Social media is defined as any online resource that provides a forum for generating, sharing, and discussing ideas and content. Specific applications and web tools are based on a range of purposes, such as social networking (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), professional networking (e.g. LinkedIn), and content production and sharing (e.g. YouTube, Tumblr). Social media has made it possible to easily and quickly advertise studies to large and heterogeneous pools of participants around the world for both online and face-to-face research studies.
Imagine this scenario: you are a researcher conducting a promising cognitive training to improve weight loss in young people. Unfortunately, you are struggling to locate a large number of eligible participants to take part in your study. Then you discover a Facebook group for young people who are struggling to lose weight. The group is open: you do not need to be invited or to want to lose weight to become a member — anyone can join. Here are the eligible participants you have been looking for! There is a growing body of literature supporting social media’s effectiveness in recruiting research participants from cancer research to studies on smoking cessation.
How to post your study on Facebook
- Create a page (anyone is able to join the page to get further information about a research project).
- Use a striking image (free of copyright - e.g. from Pixabay).
- Keep your tone casual, polite, and friendly.
- Keep the information in your message striking and minimal - provide a link to the study or an email address to communicate more detailed information.
- Ask your friends to share your recruitment posts via their own social media accounts.
- Refresh your message and image regularly (e.g. provide updates on your own page, bump your post on public community pages).
- Create a conversation around your recruitment and the value of your study without giving the game away.
- For general population recruitment, invest time in joining "Community", "Buy, Swap, Sell", and "Notice Board" groups in different States/Territories.
- For targeted sampling, seek special interest groups by State/Territory.