Friday 22 July 2022

Effective Social Media for Scholarly Publishers

Social media is no longer a shiny new tool; if executed well, it can be a powerful channel within an integrated marketing strategy that supports an organisation in meeting its objectives.

Earlier this month, I delivered social media training on behalf of ALPSP in their Effective Social Media for Scholarly Publishers course. After 6 hours of online training, my head is still happily swimming with all things Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, strategy, and metrics. There were also fantastic discussions on crisis management in scholarly publishing, smart goals, and critiquing! 

If you couldn’t attend the course, I’ve got you covered! Here are key takeaways that will help to shine a spotlight on your current social efforts and, if needed, some tips to shake up your strategy: 


According to a 2022 HubSpot survey, the biggest social media challenge that brands are facing is determining which platforms to place focus on. 

Tip: If you are at the beginning of your social journey, as a starting point research where your audience is. For example, check out relevant # engagement, undertake a competitor analysis and see what level of traction their posts are getting, and look at reach capabilities using paid social.

Paid social: Securing organic reach is increasingly challenging, especially on Facebook. Paid social is relatively inexpensive and allows you to apply an experimental approach to see which platforms best meet your objectives.

Tip: Paid social best supports the top of the marketing funnel (awareness) but retargeting via paid social can be a great support in the consideration and conversion part of the journey.  

Community: Think of your social media followers as your community and not your audience. Audience implies a hierarchy and a one-way conversation.

Tip: Be a good member of your community; understand your role in the community, and to do that successfully…you need to listen!

Strategy: Without a sound social strategy in place, you will face all sorts of avoidable hurdles, for example: securing buy in from budget holders; spreading yourself too thinly, which can result in burnout and lost productivity; not having focus; and the inability to measure success.

Tip: Set SMART goals; these should fall out of your broader company and marketing objectives and should not sit in their own bubble! Don’t fall into the trap of starting with tactics; start at the top and understand the business mission and objectives so the social goals underpin company goals.

Trends to watch out for in 2022:

Tik Tok: Excluding messaging platforms, Tik Tok is now the 4th most popular social channel after Instagram. However, most businesses are reluctant to invest, with only 38% planning to increase investment in 2022 …is your organisation the rising star of scholarly comms on TikTok, and ready to take centre stage?!

Short form videos are now more accessible to brands thanks to the lower production costs, and the authenticity and lower production nature of video/stories/reels is part of the appeal to users. It’s listed as the most engaging social content type, so if you’ve not yet integrated short-form videos into your social strategy, what are you waiting for? 


Including social metrics to measure ROI not only holds you accountable but also showcases the impact and bottom-line results your social strategy generates. A Sprout social report highlights how only on 15% of marketers are using social data to measure ROI, and just 10% use the data to inform business decisions.

Tip: Watch out for vanity metrics! Think about’s meaningless having a huge follower base if they are not your target community. Make sure you choose meaningful metrics to track and if something isn’t working…stop doing it! Where possible, go beyond native metrics on the individual platforms and link it up with Google Analytics; this can really help to link social activity to hard metrics that matter most to the organisation–such as usage, submissions, and sales.

Oh, and one last point on metrics…you can’t measure success without a strong strategy in place (see above point on strategy)!


There is a vast selection of tools to support you on your social media journey, ranging from scheduling, to listening, and analytics. Your choices will likely come down to the scale of your social presence, and as is so often the case, budget.

Tip: If undecided between platforms, sign up for free trials and compare tools to see which fits your needs. Don’t underestimate the power of the good old fashioned manual method, that can be customised to meet your requirements.

Booking for next year’s ALPSP course, Effective Social Media for Scholarly Publishers, will open later this year.  Contact Melissa Marshall for further information about this or other training courses.

About the author

Kelly Henwood, Senior Manager, TBI Communications

Kelly’s experience includes developing brand strategies, brand assets, and improving brand experience and engagement across multiple channels including digital, TV, film, and licensing.  At Oxford University Press Kelly led the Humanities, Social Science and Law Journals Product Marketing team driving results with diverse marketing strategies. She has also managed partner relationships and the marketing program for several leading society journals.  In previous experience, Kelly managed international brand and licensing programs for both the commercial arm of the University of Oxford and a TV production company.

Kelly is CIM qualified with a Postgraduate Diploma.

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