Social Media Challenge for PhDs (within and outside of academia)

Social Media is a powerful tool for building community and showcasing yourself. But I know it can be overwhelming to think about what you will post. It is easy to become paralysed and not post due to your doubts. That’s where this social media challenge comes in! 

In a social media rut?

Join other academics, PhDs with side hustles, and alt-careers in this social media challenge.

Grow your following, connect with like-minded people, find inspiration, and push yourself creatively.


If you find yourself struggling to post consistently to social media to develop your personal brand and grow your network then this challenge can offer inspiration and take the effort out of trying to think about what to post everyday.

Every day for the month you will have a hashtag prompt to inspire you to get creative and post daily. Posting more (e.g. once a day) will improve your engagement and increase your rate of follower growth. Research by Tailwind indicates that by posting to Instagram daily you’ll grow followers 4x faster than posting less than once a week.

Use the daily prompt to get creative and inspire your daily post. The next social media challenge will start on the first of May.

Sign up now to get the prompts and start growing your authority and community.

Join the MAY 2020 social media challenge

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What is a social media challenge?

A fun way to develop your social media 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 a picture or image on your Instagram feed or write a Tweet that relates to the daily prompt and include the hashtag/s in your caption.

To get the most value out of the challenge use the hashtag to interact with others in the challenge. Follow, like, and comment to expand your network.

Why a whole month?

Completing something for a month builds it into a habit. Gaining a following and building a community on social media needs consistency and time. Build your network by interacting with others during this challenge.

Who is this challenge for?

Anyone associated with the academy who wants to build their online presence.

PhD students/candidates, tenure-track, non-academic careers, adjuncts, deans, department chairs, and lecturers.

I don’t use social media on weekends. Can I still participate?

Absolutely! I believe it is important to set boundaries for our social media usage and enjoy time in the real world distraction-free. 

You can either skip the weekend prompts or post them on Friday afternoon/Monday morning. Missing a few days here and there won’t be an issue for to your participation in the overall challenge. 

It is already mid-month can I still join?

Absolutely! Sign up and start today. While the full benefit comes from doing the whole challenge you can still gain most of the benefits no matter how late you start.

“Nowadays social media is the best and easiest way to grow a personal identity, to establish a reputation and become visible in a specific industry or niche.”

PETRUCĂ (2016)International Journal of Communication Research

What others say about participating in past The Leveraged PhD social media challenges

  • These challenges are really good opportunities to see other academics in a variety of fields. It’s comforting to know we are all going through the same things, regardless of discipline. Plus, I made some close contacts in my own field thanks to this challenge! It’s really nice to be a part of something and part of a supportive network of peers. – Gabby Dailey (one_scrappy_scientist)
  • #TheLeveragedPhD challenge was amazing! I’ve seen increased likes and comments on my posts. The engagement is going on even after the challenge ended. I also met a lot of really cool people. Can’t wait to do it again! – Gaius Augustus
  • This was a fantastic challenge, during which I met so many new people and formed really meaningful connections. I loved seeing how everyone took their spin with the prompts, and the fact that everyone was doing the same prompt on the same day added to the feeling of community, of doing something individually yet together. It was great fun and I’ll be in for the next challenge! – Sigrid
  • I didn’t do much but still got great engagement and fun and contacted other PhDs. I would love to repeat the challenge!
  • I want to thank you for setting up the Instagram challenge. I have found it useful for connecting with other academic types on Instagram and for clarifying my own social media strategy. I can’t see me ever gathering a big following on Instagram as I don’t think stories and IGTV are for me. But as a result of your challenge I have resolved to try to post every weekday, as I can see that posting more consistently is helpful for gaining followers. I’m going to focus most of my efforts on Twitter where I have almost 5,000 followers. I’ve been thinking for a while about starting a monthly Twitter chat on creative research methods and I took the plunge this month, prompted by your work on Instagram. I’m glad to say it went really well. – Helen Kara

What others say they got out of doing past The Leveraged PhD social media challenges

  • I enjoyed discovering other researchers.
  • More connections and insights that I do have a voice that matters.
  • I made some great connections with fellow researchers.
  • I loved reading everyone’s posts.
  • New connections with academics across the globe that I still interact with daily.
  • Learned more about colleagues around the world, almost all in fields different from mine.
  • Made some good useful connections
  • Consistent posting on my account
  • Increased engagement (comments, likes) and followers
  • So many new and interesting connections that really add to my life! New insights, new points to consider, sharing book titles and discussing topics….and even learned new things on a daily basis!
  • Insights on IG, subscribers, motivation
  • To know academic people that were trying to use IG more. I also learn about other’s people interest a lot
  • Motivation to post more often, new connections
  • I figured out that I need to put more time into Twitter, where my main audience is – but also to be more regular about posting on Insta and to plan my posts. I’ve been doing that (at least to some extent) and it’s all working better. So this challenge helped me with my overall social media strategy.

Why am I hosting this social media challenge and why is it free?

I originally started to develop this challenge as a free bonus for my students when they finished my foundation course The Leveraged PhD: Establish Your Personal Brand. I realised that many of my tribe are unable to afford the money to invest in my paid courses but still want to use the power of social media to leverage their PhD. As part of my Insiders tribe, I will send you information on my paid offerings and I hope that you will see the value in deliberately defining and building your personal brand and invest in your future by purchasing the course. If not, that is no worries! I will never hard sell or pressure you. This challenge and other resources will continue to be free for you and if you no longer want to receive emails from me then you can unsubscribe anytime.

Join the MAY 2020 social media challenge

By entering your email address and clicking ‘sign me up’ you agree to receive our marketing offers in accordance with our Privacy Policy