Bonnie Zink

Knowledge mobilization, writing, and social media top the discussion list.

Bonnie Zink - Knowledge mobilization, writing, and social media top the discussion list.

Figuring the why before the how of social media for academic researchers

This is the first in a series of postings meant to help you figure out a social media strategy that works for you.

BZ_social_Social media works. It is a powerful communication tool that will help you reach your goals. The magic happens once you understand what those goals are and creating a plan that will get you there. Businesses want to connect with their clients and increase sales. Community organizations work to increase donations and amplify their message. Government representatives want to connect with voters and listen to their constituents. Individuals want to connect with like-minded people and find out what’s happening in the world.

The drivers of online activity are different for everyone. This series is meant to help researchers and academics figure out what their goals are, develop a strategy to help them reach those goals, and carry out an evaluation plan that will tell them what works and what doesn’t. What should researchers be doing online? Does being social in the digital space really help? How do you mobilize your knowledge effectively? What sort of connections should you be making? Where do you start?

Let’s start at the beginning

You have a Twitter account and Facebook page. Your blog is ready to go live. Now what? Before you press send on the tweet, post to your Facebook page, or set your thoughts free on your blog, we need to think through your social media goals. Why are you in the digital space? What do hope to achieve? How do you know if the platforms you use and the content you share are performing successfully?

Figuring out the answer to these questions is not any different than the process you use to develop a communications or knowledge mobilization plan. You all ready know how to develop the plan, but are you ready to put it into action?

Step One: Self Assessment
Let’s figure out what factors impact your social activity. The first question to ponder is: What resources are available to you?

  • How much time do you have to actively engage in social media? Creating social profiles without being active on the platform hurts you rather than helps you. If you are going to create a Twitter presence, your followers deserve your attention. If you are going to spend the time to develop a Facebook page, your fans deserve to have a conversation with you. If you are going to send your thoughts and perspective into the world through a blog, your readers deserve quality posts that are developed to be interactive. Be sure you have time to acknowledge excellence within your network, share your insights, get to know your followers, and engage in a meaningful way.
  • Which social media networks are you familiar with? Do you have a Facebook profile, hangout on Google Plus, tweet about your work, blog about your achievements, share photos of your team, engage in conversations on LinkedIn? Think about the social platforms you personally use and how they might work together with those that your institution uses. It is important to think about your audience. Who are they? Where do they hang out online? Once you figure this out, go to where they are active. Each social network is different and those differences deserve to be celebrated and engaged with.
  • What type of content do you have access to and what content do you need to produce? Social media is all about sharing and accessing valuable content. Visuals are popular on most social media platforms and shared more than text-based pieces. Photos, websites, news articles, publications, videos, and infographics are examples of sharable content. It is time to take stock of what you already have and what you need to create. Can you turn that research report into an infographic that is easily shared and understood by your audience? Does your website house reports and publications that are of interest to your community? Are there topics you wish to explore? Do you have content available to share or do you need to create it?
  • Who will monitor what is being said on social media and track the social activity of your content? Think about who will manage the implementation of your strategy and the tools they will use to do so. Will you rely on Twitter statistics alone? Will you manage conversations and activity through a third party software like Hootsuite? Even though many of the tools that you will use are free of charge or low cost, the time it takes to implement your strategy effectively is not. Be sure to clearly account for the time you and your team will spend listening to online conversations, developing and sharing content, and thinking about the strategy that lies behind your online activity.

Understanding what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it is key to a successful social media strategy. Figuring out what resources are available to you, the most appropriate platforms, and your capacity for social media activity will help you make decisions that will become central to overall strategy.

We will further explore developing your social and digital strategy in future posts. Until then, please leave your thoughts and ask questions in the comment area below.

  • What social media platforms do you use?
  • Are your digital activities successful?
  • What works for you and what doesn’t? Why?


Knowledge Mobilizer Professionalism & Training #KmbChat Transcript

First French English Bilingual Chat

#KMbChat LogoThe Équipe RENARD team (@EquipeRENARD) and the CLIPP (@Le_CLIPP)led a conversation about knowledge mobilization (KMb) professionalism and training on November 20, 2014 at noon (EST).



We explored:

  • Should knowledge mobilization (#KMb) be considered a professional in its own right?
  • Is there a need for a professional organization or certification for #KMb practitioners?
  • Who ought to be charged with the delivery of #KMb educational and training opportunities?

Find out more!

