Instagram Hacks that will Drive Sales … I mean Checkouts

IMG_6798I recently saw an article on tips for using Instagram to Drive Sales. A lot of the tips are actually pretty relevant to libraries. Let’s look through the tips, and see if anything’s useful for us!

1. Create Call to Actions. Definitely useful – a call to action certainly doesn’t have to be limited to sales! Instagram gives you one actual website link, and it’s found in your profile. Point to things other than your main page sometimes.

Then, in the description box of your image post, ask people to click the link in your profile to … register for the program, check out the book, etc.

2. Increase Exposure by Placing Call to Actions as a Location Extension. This one seems to have limited usefulness to me. Not even sure I really understand it…

3. Add Line Breaks to Your Instagram Captions. This is a way to get your profile to stand out more than other profiles, mainly because the text in your captions looks different. Again, limited usefulness here, since mostly people are scrolling through a bunch of images. But still – every little bit helps.

4. Get More Instagram Followers. Nothing wrong here! We need more followers. The author’s ideas are fine. But we have a built-in audience, so … just ask for them! Use Facebook and Twitter, share a photo, and ask people to Like your Instagram feed. Put up hashtag signs in the building. Mention your account at the beginning of events.

5. Why your “Thanks for following” Test Just Won’t Cut it Anymore. This one seems a bit excessive to me. Direct video messages thanking people for following you? Really? I’d unfriend you. What do you guys think about this one?

6. Add Line Breaks to Your Bio. Another way to get your profile to stand out.

7. Track Your Call to Actions with bit.ly. This is a cool idea. Then again, since Instagram gives you only one link, you can also find conversions simply by using Google Analytics. Check to see if anything came from Instagram. The bit.ly idea will give you an accurate count of clicks, so it’s definitely useful.

8. Talk your Target’s Talk. I definitely agree here. The translation for us is to not use marketing-speak or jargon. Figure out what customers you want to target with your Instagram account, and then use the language they use.

David’s #9. What’s missing in this list? The actual content! Work to make your content compelling enough that it leads your customers to the library, the website, a new service. Visually show off the awesomeness that is the library.

What’s missing? I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments! And … I’m on Instagram – friend me!

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

Social Media Best Practices

Tips!Ever wish a social media company like Facebook or Twitter would tell you the best way to post on their site?

Well – you’re in luck! Most social media companies want to embrace the business user (that’s you), and have some sort of best practices that they share.

Here’s a listing of current Best Practices for popular social media sites:

Now you have no excuse – read up, and make those posts ROCK!

Tips image by Rachael Voorhees

Books is Not Your Brand

Businesses and organizations have some pretty recognizable stuff. McDonald’s has their hamburger. Nike has their swooshy logo and their “just do it” tagline. Google has their search engine. Apple has the iPhone.

These things – products, logos, and taglines – aren’t brands. They are products, consumables, and marketing projects. They are things the company produces.

But what’s a brand? Here are some definitions:

  • “A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization” (from gist brands)
  • “… your brand is a story, a set of emotions and expectations and a stand-in for how we think and feel about what you do” (from Seth Godin)
  • “The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole” (from JUST Creative)

So when I hear someone say that a library’s brand is books, it irks me a bit. Because it’s simply not true. Yes, books are a very recognizable thing that libraries have; a major “product,” if you will. But having a collection of books is just one thing we do out of many.

And these days, you can get books pretty much anywhere: at Walmart, at the grocery store, or through a click on my Kindle app. Having access to a bunch of books isn’t really a unique thing anymore.

I love what Blackcoffee says about brands and products in their blog post, A Product is Not a Brand:

“Many companies fail to achieve their branding goals because they mistake their brand for their product, service or technology. Simply put, a brand is none of these! A brand is an experience that lives at the intersection of promise and expectation. Your products are a way to deliver upon that promise. Forget features, concentrate on the unique experience you can provide.”

Don’t mistake a major product – your book collection – as a brand. Because it’s not. Even better – go the extra mile (or two, or three) and work to define your library’s brand. Then see where that takes you!

More information on Branding:

Book image by Dawid Palen

#checkitout, Taylor Swift, & National Library Week

Guess what? It’s National Library Week! To celebrate, some really creative staff and customers at my library have made a fun, creative, and AWESOME parody video of Taylor Swift’s song Shake It Off.

Yes, ours is called Check It Out. Please watch the video (pretty sure you guys will like it).

We have a goal: we want to encourage library advocacy, and get people to check out the library!

We also want this video shared as widely as possible. So, I have a request or two:

  • Please share the video in your favorite social media channels – the Youtube Video link is here.
  • Use these hashtags everywhere you share the video: #checkitout #NLW15 #taylorswift #swifties
  • Let Taylor Swift know about the video – she’s on Twitter and Facebook (we’d LOVE it if she saw it).

While you’re at it, see if you can find all the “easter eggs” in the video. There are a TON of Taylor Swift references hidden in the video.

Either way – this week is a good week to remind people how important libraries are to our communities. So please remind them!