50-in-5 Keynote Talk: Social Media Presence


On Wednesday, April 3rd, Laurissa Gann, manager of Access Services, Collections, and Education at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, spoke to a packed Space City room at UH during the Keynote Talk for the big 50-in-5 Workshop. Laurissa spoke to her audience of researchers about how to grow their audience and spotlight their work using social media.

“In order to connect with your audience online, you really have to control the conversation, build a reputation, find collaborators, and disseminate knowledge,” said Gann.

These four items correspond to four key aspects of audience growth:

  • Visibility – When you control the conversation, you are seen. This means going into the comments section and actually interacting with people. Don’t abandon your commenters. Answer questions and suggest ideas to them. This will make you more visible over time and people will come to see that you know you what you’re talking about at an expert level.  
  • Reach – Building a reputation means not just getting yourself visible, but also showing that you have an expert grasp of your field. When you talk to your commenters, teach them some simple things they might have not known. In your posts, you can go into detail about those things. Over time, you’ll build a reputation as an authoritative, expert voice.
  • Dialogue – Collaborate with other researchers. Record short videos of a conversation between you and other experts on a relevant topic. This helps bring new perspectives to the table and expands your network of scientists for future collaborations.
  • Immediacy – Disseminating knowledge gets people involved. The more you spread engaging content rich with information about your subject, the more people will want to engage and interact with you in comment sections or share your posts with others.

Gann also spoke at length about how to be engaging on your social media platforms. She talked about the importance of formatting; using multimedia, photos, and videos in your posts. “Search engines love multimedia in posts, but people love multimedia in your posts even more,” said Gann.

She also mentioned the importance of content. “Concise, relevant, short content with specific examples is key in getting your content shared and noticed,” she advised.

Gann warned against the pitfalls of using esoteric jargon in your posts as well. “Remember that not everyone is speaking your language. Your science-y terms might turn off people who aren’t experts. It’s best to talk in a casual, simple, and fun tone.”

The 50-in-5 Keynote Talk was a big success, with over 50 people attending to learn how to grow their online presence and make their research and hard work known to a wider audience.