Facebook Events Don’t Work for Organizations

cute grumpy baby doesn't like Facebook EventsMaybe I’m missing something here. But in my experience, Facebook Events don’t work all that well for libraries. Or for many organization-based Facebook Pages.

Why? Because you can’t invite your Facebook Page friends to the event. The “Designated Host” of an Event (usually the creator of the Event) can only invite people from their personal Friends list.

See the problem here? My library’s Facebook Page is friended by 13,000+ people who live in Topeka. I’d love to invite them.

Instead, I have to invite my personal Facebook friends. Which are a weird mix of you guys, my family, other librarians, high school and college friends, some local friends, some vendor acquaintances, and some people I work with.

For the most part, not people living in Topeka.

Sure, once created, I can Share the Event on the library’s Facebook Page. I can even pay for ads for the Event (which is what Facebook really wants you to do with Events).

Does that make sense? Nope. Not really.

Instead of creating a Facebook Event, do this instead:

  • Create a normal Facebook Page post that includes a link to the Event page on your website.
  • Pay a little money to Boost the post.
  • Pin the post to the top of your Facebook Page.

And have fun at your event.

Cute baby pic by Branden Williams

Serving People Who are Different Than You

Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like YouI just read the book Crafting the Customer Experience For People Not Like You: How to Delight and Engage the Customers Your Competitors Don’t Understand, by Kelly McDonald (that is one long title!).

I read it around the same time I attended ALA’s annual conference in San Francisco. There was a lot of discussion about diversity, as there always is at a library conference. Which is awesome.

When we talk about diversity at one of those events, usually “diversity” means minorities, gender, and sexual preference.

This book had a slightly different take on that. Kelly says this (on page 7): “I define diversity as “any way that I can be different from you.” For example, if you have kids and I don’t, we’re likely to have different priorities and face different pressures. Your entire focus shifts when you become a parent, because it has to. Parents think about and evaluate everything differently from people who aren’t parents. But that difference has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, age, or even gender; it simply has to do with whether or not you have children.”

Then Kelly goes on to talk about the customer experience, both physically and online (primarily through social media), and discusses serving “people not like you.” She includes generational differences, women and families, Hispanics/Latinos, different racial and ethnic communities, and GLBT customers.

I really appreciated this slightly tweaked explanation of diversity, since I’m usually the white married dude sitting in a large sea of women talking about creating a more diverse workforce in libraries. Just sayin :-)

So – interesting book. Give it a spin!

Huge List of Social Media Policies

I’ve been working on a set of social media guidelines for my library. It’s still in rough draft form, and has a long way to go (i.e., a bunch of meetings) before the library decides to use it.

Social media policies and guidelines can be really hard to write. Thankfully, Social Media Governance can help! This site has links to hundreds of social media policies from corporate, government, and non-profit organizations and businesses.

Here are some guidelines I found while poking through some of the links:

  • Please respect copyright. If it is not yours, don’t use it. It is very simple. It is that person’s choice to share his or her material with the world, not yours. Before posting someone else’s work, please check with the owner first. (From Adidas).
  • Be thoughtful about how you present yourself in online social networks. The lines between public and private, and personal and professional are blurred in online social networks. If you identify yourself as an Apple employee or are known to be one, you are now connected to your co-workers, Leaders and even Apple’s customers. You should ensure that content associated with you is consistent with Apple policies. (Apple Retail employees).
  • All AP journalists are encouraged to have accounts on social networks. They have become an essential tool for AP reporters to gather news and share links to our published work. We recommend having one account per network that you use both personally and professionally. (from the Associated Press).
  • AP staffers must be aware that opinions they express may damage the AP’s reputation as an unbiased source of news. AP employees must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum and must not take part in organized action in support of causes or movements (also from the AP).
  • Guidelines for functioning in an electronic world are the same as the values, ethics and confidentiality policies employees are expected to live every day, whether you’re Tweeting, talking with customers or chatting over the neighbor’s fence. Remember, your responsibility to Best Buy doesn’t end when you are off the clock. For that reason, this policy applies to both company sponsored social media and personal use as it relates to Best Buy (from Best Buy).
  • Know that the Internet is permanent. Once information is published online, it is essentially part of a permanent record, even if you “remove/delete” it later or attempt to make it anonymous. If your complete thought, along with its context, cannot be squeezed into a character‐restricted space (such as Twitter), provide a link to an online space where the message can be expressed completely and accurately (from Coca-Cola).

