How to Use Social Media as a Research Tool for Your Writing

content writer research tips

Social media can reward writers in many ways, and all writers should have social media pages that they regularly update.

One aspect of social media that isn’t always apparent, however, is the fact that social media can help you find exactly the information you need for an assignment.

Save time and find unique content when you use social media as a research tool before you start writing your next article.

Utilize Handy #Hashtags

Hashtags were created for the purpose of helping people find things related to a specific topic quickly and easily.

They’re an essential tool to start your research on social media. Hashtags are used on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by individuals for a variety of reasons. They’re used by businesses to connect with customers.

If you are seeking breaking news, personal opinions, or information about what’s trending on a topic, simply enter the hashtag into the search portal of the social media website, and you should be able to instantly receive results on your exact topic of choice.

Ask (and Promote) Open Questions

If you have an author or writer “fan” page on Facebook, you may choose to ask an open question for more informal research.

content writer research tips

For example, if you’ve been given an assignment that simply asks you to solicit opinions on a photo or a hot topic, create a post that showcases the topic at hand and asks an engaging question. Pay to promote the post to your intended target audience, and you should receive valuable feedback.

You could also do the same thing with a promoted Tweet, or a meme photo of the question on Instagram. As Entrepreneur reported, using social media to gather opinions is a rather inexpensive way to gather valuable research and development data.

Gather Information About a Subject

It’s so common for human resources professionals to look up applicants on social media that Time published an article to help job seekers avoid social media pitfalls that could cost them a job.

However, many people are still quite careless with what they publicly post on social media networks. If you need to do a little research to get background information on someone for an article, it’s perfectly acceptable to search social media for the person’s public posts.

When you’re using social media to look up someone’s personal accounts, though, keep these crucial things in mind:

  • Don’t ever mislead someone by sending a friend request if you’re simply trying to get information on them. You could then be granted access to friends-only posts that you should not ethically share. Only quote public posts in articles.
  • Do state who you are and your position as a writer when sending private messages to strangers to gather information. In many cases, people will appreciate that you are forthright and will answer questions.

content writer research tips

When it’s time to research your next project, take the time to gather data on social media before relying on other sources.

Oftentimes, you can get straight to the original source of a post, such as a celebrity’s PR statement on their official pages, and you may also be able to more easily navigate search engines when you know more precise information about what is trending and timely with right now.

Ultimately, social media is a tool that you can use to take your research and writing to the next level.

Do you have any social media research tips? Please share in the comments section below.

Diane Chambers

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Diane Chambers is an accomplished author. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines, books, and online publications. With over 3,000 published articles to her credit, she offers a wealth of expertise to her clients. Specializations include travel, the arts, cinema, beauty, lifestyle, fitness, dance, business, social media, music, and effective altruism.

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