This week I ran skills development workshops for the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment staff based in Darwin and Jabiru.

We looked at what makes good social media content and examples from the environment and science industry of well executed social accounts and also looked at ways to make good content (photo/video) with resources you have on site (Kakadu National Park) and in the lab.

Here’s a few of my takeaway notes for those wanting to know how to use social media to build communities and educate people in science or ‘dryer’ subject areas:

  1. The core motivations for social media users the engage in science accounts is curiosity. This value is driven by entertainment seeking and a motivation to find unique information of interest not found elsewhere.
  2. So play on that! You should be creating content that both interests and excites YOU and caters to the needs and interests of your target audiences. Show them what you do, give them behind the scenes glimpse at the science and the purpose of your work and teach them something to insight that curiosity.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be human: users often follow particular social media accounts for science information and news because they want the perspective and personal insights of the author of those accounts. Personality helps build trust too!
  4. Localise it! Find the ‘so what’ for your target audience – why would they care, how does it impact them and what’s the local picture and impact of your work, discoveries and ideas.
  5. Show humans and local people involved in the work – this makes it easier to empathise with the sometimes challenging and high level content you’re sharing.
  6. You’ve also got to keep up with aesthetic and trends – just cos you’re subject matter is dry doesn’t mean your posts have to be – find ways to create thumb stopping content with colour, movement and personality – scientists can definitely be creative people.

Hope this helps and as always reach out if you require any help or training for your teams.

Amy Hetherington

Amy has a jack-of-all-trades tool kit of communications skills and heaps of energy. She offers services including content creation, videography, photography, publicity, community engagement, social media and MCing and comedy to help Northern Territory people connect with events, organisations, causes and celebrations. Amy is passionate about creating content and sharing stories in a fun, enjoyable and amiable style. She’s heavily involved in the NT community and would love to add some fun and engagement to your next project.