How can I use social media for public involvement and engagement?
Social media can be used in various ways to conduct patient and public involvement and engagement.
Social media can be a great way to gain input on your study, raise awareness of your recruitment or disseminate your research outcomes. The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement published a guide on engaging the public through social media. This includes further information on various social media tools to identify which one might work best for you. There is also a guidance on using social media to involve people in research produced by NIHR INVOLVE.
To involve specific communities in your research, you can post questions on disease or community relevant public forums or social media groups and using the responses to get initial feedback from the community your research will affect. Twitter chats can be used in a similar way, to foster discussion in an online community about a specific topic. Responses and messages with a specific hashtag can be collected and used to form a research question or part of your study design.
Try to identify key social media accounts in the field you would like to engage with. Ensure you build a relationship and connections with the online community before you ask on input to your study to increase the interaction you will have.
Your department or group might already have social media accounts. Discuss with those managing the accounts if you could use them for your work or if they can support you in raising awareness of your social media work.
There have been articles and blogs posted where researchers describe their experience using social media for involvement and engagement: