Scientists are facing a daunting challenge: gaining public trust. It is important now, more than ever, for scientists to effectively communicate their science to the public. Increasingly, communication is happening on digital platforms and social media. How can a scientist gain public trust and communicate their work on social media? You can use your online presence and social media to gain trust and effectively communicate by creating a personal brand.
A personal brand is associating yourself with a certain field or subject, ideally the industry you want to work in. For example, if you are passionate about cellular molecular biology, part of your personal brand might include that. Your personal brand can also help create a cohesive presence online across professional social media platforms and other websites to more effectively present your image and communicate your science to the general public.
The first step to building a personal brand is to curate your online presence. Check out what the internet says about you. Google yourself! It’s the best way to see what others might see when they search your name on the web. If you have a common name, try adding the town you live in or the school you go to. Ideal search results to appear when people search your name would be professional social media accounts, articles from accomplishments, or a personal website.
It is best to have one or two professional social media accounts, such as LinkedIn or even Twitter, that are industry focused and clean. The public is less likely to dig further into your social media if they find one or two strong professional social media presences. If there is anything on your personal social media, like Facebook or Instagram for example, that you wouldn’t want a stranger to see, then make those accounts private. Examples of things that would be inappropriate are anything overly political, crude, or controversial that could reduce trust.
When writing about your science or sharing your science it’s important to write clearly and understandably. This article is a good start to improve the clarity in your writing.
As you build your online presence and start to get serious about communicating your science, build a personal website. A personal website only needs a few pages such as your resume, contact information, a short biography with information about your interests, and links to professional social media accounts. You can easily hand out your personal website URL when you are networking. There are plenty of tools you can use to build free personal websites such as Wix.com or WordPress. These platforms are also helpful for creating a blog to communicate your work. Your website could also include research projects you are working on or a professional portfolio if you have created content or writing in the past.
So, get other there, Google yourself, and start creating a personal brand!