Interesting stuff, huh? Remember – if you are thinking about creating some social media guidelines for your organization, you don’t have to start from scratch. Find some good examples, pull some points off those, and then tweak and expand as needed.

The Internet is our friend!

Image from Beth Kanter

iBeacons and the Library

an iBeaconI’ve shown what iBeacons are, and what they do in non-retail settings. Can they be used in a library setting? Definitely – because some libraries are already experimenting with them!

There are currently two companies in the library industry working with iBeacons (that I know of, anyway):

What are these companies focusing on?

Bluubeam sends out location-based messaging. For example, if you walk into the teens area of the library (and have the Bluubeam app on your mobile device), you might get a message about what’s happening in the teen section that day, or get a message about an upcoming teen event.

So think location-based promotion of events and your stuff.

Capira Technologies does location-based messaging. They’re also working on more personalized info. For example, here’s what they say about circulation notices:

Patrons who have authenticated their account information in your library app can receive notifications about items due that day, items ready for pickup, and much more when they enter the building. Library staff know that patrons often visit the library and forget they have items due that day. Automatically reminding them to stop by the circulation desk and renew them before they leave is a great customer service.

What types of things could you do with iBeacons in a library? Here are some ideas:

  • Event notices that are location-based
  • Promotion of new library services. For example, if a customer walks by your new makerspace, they could receive a message explaining it, and maybe an “ask the librarian” prompt for more information.
  • Building tours!
  • Around-town tours. I’d love to see iBeacons connected to a historical walking tour, for example. This has the potential to be much better than portable headsets, and definitely better than QR codes.
  • Art gallery explanations. We have an art gallery. It might work to have explanations of art pieces or more information about the current exhibit.
  • Shelving notices. What’s on this shelf? Capira goes much further with this idea – “For example, if a library offered a row of shelves with New Releases, a patron could view items released that day using their device and a beacon located on the shelf.”
  • Patron Assistance (again from Capira). Devices can time how long a beacon stays in range. Staff can be notified if a patron spends an excessive amount of time in a specific area or room without moving, possibly indicating they may require assistance looking for items.
  • Beacon Tracking – Anonymous tracking via iBeacons can capture how library customers move around in your building, along with how much time is spent in each area. Retail stores already do this, and then move their products around to where customers gather. Something to think about!

Again – there is potentially a LOT of possibility here. What do you think? Please share!

iBeacon image by Jonathan Nalder

Register for my Facebook Webinar with ALA Techsource

If you liked my last post about Facebook Reach, or just want to learn more about how to use Facebook in a library setting, you might like my upcoming webinar!

Here are the details:

Title: Facebook in the Library: Enhancing Services & Engaging Users

When: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 2:30pm Eastern/1:30pm Central/12:30pm Mountain/11:30am Pacific (90 minutes long)

What: Around 154 million Americans—51 percent of the population—are now using Facebook, according to a recent study by Edison Research. How effectively are you using this direct, free means of communication to reach out to your library’s patrons and users? Digital branch and social networking innovator David Lee King will share what he’s learned from years of experience and experiments with the Topeka and Shawnee County’s Facebook page. He will answer your questions and share time-saving tips on getting the most out of using Facebook.

Topics include:

  • Fundamentals for setting up and managing your Facebook page
  • Planning content for your library Facebook page
  • How to engage the library’s Facebook fans
  • How to market your library through a Facebook page

Hope to see you there!