Get your message across on Social Media with these 3 points.

A few years ago, I attended a conference at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, that was focussed on how visual communications could be used to educate the general public about science. In its essence, it emphasized the importance of utilizing effective storytelling to engage on social media.

What impressed me about this conference, and why it influenced me greatly in my own career, was that it ended with a call to action for the attendees to start putting quality information on their own social media. Knowing that I wanted to start my own business when I got back to Australia, I left that conference motivated to start spreading my message about Nutrition across my socials.

We all have experience with not so great science being spread around on social media. Think of the posts about 5G causing the coronavirus outbreak, the board that you stand on that vibrates and allegedly causes your fat to melt away or one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen lately, a piece of rubber you chew to remove wrinkles. These may seem comical, but they are everywhere.

This may seem harmless but the problem with having this subpar diluted science everywhere, is that people start accepting it as the normal, and therefore the truth. People start believing it because it is posted everywhere on social media. For example, the anti-vaccine movement.

This is not a comment about the people who are a part of this movement, you can make your own mind up about that, more a point to illustrate how bad science can spread across social media, change people’s beliefs and have a real impact in society. More importantly, it highlights why we need more Professionals coming out from LinkedIn and ResearchGate to post on the more mainstream social media platforms.

When I got back to Australia and started my business, I wanted to be one of the good guys. I was determined to champion the notions put forth by the presenters in Toronto and contribute to putting high quality, trustworthy information to the world in an engaging fashion. However, I quickly learned, as many Professionals have, that it was easier said than done. Posting on social media was hard, really hard, and I absolutely sucked at it.

These are three points that have helped me move past this initial discomfort, create content and build credibility within my field of practice. If you are a professional wanting to start on Social Media but just don’t know how, wrap your head around these three points.

1) Speak about something you are both well-educated and passionate about.

Now this is important because there is an important point to make here. In order to fulfill this, you must fulfill both criteria; be well-educated and passionate. You can’t have one without the other.

If you are well educated but not passionate you will be about as appealing as a dirty tissue. If you are passionate but not educated your viewpoints will be fuelled far too subjectively and you will lose credibility through a lack of objectivity. If you are neither, then do not even talk about the topic.

When you get this combination right, no matter what you talk about, you become radiant, and you will draw people towards you. I was recently at the hardware store buying paint and had a 45-minute conversation with the worker there. I don’t know anything about paint, but he did, as a matter of fact, he friggin’ loved paint, and that kind of made me love paint too.

2) Use social media as a platform to inform, not to complain.

There is nothing that looks worse, especially from a professional or business perspective than someone who complains or shoots down other people on social media. What does look good, is someone who offers well-informed solutions to common problems that can benefit people.

Say for example you have a Ph.D. in filing cabinet organization and optimization. Instead of whinging about how the Susan’s of the world are incompetent at keeping their filing cabinets tidy, use that energy to write a well-balanced education piece about the benefits of keeping your file cabinet orderly and tidy.

The Susan’s may see it, they may not, who really cares, your focus should not be about proving the Susan’s wrong, it should be about raising the collective intellect about filing cabinets. The Susan’s are irrelevant to you doing that, so stop focussing on them and focus on you and your message.

3) Stop telling yourself that nobody cares about what you have to say.

This is just not true. No matter what it is that you are interested in, I would bet my bottom dollar that there are other people somewhere on this planet that are also interested in that. I would even go one step further in saying that those people would be interested in hearing what you have to say about it. In fact, they are probably looking for people just like you and you are doing them a disservice by not posting.

If you get active enough on your socials, you will be surprised by how you form communities with like-minded people. Many of my most valuable Professional connections have come to be because of a post of mine they saw on their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Some of these were people who I have admired for a long time, and often told myself that they would not care about what I had to say. Turns out I was wrong. Please keep in mind point Number 1) here.

If you are in the position I was in all those years ago and you are struggling to get started, just do it. It is uncomfortable, it is awkward, but social media needs the knowledge you have inside of your head. It needs that more than it needs another video of Charlie biting his sisters’ finger. Do us all the favour and get sharing.

Jordan Sullivan Dietitian

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