Tech Transfer University Reporter
Industry-Sponsored Research Management

Get a Bigger Bang for Your Social Media Efforts


By Debi Melillo
Published: April 28th, 2014

It’s safe to say that the majority of tech transfer offices have started using social media with at least one platform. But you may not be familiar with all the different platforms available and the utility that they provide — and it may be hard to decide how much time you should invest in your social media strategy as part of your traditional marketing mix.

In the end, social media, if a targeted effort is put into it, can be one of the best ways to get your technologies out to the audience that counts.

This was given some outstanding context and how-to focus in our recent webinar Marketing Your TTO’s Technologies Via Social Media 2014: New Platforms, Tracking Tools, and Trends. (For info on getting this session on DVD or on-demand video, CLICK HERE.)

But even digital marketing can get diluted, so choosing the appropriate platform and message is key. Take a look at the comical image (lower right) posted to Instagram by digital marketer, Doug Ray.  It really puts social media — and the messaging each platform provides — in its simplest terms.

social-media-explainedWhat message is this image conveying?

  • Pay attention to context. 
    Do you want to tell the world or a select audience about a new technology?
  • Start respecting the platform.
    You must understand the nuances that make each platform interesting and craft your message accordingly.
  • Think about timing.
    The time of day you post your social media accounts can have a huge impact, if/when they even get seen. 
  • Work closely with your communications office.
    They know how to communicate through certain media channels, and they can help you map out a marketing plan that coincides with the university’s mission and message. 
  • Investigate and try new platforms as they arise.
    There may not be a large impact, but it also could lead to an unforeseen success.  For example, at the University of New Mexico, after some research into crowdfunding, the TTO decided to lead the effort for their researchers instead of researchers individually attempting to create a crowdfunding campaign. This has helped inventors bridge the gap between when their government funding ends and their investment funding has yet to begin. They took three different research proposals that ranged from needing $10,000 to $25,000 and tried to seek donations through RocketHub.

    They were not successful in reaching their goals, and on the surface it seemed like a failure. But it really expanded their reach.  An investment firm saw the postings on the crowdfunding site and it led them to UNM STC’s website, which ended up in a very productive phone call in which they discussed their portfolio as a whole. Shortly after came a visit to the university, and ultimately an option license agreement was executed and a new start-up company was formed. 

So, start with some of the key platforms and then figure out what the key supporting platforms could be based on your strategy. For example, if you want to focus on LinkedIn and Twitter, as you’re out at technology seminars and meetings, post presentations on Instagram that you can then feed up to your Twitter account. Knowing the landscape beyond the key social media platforms is helpful and something that should be explored, along with presentation platforms that you can also use to support sort of your priority platform strategy. 

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Special thanks to Cara Michaliszyn, New Ventures Development Manager with STC.UNM, the commercialization arm for the University of New Mexico, and Stephen Nappi, Associate Vice Provost for Technology Development and Commercialization at Temple University. For more valuable insight into emerging social media platforms, you may purchase the webinar Marketing Your TTO’s Technologies Via Social Media 2014: New Platforms, Tracking Tools, and Trends on DVD, On-Demand Video and PDF Transcript. CLICK HERE for details and to order.

Upcoming webinars:

Visit www.TechTransferCentral.com for more unique, practical, and advanced strategies, case studies, best practices, and expert guidance on a broad range of challenges and opportunities for technology transfer offices and professionals.

Posted under: Tech Transfer University Reporter

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