Over the last few years, social media has become part of everyday life for millions of people, for both their professional and personal lives. In 2012, 4 out of 5 internet users visited social networks and blogs (Pring, 2012).
At Elsevier, we recognize how crucial social media is for today's researchers, and we have conducted research to make our channels as useful as possible for their members. In recent years, our Social Media project team has carried out surveys using the Innovation Explorers network to find out researchers' views of social media and to determine the kind of information they want to receive.
In our most recent research in 2013, we found that 57% of researchers used social media in a professional context, which highlights the significance of social media in academia. The prevalence of specific social media channels varies from subject to subject, so we have established communities on the social media channels where the subject areas seem to be most active.
In all our surveys, we found that researchers preferred pages to be focused on a subject area rather than specific journals, and that they want, in order of preference, the pages to include:
- Articles of interest in the subject area
- Conference news
- Special issues
- Media news and research debates in the subject area
- Calls for papers and job opportunities
To satisfy their needs, we have established over 160 social media channels – across a vast range of subject areas – which we use to promote new research, call for submissions, and even gauge opinions on key questions, such as whether we should launch a new journal in a particular area. These sites give researchers an opportunity to interact with us directly, in a way that has never existed before.
We encourage you, as editors, to be involved in our social media channels for the benefits your participation brings you and the journal; for example, participating in or starting discussions may bring new hot topics or an up-and-coming researcher to your attention; you could ask the community for their opinions on potential special issue topics to gauge interest in advance; or, you could share news of a conference where you'll be speaking to build awareness.
Social media provides a fantastic opportunity for us to work together, providing researchers with what they want and need to know, building awareness of research and announcements, and attracting submissions for the journal.
Setting up your first account may seem a daunting task. Even if you have established profiles, understanding how to use them to best effect can be a challenge. Yet, being active on social media brings a number of advantages.
Elsevier's Marketing Communications & Research Engagement department has developed a series of useful guides which can help. Designed for editors, they contain information on all the major social media channels and how they can support you in connecting with your research communities
These guides provide information on the key channels we use, advice on how to pick the right channels for you, guidance on how to set up profiles, and some tips on how each channel can be used by editors and researchers. We hope you find it useful!