How do our social media outlets fit into our plan to shape the community of synthetic biology? It is a goal of Waterloo iGEM and the iGEM organization as a whole to promote an open community. We aim to make our work available to a diversity of individuals in our community: both those who are well-acquainted with the field of synthetic biology and the inquiring amateur.
Our plan to increase access includes maintaining a two way communication between our team and our community and to present ourselves as a diverse, relatable group of students. Waterloo iGEM hopes to foster curiosity and dispel confusion and concern by making synthetic biology approachable and relevant through social media.
To represent our team and accomplish the outcomes we strived for, our content needed to be diverse in subject matter, use a variety of media platforms, and feature the diversity of our team to the best of our ability. Using Facebook, Twitter, and our blog, we posted anything from reflective exposés, to photo albums, to relevant news articles, to artwork.
It was our hope that this diversity extended our reach and captured the interest of many - more than what could be accomplished with a more uniform approach.
Social Media Summary (average rates calculated from November 1st 2015 - October 16th, 2016, lifetime statistics as of October 16th, 2016)
- 691 Likes
- 127% Page Like Growth
- Average Post Reach: 865 views
- Average Post Engagement 148 Clicks & Reactions
- 941 Followers
- Average Impressions per Month: 1294
- Average Profile Visits per Month: 290
- Followers Include: iGEM Teams, Students, Professors, Entrepreneurs, Academic Societies, Biotechnology Companies, and Interested Individuals
- 332 Views in First Two Weeks Since Relaunch
Analysis of our social media reach highlights our strengths while also demonstrating some areas where we can most improve upon.
An example of what we considered to be quite successful was our use of social media during recruitment for this year’s team. In combination with making announcements in lectures on campus and posting on our university’s learning management system, our advertisements on Twitter, Facebook, and our website reached a great array of students. Our Facebook post about recruitment was viewed over 3100 times.
We believe our social media postings significantly contributed to the 200+ personal applications we received during recruitment. Because we were able to reach many students, our team is represented by students from the faculties of Science, Engineering, Math, and Applied Health Sciences, from first year to fourth year. With such a diversity, everyone contributes uniquely to our project and the Waterloo iGEM team.
Comparing our followings of Twitter and Facebook we see a difference in who interacts with us. Most notably, 79% of our likes on Facebook are from Canadians, whereas only 31% of our Twitter followers are Canadian. As well, our followers on Twitter are more diverse with a greater percentage of our audience being professors, professionals, academic societies, and biotechnology companies, compared to Facebook, which is almost exclusively students and interested individuals. Using only one platform would hinder us from engaging with certain demographics.
We recognize that we are still not effectively reaching certain audiences. We are particularly interested in building communication with those over the age of 35, as this group is currently underrepresented within those who engage with us through social media. In the future we hope to target our postings to get greater participation from this group. However, we also recognize that those over the age of 35 may be less motivated to use these types of social media. Going forward we hope to explore more media platforms to increase engagement from all demographics.
Finally, we hope to increase the efficacy of our communication of more complex and thought-provoking ideas. There is a much larger time commitment in reading, internalizing, and responding to longer, more complex ideas. In the future, we want explore other ways to present concepts, perhaps using platforms such as videos or infographics, where information is depicted in a much more visual way.