Why is Twitter relevant to EU research projects? What are the best Twitter strategies for communication & dissemination activities for an Horizon Europe project ? If you’re running such project and want to gain visibility on Twitter, this guide is the perfect place to start. 

Twitter is the place where debates around key societal trends occur. A successful Twitter strategy can increase brand awareness and put you in the conversations that matter. When done right, it can add tremendous value to your Horizon Europe project. So, let’s look at some of the main reasons why your Horizon Europe project needs a tailored Twitter strategy:

Real-world conversations with metrics

Your audience is waiting for you on Twitter. Or is it? Whether you put yourself out there or not, valuable conversations will take place . Twitter is more than a ticked box in the list of mandatory dissemination activities for Horizon Europe projects. Your expertise is bringing concrete solutions to the table, so not including yourself in these conversations would be a mistake. Twitter can quickly widen your audiences and get you customers or contacts able to help take your research further. But that’s only if you avoid the common trap many community managers fall into: putting numbers before value. Success is first and foremost about considering engagement rather than followers, and inserting yourselves into conversations rather than posting on your account and hoping for the best.

Twitter is practically a replication of the real world, with audience groups that are organized based on common views and interests. We all interact in priority with people having similar interests and views, just like we would in the real world. Reaching the right audiences starts with the identification of relevant groups, finding out what they care about and identifying influences or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) who may help increase engagement.

From tracking groups to integrating them

Around seven-in-ten Twitter users (69%) say they use it to get news of interest. Chances are, the customers or partners you’ll be looking for after your Horizon Europe project is completed do too. You are amongst the true innovators in your field of study, but in the end your research needs exposure to become truly groundbreaking. This calls for three things: understanding of your audience groups (what they care about), identifying key messages that can raise their interest, and defining a strategy to get to them. This all starts with an ecosystem mapping that will identify relevant communities, conversations and influencers or, if you already have a Twitter account, with a Twitter account audit.

Generic ecosystem mapping example

The ecosystem mapping is like the GPS you’re using to get from point A to point B. Without it, all that’s left is your best guess as to which direction you should take. Instead of gut feeling, the mapping is performed by dedicated AI and will provide you with all the information you need to develop your strategy.

Twitter strategy: a few guidelines for Horizon Europe projects

Once you’ve commissioned an agency to conduct your ecosystem mapping, you’ll end up with a list of relevant communities, tension points, common views and influencers who generate most of the conversations relevant to your Horizon Europe research. The strategy built from thereon will depend on the nature of your research and innovation, but there are some common threads:

  • Create a Twitter calendar. Doing so will not only save you a lot of time, it will also help you keep up with your objectives and send your messages when they are likely to have the most impact. The calendar should cover predictable trends but also leave room for spontaneous campaigns if an opportunity arises.
  • Follow trends closely: The pandemic has shown us how complex research can suddenly make the headlines. Nobody knew what an mRNA vaccine was in 2019, now we all do and the potential of this approach is still very much untapped.
  • Share interesting & valuable content. It is important to make sure that the content you share is not only highly valuable and interesting, but also inspiring. Quality is better than quantity (Twitter is already flooded with new content). 
  • Find out what influencers care about: Influencers are busy people with a lot of traction on Twitter. To turn them into multipliers, you’ll need to come up with the right information and the perfect way and timing to convey it.
  • Know the best times to post. Trends aside, you’ll need to mind the time when you post: Where is your target audience located? What time is it for them? Awareness is key because people take to different social media platforms at different times. 
  • Stick to a defined brand identity: Creating branded twitter image templates based on your visual guidelines, establishing a one of voice and defining key messages will help you create tweets that generate long-term engagement. Playing with the complementarity between text and visuals, for instance, is crucial. If your content has a specific look and feel, your audience will make a mental note of that and easily identify you from the crowd of posts.

There are some guidelines you can use to help manage Twitter for Horizon Europe projects, such as finding and following the organisations you define as targets. The unspoken rule of Twitter is to follow people who follow you, but it’s not always that simple as it may make your trend tracking efforts more complicated. The ecosystem mapping can help you make the right call. Another rule is a direct consequence of the short life cycle of tweet: you must tweet, retweet and engage in conversations at least 3 times a day. Tweets with images also get 89% more likes than tweets without images, and videos are retweeted six times more often. Therefore, adding pictures or videos to your posts will increase your chances of reaching more people.

This post will be updated regularly to keep up with relevant trends. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us if you need ecosystem mapping, strategy or visual branding services.