This post is for academics and PhDs who want to use social media to build their authority and personal/business brand. If you use social media only for personal updates, connecting with friends and family and are not trying to leverage your PhD to have more authority then this post is not for you – just keep doing what you are doing. If you want to build your authority so that you can book guest speaking, land a non-academic position, start a side hustle, sell your book/s, freelance, or consult, then read on.
So you know that social media is a powerful tool to build your authority but you feel like it is sucking the time and joy out of your life. You find yourself very sporadic on social media. You are really committed and engaged for a few days or weeks then drop the ball and don’t post or engage for weeks or months. Or was that just me?
Social media is an amazing tool to build a network and your personal authority but it shouldn’t be another time-wasting thing in your life.
How to batch content to save time and stress
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a batch is a group of things or people dealt with at the same time or considered similar in type.
To batch content, you will sit down and create a week or month’s worth of content in one period. This method of assigning time to just one task is often called time blocking. I’ve found the advantages of time blocking my social media content creation two-fold. One is the reduction is task-switching costs of having to spend the time creating content every single day. Rubinstein et al (2001) found that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as forty per cent of someone’s productive time. Research by Delbridge (2000) indicated lower performance results as a result of multitasking.
Batching also reduces my stress and increases my ability to switch off from my social presence during ‘real world’ social events and work time. The research backs up my feelings, as multitasking increases task switching which leads to increased stress levels (Delbridge 2000).
Once you have your content created you can either post it yourself or use a tool to schedule and post it for you. Read more here about scheduling tools. Scheduling doesn’t mean you can set and forget. Social media is about being social after all! But it means that you can dedicate 1-2 times a day (say 10 minutes) to engage without having to spend that 10 minutes stressing, procrastinating, and thinking about what to post and then engaging.
I set a time limit on my social media apps on my phone that will not let me use them after that time is used up. I was amazed that I don’t often meet those limits. After setting the limits my attitude to social media was very strategic and I would be way more engaged and productive in those limited time periods than I ever was with the hours of time I previously spend on social media.
How to know what to post
If you are still reading I’m going to assume that you are interested in batching your social media content. What you are probably thinking now is, well that’s great but I don’t have anything to post.
Be aware of what message you want to send.
Posting consistently but off-brand isn’t going to help you to establish your authority. Knowing who you are and what reputation you want to build is so important. Figuring out what your personal brand is and should be is deep work and an investment of time I highly recommend. I developed a course to help PhDs establish their personal brand. Check it out here.
Follow like-minded people/competition
Is there somebody in your field that you admire? Check out their social media accounts and make a note of what type of content they post. If you want to follow someone on Twitter without having to follow them (and altering them) then add them to a private list.
Use daily themes/hashtags
A Google search from Daily Hashtags for Twitter or Daily Hashtags for Instagram will give you plenty of ideas of what to post on specific days of the week. If you are interested in Academic Hashtags then check out these two posts: Academic Hashtags for Twitter and Academic Hashtags for Instagram
Join a social media challenge.
Last year I hosted a Social Media Challenge for Academics but if you do a quick google search for social media challenge you will find plenty of challenges you can participate in. Social media challenges are a fun way to develop your online presence. You’ll have a daily prompt to inspire you to create a post for your feed. It’s a great way to expand your network by finding and interacting with others doing the challenge. To join in all you need to do is post an update that relates to the daily prompt.
If you are interested in doing an academic social media challenge sign up to my email list to get updates and find out when I’m hosting my next free challenge.
Delbridge, K. A. (2000). Individual Differences In Multi-Tasking Ability: Exploring A Nomological Network; Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan
Rubinstein, J. S., Meyer, D. E., Evans, J. E. (August 2001). Executive Control of Cognitive Processes in Task Switching. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 763-797.