Social media in 10 minutes a day

Social media in 10 minutes a day

Yes, it is possible to do social media with just 10 minutes a day! Kerry Harding, the Assistant Managing Editor to Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care, shares with us how!

We are the Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care (PaPaS) CRG and we produce Cochrane Reviews of acute and chronic pain, headache and migraine, and palliative and supportive care. We use social media to help disseminate both our own and Cochrane’s work. We have 4700+ followers on Twitter and we are growing our following on our new Facebook page. We use Hootsuite, a social media management tool, which allows users to post to different platforms from one place, and to schedule posts in the future. We find it an invaluable tool for our social media activity.

We are a busy CRG managing a portfolio of over 300 reviews but we increasingly recognise the importance of dissemination (a key aspect of Knowledge Translation) in helping our work to reach a wider audience. We’d like to share with you what our week in social media looks like.

Days 1 and 2: Scheduling Posts

We schedule tweets and Facebook posts for any newly published reviews or updates using Hootsuite. We will schedule several posts per publication. Posts will be directed at different audiences, e.g. clinicians, patients, and will be scheduled to be sent out at various times, being mindful of different time zones. We will include key information about outcomes and quality of the evidence, keeping in mind the intended audience and that a tweet is only 280 characters long. We will also always include a link to the published review, and if there are enough characters left, we will also try to include our own hashtag #painevidence. The scheduling nature of Hootsuite means that once you have composed a tweet, you can copy and paste it to schedule posts in the future. You can find training resources on presecudling social media posts here.

The example below shows tweets for a new review and an update.

One of our goals for 2019 is to ensure that every PaPaS review has its own dissemination plan. We work with the author team to identify the review’s key messages and the best ways to reach the target audience. Having these conversations early in the process gives us plenty of time to plan our dissemination activities. For our high impact, high priority reviews in particular, having more time allows us to work closely with the Knowledge Translation team who can help us to maximise our ‘packaging and push’.

We browse our Twitter feed on a daily basis for any relevant news stories which we think our followers may find interesting and we will retweet and like these tweets. Each group will have their own specific interests but @CochraneUK, @cochranecollab and @CochraneLibrary are all good places to start. You can also look for relevant charities, key people (influencers) in the topic area, government bodies and support groups. We also find it is effective to tag the Twitter handle of individual people or groups to direct them to a specific review or any other relevant information.

Day 3: Use the Comms Digest

When the Cochrane Communications Network Digest lands in our inbox we will read through the information and see what we think will be of interest to our Twitter and Facebook Community and schedule some tweets using the helpful templates provided.  This might include information about a survey, webinar, meeting or other such Cochrane event. You can learn more about the Digest here and sign up to receive the weekly email.

Day 4: Contribute to Awareness Days

We think it is important to contribute to relevant health awareness days, e.g. Dying Matters Awareness Week, National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day and World Cancer Day. We keep a list of such awareness days and schedule some tweets accordingly highlighting relevant reviews. It’s a good idea to find out what the hashtag will be and on the day (or week) keep an eye out for interesting tweets to retweet and like. These events are a great opportunity to share our blogshots, which are an effective way of giving a quick summary of a review in an image (see Cochrane UK’s blog about blogshots).  We are building our collection of blogshots across all of our topics so that we can respond quickly to relevant events.

The example below shows a tweet where we shared one of our blogshots to help highlight Dying Matters Awareness week.

Day 5: Measure Impact

We’ll check to see if we’ve received any notifications that our reviews have been shared or summarised by another group, for example published as podcasts, highlighted on the front page of the Cochrane Library, translated into other languages, used in a blogshot, or included in Cochrane Clinical Answers or Cochrane Corners. These will then be tweeted and posted on Facebook to increase their potential reach.

It is really important for us to measure the impact of our reviews. When we see our reviews being shared by other groups we always try to capture the story, and so we will save the link or take a screenshot to save on file. Our funders, the NIHR, ask us to provide these impact stories in our annual report, and we also provide a collection of these on our website.


What works for you? Do you have any tips to share which have helped your group? You can email Karen Head at who will compile these and make available in future posts.

Want to know more about using social media more effectively?  There is lots guidance for using social media effectively, which is available on the KT learning resources website.


26 June 2019

The Cochrane Official Blog is curated and maintained by the Development Directorate. To submit items for publication to the blog or to add comments to a blog, please email

The Cochrane Blog presents commentary and personal opinion on topics of interest from a range of contributors to the work of Cochrane. Opinions posted on the Cochrane Blog are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Cochrane.