Purpose To study the effect of a planned social media promotion strategy on access of online articles in an established academic medical journal. Method This was a single-masked, randomized controlled trial using articles published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, a large-circulation general/internal medicine journal. Articles published during the months of October, November, and December 2015 (n = 68) were randomized to social media promotion (SoMe) using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn or to no social media promotion (NoSoMe), for 30 days (beginning with the date of online article publication). Journal website visits and full-text article downloads were compared for 0-30 and 31-60 days following online publication between SoMe versus NoSoMe using a Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Results Website access of articles from 0 to 30 days was significantly higher in the SoMe group (n = 34) compared with the NoSoMe group (n = 34): 1,070 median downloads versus 265, P <.001. Similarly, full-text article downloads from 0-30 days were significantly higher in the SoMe group: 1,042 median downloads versus 142, P <.001. Compared with the NoSoMe articles, articles randomized to SoMe received a greater number of website visits via Twitter (90 vs 1), Facebook (526 vs 2.5), and LinkedIn (31.5 vs 0)-All P <.001. Conclusions Articles randomized to SoMe were more widely accessed compared with those without social media promotion. These findings show a possible role, benefit, and need for further study of a carefully planned social media promotion strategy in an academic medical journal.
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