October 2014 #KMbChat PDF

#KMbChat LogoKnowledge mobilizers (KMb ers) from around the world joined #KMbChat on October 23, 2014 at noon EST for a conversation about knowledge mobilization (KMb) and knowledge translation and exchange (KTe) training & support needs. This discussion was moderated by and highlighted the work of the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, (@OPGRC).

This #KMbChat featured the OPGRC’s student workshop series “Moving Research Forward” and a discussion of how to best create training and support for #ProblemGamblingKTe.

Our first bilingual #KMbChat is on November 20, 2014 (noon EST)

Knowledge Mobilizer (#KMb er) Professionalism and Training

Equipe renard - logo final

Join the Équipe RENARD team (@EquipeRENARD) and the CLIPP (@Le_CLIPP) for a conversation about knowledge mobilization (KMb) professionalism and training on November 20, 2014 at noon (EST).

This is our very first bilingual #KMbChat! Discussion questions will be released in both English and French from @KMbChat. We will explore:

  • Should knowledge mobilization (#KMb) be considered a professional in its own right?
  • Is there a need for a professional organization or certification for #KMb practitioners?
  • Who ought to be charged with the delivery of #KMb educational and training opportunities?
  • And much more!

Équipe RENARD is the first Québec cross-disciplinary group devoted to studying knowledge transfer (#KTe) in the field of social interventions, specifically with regard to educational, health, and community services. The acronym RENARD stands for Recherche sur les Effets Non-Académiques de la Recherche et ses Déterminants, which means in English, research on the non-academic effects of research and its determining factors. Find out more…

LOGOThe mission of the CLIPP (focal point on psychosocial intervention and prevention, in french) is to make accessible the knowledge produced by the research and the practice milieus to increase its use in order to facilitate better decisions, best practices and the emergence of social innovations that can improve the quality of life of individuals and communities. Find out more…

#KMbChat LogoWe are holding #KMbChat one week earlier than usual and hope you will join this important conversation about what #KMb professionalism means to you and the type of training opportunities you need to help you become a professional knowledge mobilizer or improve your daily practice.

Professionalisation et formation en transfert de connaissances (#TC)

Equipe renard - logo finalRejoignez l’Équipe RENARD (@EquipeRENARD) et le CLIPP (@Le_CLIPP) pour une conversation sur le professionalisation et la formation en #TC, le 20 novembre 2014 à midi (heure de l’est).

Ce KMbChat sera le tout premier à être bilingue. Les questions seront posées en anglais et en français par @KMbChat. Nous explorerons les sujets suivants:

  • Le transfert de connaissances (#TC) doit-il être considéré comme une profession à part entière?
  • Une certification ou une organisation professionnelle sont-elles nécessaires pour les praticiens du #TC ?
  • Qui devrait être chargé de l’éducation et de la formation en #TC ?
  • Et bien plus encore!

L’Équipe RENARD est le premier regroupement transdisciplinaire québécois consacré à la recherche sur le transfert de connaissances (TC) dans le domaine des interventions sociales, notamment dans les secteurs éducatifs, socio-sanitaires et communautaires. L’acronyme RENARD signifie équipe de Recherche sur les Effets Non-Académiques de la Recherche et ses Déterminants. En savoir plus…

LOGOLa mission du CLIPP (Centre de Liaison sur l’Intervention et la Prévention Psychosociale) est de rendre accessibles les connaissances issues des milieux de la recherche et de la pratique, afin d’en accroître l’utilisation et de favoriser de meilleures décisions, de meilleures pratiques et l’émergence d’innovations sociales pouvant améliorer la qualité de vie des individus et des collectivités. En savoir plus…

#KMbChat LogoNous tiendrons le #KMbChat une semaine plus tôt que d’habitude ce mois-ci et nous espérons que vous vous joindrez à cette importante conversation sur la professionnalisation du #TC, ce que celle-ci signifie pour vous et quels sont les besoins en matière de formation ou d’éducation  pour vous aider à vous améliorer en tant que professionnel du #TC ou en former de nouveaux.

KM in the AM (Saskatoon) Event (November 25, 2014)

Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Conversation Café

KMintheAM_coffeecupWhen: November 25, 2014; 08:00 – 10:00

Location: Station 20 West, 1120 20 St W, Saskatoon, SK

Register by emailing your contact information to

Join us on November 25, 2014 for our networking event, “KM Conversation Café.” You are invited to join the conversation that matters to you!

Find out more!

