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One of the easiest ways to recruit participants is social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on. Not only do we get to “ask” our followers if they can help us by taking part in our study, but they may also share the study with their own social networks, giving us much wider exposure than we can get directly.

 

Who to target

If our organization already has social-media accounts, these are the natural candidates to start with.

First, we must decide if a particular social network is appropriate for our study invitation. Mostly this is a matter of deciding if our intended audience is likely to follow us on that network. For example, if we’re trying to recruit customers for the study, we may want to post on the organization’s Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, but not on the Yammer account that we use for internal company announcements.

If our organization has more than one account on a given social network, the same logic applies; we pick the accounts that target our intended audiences.

To reach more people, we may also want to use the personal social-media accounts of the project team (if they are willing, and if we think they can reach the intended audience). A request to help out with a study often gets a good response when it comes from someone the recipient knows personally.

 

What to say

Posting on social media is like writing for a roadside billboard – it’s best to keep it short and punchy. This also helps our pitch fit the constraints of a medium like Twitter.

If we have already created a web ad and/or an email invitation, we can usually edit these down for our social-media pitch.

For example, if we already created this email invitation:

 

Subject:

5-minute survey for Ministry of Silly Walks - win a $200 gift card

 

Body:

Got 5 minutes? Want to win a $200 gift card?

 

Help us design the new Silly Walks website by doing this quick online “scavenger hunt”:

https://www.mosw.edu/study1234

 

What’s this about?

We’re redesigning the Ministry of Silly Walks' website to make things easier to find. We’re testing our site headings with real users, so make sure they work well.


etc.   

 

…then we could write our Facebook post like this:

Got 5 minutes? Want to win a $200 gift card?

Help us design the new Silly Walks website by doing this quick online “scavenger hunt”:

https://www.mosw.edu/study1234

 

…and our Twitter post like this:

5-minute survey for the new Ministry of Silly Walks site - win a $200 gift card!  bit.ly/1gk4321

 

Note that, in the Twitter post, we may need to replace our normal URL with a shortened version (using a service such as Bitly or TinyURL) to keep within the Twitter character limit.

 


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