Below are examples of the way that I’ve used social media to promote myself and projects.
Project – Efforts to promote PaleoPix, a business specializing in photography and educational outreach. This company formally launched in August of 2020.
Overview – Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, social media has been the primary marketing strategy for PaleoPix. Efforts are focused on gathering followers and showcasing products available on-line (primarily prints, but also educational materials)
Strategy – Regular scheduled photo posts telling a visual story are made through the work week according to themes: Macro Monday, Tuesday’s Tail Tales, What is it? Wednesday, Thinking Thursday, and Field Trip Friday. Weekly blog posts provide educational content.
Results – At this time, it’s a little hard to tell what’s working. Facebook and Instagram are generating the most leads, but the followings are all less than 500 individuals.
Twitter Hours for Teaching
Project – Office hours, though required of faculty, are underused by students. In this age when an email will do, stopping by for quick questions is increasingly rare. Plus, office hours are typically during the work day, and, let’s face it, students study at night. Twitter hours makes dialog between faculty and students easy in the evenings, with no special software requirements.
Overview – Social media is a common means of communication for young adults. Facebook is preferred by many but requires a sign-in and Facebook groups can be a little confusing. Twitter does not require a sign-in except to post and with a simple class hashtag, it’s easy for students and faculty to find each other’s posts without needing to send friend requests.
Strategy – Twitter hours were scheduled for one hour two nights a week. Posts were made summarizing lecture topics and students were invited to ask questions. Extra credit opportunities were also offered.
Results – Generally, students didn’t post much except when it was close to exam time. However, based on surveys over multiple years, students liked the use of Twitter and relied on it as an important part of their study habits.
Uinta Mid-Eocene Paleobiology Project
Project – The Uinta Mid-Eocene Paleobiology Project is a large study of 40-45 million year old fossils from the Uinta Basin of Utah. An important and required component of the project is public outreach.
Overview – This project is funded by the National Science Foundation which mandates a strong outreach component. Twitter and the website were created during the field season prior to successful funding of the project and were a test. Instagram and Facebook will be added once field activities resume.
Strategy – One of the powers of simple blogs and Twitter is that much can be accomplished on smart phones. This makes it possible to blog and Tweet in real time. Researchers will post from the field as they discover and collect fossils, promoting the research and the National Science Foundation, and kindling an interest in paleontology
Results – Early feedback was positive, but with the canceling of the 2020 field season due to COVID-19, it’s challenging to know how effective this will be once field work begins in earnest.
Project – Mew-Mew House is an in-home retirement and hospice house for cats. Social media is used for fundraising efforts.
Overview – Though not yet a legally recognized not-for-profit organization, Mew-Mew House’s mission is to provide a loving and permanent home for cats that might otherwise be euthanized due to failing health, advanced age, or challenging personalities.
Strategy – There is a giant animal rescue community on Facebook. Regular posts there, plus extended information and blog posts on the website help community members know the costs of operating Mew-Mew House and provide outlets for financial support.
Results – Mew-Mew House has a modest, but active, following on Facebook, which is steadily growing. Photographs of the cats are quite popular and get shared frequently, increasing visibility of the organization.
All of the above with the exception of PaleoPix were created for basic outreach and awareness. With PaleoPix, social media is now an important component of marketing and photo posts are made several times a day. Updates