October 23 #KMbChat – Moving research forward with @OPGRC

#KMbChat LogoJoin us on October 23, 2014 at noon EST for a conversation about knowledge mobilization (KMb) and knowledge translation and exchange (KTe) training & support needs. This discussion will highlight the work of the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre, (@OPGRC).


KMbChat landscape_v2This #KMbChat builds on the OPGRC’s student workshop series “Moving Research Forward” with a discussion of how to best create training and support for #ProblemGamblingKTe.

More about OPGRC

The Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (OPGRC) is an independent KTe organization with a vision of eliminating harm from gambling. OPGRC is dedicated to translating the best evidence from around the world to inform leading-edge responsible gambling policies, standards and practice. As a leader in problem gambling research and KTe, OPGRC builds capacity in both these areas in Ontario, Canada and internationally through collaborative partnerships.

Find out more about OPGRC and their work.

2014 Online KT Conference: Effective Media Outreach Strategies

Join me from 12:15 to 13:00 (Eastern Time) on October 29, 2014 as we peek behind the magic curtain and use concepts and methods you are already familiar with to demystify the strategies and tools of communicating in today’s increasingly digitized and noisy landscape.


Goals or Objectives: Getting to the heart of the matter

In the first post of this series, Figuring the Why Before the How, we figured out what resources you have, began thinking about what social tools are right for you, and reviewed the various assets you have at your disposal when implementing your social strategy. Now, let’s think about what you are trying to achieve and align those goals and objectives with those of your organization’s overall communication and knowledge mobilization strategies.
     Let’s get to the heart of the matter and think through our social media goals and objectives. This is your chance to get as detailed as you wish. These goals and objectives will inform later stages in the development of your social media strategy. They will help you figure out what tools you will use, identify your audience, create your content, and determine what metrics to monitor.
     You’ve set goals before. You’ve incorporated those goals into some sort of strategy before. You’ve developed plans to achieve your goals. And, you’ve even put that plan into action.  This is exactly what you need to do in the second step of developing your social media strategy. It is time to put your analytic skills to work and create some actionable objectives that link to your goals.
     First, let’s review a bit of terminology. Goals and objectives are two terms that are often confused when discussing strategy. They are two very different concepts:
  • Goals: 
    • broader than objectives
    • general intentions towards the attainment of something
    • define an achievement or accomplishment
    • not specific enough to be easily measured, intangible
  • Objectives:
    • specific targets that help to achieve the goal
    • clear, detailed, and measurable
    • short time frame
     In order to effectively hone your social media strategy, it is important to understand your overall goals and ensure that they work with your organization’s greater vision, mission, and goals. Then, think about the actions and tasks, or objectives, it takes to achieve those goals. Creating clear and detailed goals and objectives are key to measuring your success later on.
     You may want to mobilize community around an idea, issue, or event. You may want to create buzz or excitement about your research. These general, overall goals define an achievement or accomplishment and are much too broad to be measured effectively. This is where we unpack the goals and determine the specific tasks, or objectives, will help us achieve those goals.
     One of the most popular methods of goal and objective setting is the SMART method, first introduced by Peter Druker in his 1954 book The Practice of Management. Since then, the SMART method has been adapted to many situations – including social media. SMART stands for:

Consider how your objectives support or link to your goal. Let’s restate your objectives so that they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed –> SMART!

Goal: Increase awareness about [research topic]

Objective: Increase awareness by 10% in the next six months using a targeted social media campaign to complement our traditional media activities.

Let’s continue the conversation:

  1. What method of goal setting do you use in your daily practice?
  2. How have you transformed your objectives into an actionable and measurable plan to achieve your goals?
  3. How have you reconciled your goals and objectives with those of your organization or institution?

September 25, 2014 #KMbChat PDF

#KMbChat LogoMany of you joined the conversation about Content Curation on September 25, 2014 at noon EST on Twitter. We discussed how NewsanaPlus could help curate the content we need in an efficient, timely, and accurate way.

This #KMbChat featured the expertise of Ben Peterson (@benpetey), co-founder of NewsanaPlus (@mynewsana). He shared his knowledge and participants went away with a few new tools to add to their curation tool boxes.

Newsana+ Start your own newsmag copy


  • Did you miss out on the live chat? The PDF of the chat is ready for your review.
  • Are you looking for information about a past chat? Check out our #KMbChat Archives.
  • Do you have an idea for a future #KMbChat topic? Email me and we’ll make it happen.

Special Edition #KMbChat PDF

#KMbChat LogoThank you to everyone who joined us for our special #KMbChat on September 29, 2014. The discussion was lively and, once again, each of you helped make it a success.

