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!

The Drop in Facebook Reach – Is it a Big Deal?

What’s the deal with Facebook’s recent drop in Reach? I’ve been reading about it and I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. Read on to find out why!

What exactly IS Facebook Reach, and what happened to it? Facebook Reach is a number that reflects how many people saw your Facebook post. Facebook changed something in their algorithm, and Facebook Reach (more specifically, Organic Reach – reach not generated through Facebook Ads) seems to have dropped. Dramatically. Some Facebook Page owners have seen a 40% or more drop in Organic Reach.

Bummer!

Why is Facebook messing with Reach? Facebook is trying to keep their customers interested. To do that, they are constantly tweaking what can be seen on the Facebook News Feed. When you log into your Facebook account, you are dropped into your News Feed, and you see the Top Stories view (you can toggle to the Most Recent view, which provides all stories).

The Top Stories view automatically sorts through your News Feed, finds the stories that you would most likely be interested in, and presents those to you rather than showing you everything.

Here’s what Facebook says they’ve done (from Brian Boland, who leads the Ads Product Marketing team at Facebook):

Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them. Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.

Over the past year, we’ve made some key changes to improve how News Feed chooses content:

  • We’ve gotten better at showing high-quality content
  • And we’ve cleaned up News Feed spam

As a result of these changes, News Feed is becoming more engaging, even as the amount of content being shared on Facebook continues to grow.

Because of these changes, some Facebook Pages have experienced a drop in Engagement and Reach, because Facebook is effectively hiding posts from those Facebook Pages.

What does this mean for a library’s Facebook Page?

Should you stop using Facebook? Um, no. According to Pew Internet, 57% of American Adults are on Facebook. And that percentage is still growing. That’s still a majority of your community – your customers – on a social platform that you can use. For Free.

Should you just pay for ads? Advertising is a good thing if you do it well. Advertising on Facebook is cheap, and can have a quick response (i.e., people actually click over to your site from a Facebook ad – go figure). So yes – experiment with Facebook ads to see if it works for you. Just remember that ads aren’t the only way to use Facebook. It’s just one strategy.

Should I worry about the drop in Facebook Reach? No. Instead, focus on creating better content and making it into your Facebook Fan’s “top 300” posts on their News Feed. Because that’s the real problem. The reason some posts don’t make it into the News Feed is simple – Facebook users don’t find that content engaging, and ignore it. Then, Facebook helps them continue to ignore it.

If you don’t improve your content to make it into the top 300 posts, your Fans will ignore you (with Facebook’s help), and your content won’t appear in their News Feed.

Here’s a simple Facebook formula to remember: useful content = more engagement = better Reach.

Read more about the drop in Facebook Reach:

Image by Johanna

Facebook is 10 Years Old!

Wow – how’d that happen? Facebook is 10 years old today. Happy birthday, Facebook!

Yesterday, I saw some interesting stats about Facebook from the Pew Research Center. Here are some of them, with my thoughts included:

57% of all adults use Facebook. That’s a LOT of people. Think about that statistic locally – it means that over half of YOUR community is using Facebook. That means that your organization should be actively using Facebook, since it’s a primary communication and hangout tool for over half of your community.

64% of Facebook users visit the site daily. That means your organization’s Facebook Page should post daily, too. On Facebook, you’re not seen if you don’t post – so post!

Major reasons to use Facebook – sharing and laughs. Share a mix of fun and useful content, and your network will respond (i.e., comment, like, share, etc). Because they LIKE to respond – that’s what you DO on Facebook.

Half of all adult Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network. If one of them decides to share your content, that content will be seen by people outside your library’s Facebook network. That’s the power of Facebook sharing – it can really stretch beyond your normal Facebook boundaries.

Check out the article – good info there!

Facebook logo by Sharon Mckellar

Community Engagement: Tools & Tips

Rudy Leon and I gave a pre conference workshop at Internet Librarian 2014 on Community Engagement. The session went well! Attendees wanted our slides and outline, so here it is.

Introductions: we started things off by asking about each person’s communities their library interacts with – who they are and how they are already working on engaging with those communities.

Next, we discussed the communities Rudy and I work with. I have a public library background, so I went over all the physical and digital communities my library focuses on. Rudy’s background is in academic libraries, so she talked about subject liaisons to faculty and students, and the different types of communities in Reno and in a university setting.

Then we gave some tips on discovering communities by using listening techniques. I focused on digital listening techniques, and Rudy introduced the idea of listening as iterative behavior: hear, respond, implement, close the loop. Then she gave some examples of doing that in Reno.

After that, we gave some tips from our own experience on developing strategies to build relationships with communities. I focused on digital communities, and Rudy focused on connecting with academics.

Finally, I gave a couple of quick tips on measuring success with engagement, and we had a great Q&A time full of pretty active discussion.

Fun time!

Tidy up your Twitter Followers

I recently went through my library’s Twitter followers and “cleaned up” our follower list. What was I looking for? Mainly, that we are following people living in our service area. Here’s what I did:

First off, I used FriendorFollow. It’s a pretty handy tool that shows, among other things, who follows you, who doesn’t follow back, etc.

Then, I went through our list of Twitter followers, one at a time, and friended these types of a accounts:

  • Do they live in Topeka or Shawnee County?
  • Do they seem to live in Kansas, and do we share some Twitter friends (another indicator that they are in our service area)?
  • If they mention Topeka or Kansas in their bio or recent tweets
  • regional businesses (probably have employees in our service area)

If they met these criteria, I friended them back.

I unfriended some accounts, too. Here’s what I unfriended:

  • If they haven’t tweeted in over a year – that indicates they don’t actively use the account
  • If they never tweeted
  • If their account is private
  • If they don’t live in our service area

So – I ended up unfriending some libraries, some librarians, some people who had moved out of the area, and some celebrities that we had friended. Not in our service are? We dump em.

What did that achieve? Hopefully, more interaction. More followers that might actually be interested in their local library and what we tweet. And several hundred more followers that we are connected to!

That’s what I did – do you ever clean up follower lists in your organization’s Twitter or Facebook accounts? If so, what do YOU look for? Please share!

Image from Michael Sauers