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Making Your Peer-Reviewed Article Social Media Worthy

Publishing your peer-reviewed article is a necessary part of growing your professional reputation with your medical peers.

You can also use this work to enhance your standing and credibility with your prospective patient pool.

I think we all know that your prospective patients aren’t going to read the minutiae of a medical study. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use the fact that you published one go by unnoticed by laypeople.

The typical internet user spends 109 minutes on social media every day. There’s no reason in the world why your medical journal article can’t get some of that social media time.

Promoting your scholarly article on social media can be done successfully. Here’s a plan to make your peer-reviewed article social media worthy:

  1. Decide If You Want a Lay Summary
  2. Drop the Media Lingo
  3. Use a Story or Analogy to Frame the Problem
  4. Use the Caveats to Create Interest
  5. Visuals Get Shares
  6. Promote Other People’s Promotion of Your Article

1. Decide if You Want a Lay Summary

Your first decision is whether you want to direct readers to a summary of your findings suitable for lay people, or just make your medical journal article known.

Here’s a dirty, little not-so-secret of social media: People share a lot more than they actually read.

So crafting some quality social media content about your journal article, with a link back to it, can garner you attention. Even if none of the lay people actually read the abstract.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t write a summary of your article that nonmedical personnel would understand.

I’m just saying you don’t have to. If you decide to do so, that’s great.

Publish it on your blog and other long form social media platforms like Medium or LinkedIn. Then direct your promotional social media content to it.

2. Drop the Medical Lingo

You know that lay people aren’t going to understand the heavy, medical lingo.

People’s eyes will pass right by words they can’t recognize. In social media, that means your Tweet or Facebook post just got ignored for any one of the other posts that did have words or images that caught their eye.

Let’s work with a real word example. I did a little online research and found this article: Percutaneous Bunionette Correction: A Cadaveric Study.

I’m not going to lie to you. In a six word title, I had to look up half of them before I had a clue what this was about. I was pretty sure “cadaveric” meant the study was conducted on dead bodies, but I still had to look it up to confirm.

No one is going to take that time with social media content. They’ll just ignore it.

When considering how to translate your article back to plain English, determine what action or feeling do you want readers to came away with.

So let’s say you want people to know that there’s a safe procedure for correcting bunions. Your social media headline could be: “Minimally-invasive surgery to correct bunions found to be safe.”

3. Use a Story or Analogy to Frame the Problem

To make the substance of the study interesting, share the backstory on why you conducted this research in the first place.

  • What problem were you addressing?
  • What motivated you to explore this issue more deeply.

Your lay summary should include backstory on the purpose of your article.

Personalize the issue:

  • What is a person’s day like with extreme bunions?
  • What have you seen in your practice that inspired your research?

Find a compelling analogy that drives home how advanced minimally-invasive surgery really is, and then you’ll have social media content to share with the typical person.

4. Use the Caveats to Create Interest

Address limitations of the study in a transparent and thoughtful way such as, “The cadaveric study on bunions found absolutely no observable nerve damage due to the surgery.”

That’s awesome. Share that.

But you can also include in the same post that, for example, “further study is recommended to examine whether this type of surgery results in microscopic nerve damage.”

5. Visuals Get Shares

Using a relevant image in your social media content inspires more sharing. The key here is that the visuals are relevant. A bland stock photo of test tubes isn’t going to cut it.

So our authors of the bunion study could include some before-and-after x-rays. Or perhaps some data graphs on the prevalence of bunions in different population segments.

If you want to play up the credibility aspect, you might use the journal’s logo. We might not read JAMA, but we’ve heard of it.

6. Promote Other People’s Promotion of Your Article

If summaries or abstracts of your article have been published by other people online, definitely promote their articles.

If other people have mentioned your article in their social media streams, respond and repurpose their content into your own social media stream.

You spent a lot of time researching and writing that article. Your hard work was rewarded with a peer-reviewed publication.

In a world where “content marketing is the only marketing left,” take advantage of all your great content.

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", and the host of The Practice Marketing Podcast that details how successful practices are winning online.

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