Dr. Carol Campbell (@CarolCampbell4), Dr. Katina Pollock (@DrKatinaPollock), Dr. Patricia Briscoe (@KNAER_RECRAE), Shasta Carr-Harris (@ShastaCH), and Sofya Malik (@SofyaMalik) from the Knowledge Network for Applied Education Research-Réseau d’échange des connaissances pour la recherche appliquée en éducation) (KNAER-RECRAE) for a lively discussion about effective knowledge mobilization (KMb) practices that support the use of your research by practitioners and other stakeholders.

  • Did you miss out on the live chat? The PDF of the chat is ready for your review.
  • Are you looking for information about a past chat? Check out our #KMbChat Archives.
  • Do you have an idea for a future #KMbChat topic? Email me and we’ll make it happen.


UNselling: The New Customer Experience

Scott Stratten (@UNmarketing) and Alison Kramer (@UNAlison)
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 978-1-118-94301-4 (ebk)
This is not a rap. This is not an overly enthusiastic video opinion. This review does not contain any testimonial or phrase for which the authors paid “five bucks” (or any amount). No ethical conventions were broken during the reading of UNselling or the writing of this review. 

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get on with the review.

Stratten and Kramer have grown into their roles as the super heroes of the modern marketingUnselling_Book(UNmarketing) world. They continue their quest to rid the world of push style, traditional marketing methods of a bygone age. Their super power is a deep understanding of what drives humanity and the power of building community where people are talking to people. With words as their weapon, this dynamic duo sets out to share their knowledge and help you succeed in an increasingly noisy and digitized world.

Who should read UNselling?

You, that’s who. UNselling is a book for everyone. CEOs, marketers, writers, business people, employees, employers, and all other professionals will find UNselling a valuable read. It will help you change your thinking and understand the power of people talking to people. It will give you the tools you need to understand what really drives people to buy products and services and help you to stop selling and start talking.

Why read UNselling?

Are you tired of being sold to at every turn. Adverts make their way into our email in-boxes and they appear in our favourite social network streams. We are sold to in magazines, on television, and on radio. Adverts appear at the top of our favourite websites and they slide into view while we read our favourite blogs. They are everywhere.
If you are anything like 99% of your fellow humans, you are tired of all the selling. UNselling will help you understand that most people have all ready made their purchasing decisions before they ever hear a sales pitch. Instead of concentrating your efforts on moving clients through that old style sales funnel, UNselling will help you understand the power of reaching out to people in a meaningful way and begin to engage with them. It will help you overcome the symptoms of modern day marketing “funnel vision” and just…stop…selling!

What is UNselling?

UNselling is what happens when you understand that your market is made up of humans. Humans are social. They like to converse, share, and engage. Humans buy products and services. They no longer passively watch television commercials, listen to radio adverts, or flip past full page splashes in the local newspaper. Humans are social creatures and want to engage in quality conversations, share great stuff, and are awesome! With this in mind, UNselling is:
  • about “stepping back from the [marketing] funnel and focusing on everything else but the sale”
  • about “the big picture: creating repeat customers, not one-time buyers; creating loyal clients that refer others, not treating people like faceless numbers; becoming the go-to- company for a product or service, before people even know they need it”
  • about being AWESOME (check out the story about the Ritz-Carlton and Joshie in Chapter 2: Joshie is Branding)
  • is about “choosing to aspire, rather than be just another company or employee”
  • about “creating ecstatic customers” by creating experiences that are worth talking about
  • about using tools wisely and knowing when a phone call, rather than a tweet, is the next step in being AWESOME

Get your copy of UNselling:

Visit to order your copy of UNselling. Craving more? Follow the UNselling community on the web:
  • Facebook – join a conversation about UNselling, UNmarketing, QR codes (and the plight of kittens), along with both the AWESOME and UNawesome bits and bobs
  • Twitter – be sure to check into the hashtag, #UNselling and #UNmarketing to follow the conversation
  • YouTube – watch Scott and Alison discuss topics addressed in UNselling and other hot topics of the marketing industry

Let’s keep the conversation going!

What’s on your mind?
  • Are you a marketer struggling to get your message heard in an increasingly noisy and digital world? Tell me about your struggles in the comments below.
  • Do you have a favourite book or resource that addresses the challenges of an ever changing digital landscape? Leave a link in the comments below and I may review it in the future.
  • Do you have a success story that will blow our socks off? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
  • Do you disagree with the message of UNselling? Share your take on modern marketing tactics in the comments below.
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