Social Media Strategies for Libraries

Yesterday we had a really fantastic guest presenter, Robert Hoekman Jr. , who talked about using social media to help market libraries. Here were some of his major points, taken from my notes (Note: I am not the best taker-of-notes, it’s a wonder I ever completed grad school):

  • Online communities Allow action from anywhere
  • Social object is the idea around which a community forms
    • Libraries have all kinds of social objects – books, games, movies, etc
    • Library itself is a social object
  • Library needs to focus on the major social object, not just “library itself”
  • Turn patrons into community
  • How do you measure success?
  • Strategy:
    • People: who meets your objective, who is your target
    • Objectives
    • Strategy (success metrics):how to measure success e.g. 20% higher attendance for event
    • Tools: which will help you reach your objective.

Robert was kind enough to send me this sample strategy document using the POST method (click to enlarge):

Some of the social media tools to use:

  • Blogger/WordPress : Create and maintain blogs about events, contests, promotions, etc. (with RSS feeds)
  • Facebook : Create a Group page for each library branch (discussions, announcements, etc), and an Event page for each event
  • MySpace : It’s where the teens are, and it’s in the top 5 most popular sites on the web.
  • Ning : Create snap-together social networks around any topic—good for a permanent book group
  • Flickr : Post photos from events, of patrons (with permission), staff goofiness, etc
  • : Create newsletters on the cheap—good for announcements (like new events)
  • : Create podcasts of author interviews, lectures, etc.
  • YouTube : Post video from events, lectures, interviews, etc
  • Technorati : Use for information trapping, so you know what’s being said about you on blogs
  • Google Alerts : Use for information trapping, so you know what’s being said about you anywhere online
  • or Ma.gnolia : Share relevant bookmarks
  • Twitter : Create an account for each branch for occasional updates on events and interesting tidbits
  • RSS feeds: Use them throughout the site for automatic updates on bestsellers, events, etc.
  • : Event listings, updates, maps, RSVP, etc.

Put the community (your volunteers) to work for you – can do these any time, anywhere:

  • Update calendars
  • Create event announcements
  • Create facebook groups/events
  • Give volunteers other sites to update
  • Squidoo pages
  • Upload videos to youtube
  • Tell friends & friends of friends

Some additional tips:

  1. It’s important that libraries promote these efforts on their sites. For example, if you have a MySpace page, you should link to to it from pages in your Teen site. For people to find out about your presence on social networks, you need to tell them where they can find you. This gives the people who are already paying attention to you (and are on your site) a way to know what’s going on so they can get connected to you.
  2. It’s important to sound human
  3. Don’t be afraid of bad PR – use it to inform, and can gain respect with a good response (correct, apologize, etc.)
  4. Let the community talk back – conversation works two ways.

After the presentation, Robert reviewed several library websites for usability and offered some very helpful comments.

In response to one of Robert’s comments about “About” pages, I’ve added links to our Ning network (see the Talking Tech Friday column about Ning), and created a Facebook group. Come join!


~ by Anali on May 28, 2008.