I know what you think… “I have already read a lot of articles like this one, giving me general information about twitter and hashtags but by the end of it I couldn’t really apply it to my case…”
Well, hopefully for you this post will finally answer the questions you seek and help you move forward with your project!
We will see together different hashtag uses with examples applicable to research and some very practical tips on how to use hashtags in your science communication. So, don’t leave now, you might miss something!
Social media in science
Digital communication seems to be finally accepted and used by the scientific community. A survey of 587 individuals identifying as scientists in USA, UK, Canada and New Zealand – run between 2013 and 2014 by Plos One – shows that three social media platform dominates among scientists. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn were used by over 50% of respondents (specifically by 88%, 82% and 66%, respectively).
Twitter is the #1 Social Media for scientists
According to the same survey, Twitter is the favorite social media of the scientific community. It is a brief and clear way to communicate either with peers or general public. It is also very easy to measure the impact of your tweets thanks to free tools such as Twitter Analytics, Followerwonk and many more you can easily find online.
One of the most important components to take into consideration with Twitter is the use of hashtags. A hashtag is a way to categorize a tweet’s topic(s). It gathers information and makes it easier for people to search for other tweets about those topics by using the hashtags themselves to search. A research run by Buddy Media’s showed that:
- Tweets with hashtags receive 2x more engagement than those without hashtags
- Tweets with one or more hashtag are 55% more likely to be retweeted
Now that we redefined what was a hashtag and its general utilization, let’s get deeper into its usages with concrete examples.
Hashtags: When to use them and how?
These are the hashtags you should use almost every time. They are about your activity, your suppliers, your audience. This is a way to be found easily by categorizing your tweets. At Sparks & Co, we use hashtags like:
- #scicomm: That’s what we do, science communication! To simply write #science or #communication would be a waste of time since those words a very broad and over-used.
- #H2020: All the projects we are currently working one are funded by the H2020 European program. People interested in this program will search for it. And these people could be our future partners/clients.
- #ResearchImpactEU, #EUfunding: We also use other hashtags depending on what information we want to put under the light.
— Sparks & Co (@sparksandco) May 17, 2017
Event hashtags are only meant to be used for a short period. Events in your industry, for instance, could be a great way to connect with other people with the same interest as you. Here see how we seize the opportunity to use the hashtag #marchforscience. (Read our article about our march in Paris, the 22nd April 2017!)
— Sparks & Co (@sparksandco) April 18, 2017
These hashtags are implemented for a determined period. They often have two objectives : Engagement and awareness.
At the beginning of 2017, EU announced the end all wireless roaming. They naturally used the hashtag #roaming as it speaks for itself but they also added a more specific one to this campaign with the hashtag #CALLtoEUROPE.
They used the most effective word “roaming” to provide awareness and quick access to any information related to the topic. Then they used a more specific hashtag “#CALLtoEUROPE” to run a contest and encourage people to engage about by sharing photos, videos and questions.
— DigitalSingleMarket (@DSMeu) June 12, 2017
— Constantin Gouvy (@ConstantinGouvy) 1 juin 2017
When you use a popular hashtag in a tweet, you are more likely to be seen by the people discussing that topic and looking at the messages relevant to that subject.
You can simply find trending hashtags in the actual Twitter website. In fact it is the most accurate way to find popular hashtags as twitter will adapt trends depending on your location and followers.
Example of a Hashtag in scicomm: #Scijack
It all started when doctor Shaena Montanari answered a political tweet that mentioned velociraptors…
The hashtag #Scijack went viral for few weeks and a lot of scientists used it to boost their number of impressions and engagement.
Four Tips to be a Hashtag Master!
1. Use relevant hashtags of your industry:
By relevant I mean that you need to make sure that your hashtag is used, retweeted… in one word: active. It also has to reflect what your project or business is about.
2. Use hashtags in your bio:
This will increase tremendously your visibility. By using several hashtags in your bio, you insure yourself to be found more easily by the audience you want to reach.
3. Make engagement easy:
Inspire people to Tweet the hashtag by making it easy to remember (with simple words) and giving them an incentive (for contests).
4. Keep monitoring:
Have you tried these tips for your project or on your personal profile? Do you want more tips on Twitter? Let us know how it worked for you on our Social media channels or by sending us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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