This is a question that you‘ve probably asked and hopefully, have answered for yourself before launching into your poster-making mission. Likely, you want your poster to be a hit with conference attendees and perhaps you even want to win the poster contest. Ultimately, you want to disseminate your research and to share your work to with everyone at the conference. Obviously, a nice-looking poster will help you achieve all of these things. Developing an attractive poster is what all of my other blog posts are intended to help you do. This post focuses on critical strategies to use to market your poster presentation and get the most out of the experience as possible. You never know, the networking opportunities that arise from your poster presentation could serve as a key that opens the door to your professional future!
You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that social media has become one of the best ways to share your research with the largest number of individuals in your field. Everyday an increasing number people involved in academic research become social media users. This may not be welcome news if you have little or no social media experience. But do not fret, Mark Carrigan has published an entire social media guide specifically for academics, making it easier for you to acquire the social media skills you need. If you still need convincing, SciLogs features an article with ten very compelling reasons to jump on the social media band wagon. Presently, Twitter and Facebook are the most popular social media platforms used by academics to share their work with thousands. Back in March 2016, the Guardian published a list of the top social media accounts for academics to follow.
Here is my list of top social media academics who are actual researchers in their fields that have a good number of followers:
- Cecile Tamura – Facebook Page
- Talal Saint-Lôt – my own Academia.edu profile
In my professional opinion, Twitter is the best way to market your poster presentation. Most conferences have started using a #hashtag for attendees to use when posting to social media sites. Always make sure to include the conference hashtag and @youruniversity in posts that mention interesting findings about your research, where and when you will be presenting, and photos of your poster for even better effect. Usually @youruniversity will re-tweet these posts which would then expose your research to all of their followers at which point someone else may re-tweet and so on and so on. Also, include your twitter handle on your poster author information so that others who take pictures of it can include it in their posts. Many conference attendees with large Twitter followings will post photos of research posters, tagging whomever they can but usually having to spell out the author’s name instead of tagging them because they do not have Twitter accounts!? Don’t let this happen to you.
So what happens after the conference? Twitter is great for real-time networking during a conference but after the event you will find your energy is better invested in dedicated academic social media sites. Academic social media platforms are growing in popularity, mostly due to their high visibility in Google searches. These platforms present excellent opportunities to share your research with internet users around the world. If you are involved in very specialized cutting-edge research and want to identify potential collaborators, here are two platforms that will provide you the reach you may need. I have a few papers on Academia.edu that get viewed at least once a week by someone across the world and I know this because Academia.edu sends email notifications every time someone has access your paper.
Academia.edu: Coined the “Facebook for researchers”, this platform boasts advanced sharing tools such as the ability to upload poster drafts for reviewer comments from the public or groups. 39,142,978 academics have signed up to Academia.edu, adding 13,416,944 papers and 1,888,024 research interests. Academia.edu attracts over 36 million unique visitors a month.