Best Practices for Using Social Media at Academic Conferences
September 29, 2021
3 minutes to read
Source / Disclosures
Pendergrast T. Maximize your social media engagement at academic conferences. Presented at: Women in Medicine Summit; 24-25 Sept. 2021 (virtual meeting).
Disclosures: Pendergrast does not report any relevant financial disclosures.
Appropriate social media etiquette and engagement at academic conferences can expand one’s network and lead to opportunities and collaborations, according to a speaker at the Women in Medicine Summit.
“There really is a formula for doing it well” Tricia Pendergrast, a third-year medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and co-founder of GetMePPEChicago, said during her presentation.
A good social media etiquette begins with the structure of a biography, Pendergrast said. She recommended that medical professionals use their legal name as a username or pseudonym on Twitter. The bio should also include their specialty, special projects, interests and affiliations, as well as a link to their professional page, and it should end with a fun fact. In addition, a headshot, which doesn’t have to be professional, should accompany the bio.
When it comes to job structuring, healthcare professionals should include several basic elements, Pendergrast said. These elements include an untagged body text (with relevant tags typed under the text) and some form of media such as a photo, video, or article.
Pendergrast pointed out that individuals can develop and improve social media engagement at conferences using the NODES of Social Media Engagement: Networking, Open Chat, Live Engagement, and Self-Promotion.
While networking is an integral part of academic conferences, engagement with social media is a valuable alternative if a busy conference schedule prevents presenters from meeting conference attendees, Pendergrast said. Especially now that many conferences are being held virtually due to the pandemic, networking through social media can help forge connections.
A person looking to network with a speaker or other attendee should follow that person on social media first. Next, Pendergrast said that a connection can be made through a carefully crafted direct message that:
Begins with an appropriate greeting, followed by an introduction.
Establishes a conference connection. Pendergrast gave an example: “It looks like we are both attending the Women in Medicine Summit this year. I attended your plenary session yesterday and really enjoyed it.
Make a definitive request, such as a request to connect or to know more about his career.
Ends with the coordinates.
The open discussion element of social media engagement is communicating the content of a conference to those who couldn’t attend while providing a forum for discussion on the topic. Articles on conference presentations can be written in many forms. An engaging message can involve a meaningful quote, key takeaways, or facts and figures.
Live tweeting is another way for conference attendees to share content with those who couldn’t attend. This involves creating a thread of tweets posted throughout a presentation that has interesting and instant information with followers, Pendergrast said. On a forum such as Twitter, threads or post additions should be added chronologically in a thread so that viewers can easily access the information.
For those wishing to tweet live at a conference, Pendergrast suggested building a team of volunteers to maximize coverage. When using volunteers, rehearsals and planning should take place before the conference. Some messages can even be created in advance if the presentation slides are available before the conference. Screenshots or photos from the presentation are generally acceptable, Pendergrast said. However, she recommended contacting the presenter or conference coordinator to ask for permission.
Live tweet posts must tag the conference account and include all conference hashtags. Additionally, posts may involve more informal content or writing to keep the cover light and engaging.
Conferences are a good place for self-promotion because “you have a captive audience of people who are interested in the same things as you,” and other attendees are usually looking for new connections, Pendergrast said. She suggested using a conference hashtag to share a new article, book chapter, blog post, or other accomplishments.
“You have to be prepared to promote yourself and showcase yourself,” she said.
While social media is a great resource for forging new relationships, it can also have an impact on mental health. Pendergrast told Healio Primary Care that a media break “is a fantastic idea.” To maintain a social media presence during the hiatus, she recommended updating the name of the social page to let subscribers know about the media hiatus so that they do not send messages during this time. Upon returning from a break, she suggested posting a message with the announcement and information on how time was spent during the break, then asking subscribers, “What have I got?” lack ? ”