiple teams working to communicate their research! However, simply thinking about the basic features of the various platforms and the type of content that typically works well on these platforms can help you to spend your precious time effectively, rather than running uphill from the outset. Plus, it doesn’t always take a lot to adapt content to different platforms. As long as you aren’t creating posts that can only be used on one platform, for example by name dropping a platform or its features, you can usually share that content between platforms relatively easily.

Try something new

Starting a different social media profile is an opportunity to share your research in a new way. If you have previously used text-based platforms, like X or blogs, a move to Instagram or YouTube may be the motivation you need to start dabbling with images and video. This can help you reach a new audience and build a following you didn’t even realise existed.

It can take time to build a new following or produce videos or podcasts, but this is where using previous platforms and working with someone else can help you get going. Matt works with a partner on his podcast so that they can share the time commitment to produce it, for example.

Even within your current use of social media, changing things up can help keep you and your audience engaged. As previously mentioned by Haider, this can be intentionally searching for new connections and communities to engage with, or it could be posting something different to keep yourself stimulated. A simple swap could be switching from posting purely text discussing your research area to sharing some photos of what you’re actually doing. Or if you normally share photos on Instagram, try creating a Reel.

Posting for the sake of posting or out of routine can drain the passion from what you’re sharing, so reassess from time to time to find new ways to reinject your personality and enthusiasm. Be mindful that changing your content may impact your current audience’s engagement if they have got used to your current style, but it can be a great opportunity to expand your reach and avoid getting bored with the platforms.



  • Understanding your audience and how they best receive information will help you share your research in a way they can understand and engage with.

  • Sharing your research through social media can help you make the important parts of your research easily digestible to a wider audience, and help increase your impact and reach.

  • Use the benefits of each platform to your advantage. Who is on each platform, and are they who you are trying to reach? What type of content works best on each, and does this fit with your research, preferences, and skillset?

  • Social media provides the opportunity to try something new and different alongside traditional academic publishing. Videos, images, and podcasts can reach different and potentially more people than articles and books.

  • Trying something new can also help rejuvenate your interest in a platform and reach a new audience.

In conclusion

It’s crucial to remember that social media is constantly changing. In less than two decades, social media has evolved into something completely unrecognisable from its first conception and reshaped the way we communicate. Over the past year alone, we’ve seen the impact that new ownership on a single platform can have on the entire ecosystem, with new platforms emerging in response to others dying out. And with the rapid emergence of AI tools, I’d say the pace of change is unlikely to slow down. This makes it all the more important to keep up to date with how you can make the most of your time using social media. Thankfully, there is a lot of support on offer at Essex! The University’s Communications Team offers a range of guidance on using social media:

  • Social media support - the University offers support to individuals and departments for setting up and creating a content plan for social media.
  • Media training - the University offers a variety of training for promoting yourself through and engaging with the media, including interview, writing, and social media skills.
  • Marketing and communications support - there is a wide range of support available for all types of communication needs, whether corporate, internal, or promotions.

Essex researchers can also directly contact Christian Leppich, Digital Content Lead.

The Research Services Team in the Library provide support on how to increase your research visibility and setting up academic online research profiles:

People & Culture’s health and wellbeing hub provides support for physical health, mental wellbeing, and accessibility at the University.

You can stay up to date with the Research Services Team by following the Library’s LinkedIn, X, or Instagram. You can also connect with members of the team via their own social media platforms:

If you have any questions, feel free to reach us on And finally, if you missed them, you can read part 1 of this blog series on building your visibility, profile, and networks and part 2 on managing your social media presence and use.

We hope to see you at future events!