Pinterest for Libraries – what we’re doing

I recently helped set up a Pinterest account for our library (and by “help” I mean that I created the account. Most of the work so far has been done by Jeff Tate, our Digital Branch Librarian, and our fine group of staff participating in the pilot project).

What have we done so far? Here’s a list of our goals and process to date, and a list of a few “best practice” tips we’ve discovered along the way:

Goals and process:

  • Goal: focus on the library, on things our customers might be interested in, and on “local.”
  • Goal: focus on things that make people “click”
  • Goal for each board – at least 9 pins a week.
  • For staff – wear your “library hat” – think like “the library” rather than an individual when pinning something
  • We set up 16 boards for starters, each with at least one staff member in charge of it (most of the boards have a team of 2-3 staff).
  • The boards we set up, for the most part, match up to our neighborhoods in our physical library and on our website (we have grouped subject areas together into neighborhoods, i.e., the Travel neighborhood, the Cooking Neighborhood, etc. Each has a physical collection and a blog).
  • We will soon have a link to our Pinterest account from the main page of our website
  • Write a short, “tweetable” blurb for each pin you create.
Useful Tips:
  • I used a group email (we use Microsoft Exchange/Outlook for email) when setting up the account, and assigned everyone participating in the pilot project to the email group. That way, everyone sees likes, pins, follows, comments, etc  that happen in Pinterest.
  • When creating a new board, fill it up with 9 things – this way, the board doesn’t look “empty” [like my personal Pinterest account looks :-) ]
  • Pinning books from our catalog is great – but it’s also a multi-step process. First, you need to find a bookcover pic and Pin that (because Pinterest Pins focus on images). Once you have the pic, you can then add in the direct URL to the book’s catalog record.

That’s pretty much it. Pinterest is a very simple site … that has taken off like crazy! Like I said, this is a pilot project. Our plan is to use Pinterest for 6 months to see if it works for our library and for our customers. If there continues to be growing interest, we’ll go with it. If interest wains, we’ll kill the project.

More articles on Pinterest and libraries:

What’s your library doing with Pinterest? Let me know!

Share posts on Facebook to Gain More Readers

sharingI’m working on a new ALA Library Technology Report (more on that later this year), and discovered something cool while checking my library’s analytics.

Want to get more people reading your library blog posts? Here’s one handy way to do it – share that post on your library’s Facebook Page. Here’s what happened when I did that with one of my library’s blog posts.

So … I have a blog on my library’s website that I started in January. It’s the Digital Branch blog (I figured I’m the Branch manager, so I should have a branch manager blog. I write about web geekish stuff related to the library’s digital branch that our customers might find interesting).

One of those blogposts has gathered more pageviews that all the other digital branch blogposts combined – a post about Pinterest. So far, Google Analytics shows 137 pageviews for that post. Not too bad! I wanted more comments (because we’re working on a pilot project for a Pinterest account), so I decided to share the post on our library’s Facebook Page.

On our Facebook Page, use Facebook Insights to drill down to an individual post (really cool that you can narrow down that far!). Here are the stats for that particular Facebook post:

  • a Reach of 969 (the number of unique people who saw the post)
  • 68 Engaged Users (the number of unique people who have clicked on your post)
  • 23 were “Talking About This” (the number of unique people who have created a story from your page post. This means they commented, shared, or Liked the post, which then creates a post on their Facebook profile for their facebook friends to see).

So of my blog post’s 137 pageviews, 68 of them, or 50%, came directly from sharing that post on our Facebook Page (Google Analytics further backs that up by showing an “Entrance” number of 70 views on that post, meaning that 70 people came directly to that post from someplace other than my library’s website – i.e., from Facebook to the blogpost).

Simple stuff – write a blogpost, then share it out using Twitter and Facebook. Ask people to comment, and they will (I received comments on the blogpost, on the Facebook post, and in Twitter). And you just might get more readers in the process.

Pic by Britta Bohlinger

Most Popular Posts and Videos of 2011

Here’s a list of some of my most popular content from 2011, including blog posts, videos, photos, and presentations. I hope you enjoy poking through this list, and more importantly, following along – reading, watching, viewing, etc – in 2012!

Most Popular Blog Posts of 2011:

Most Popular Videos of 2011:

  • i-microphone for the iphone – the Edutige EIM-001 (embedded below) – me testing out an iPhone microphone. Viewed 5574 times and counting, mainly because the US distributor put a link to my video on their website.
  • Testing out my RØDE VideoMic Pro – me testing out another microphone. Viewed 2617 times – proper use of keywords put my video in the first page of hits for “RØDE VideoMic Pro.”
  • Morphwiz – an iPad Music Creation App – me playing with an iPad synthesizer. Viewed 2134 times. Proper use of keywords and tags is the culprit again – this video appears in the first page of hits for “Morphwiz.”
  • OK, and my most popular video ever –  Learning Blues Harp – viewed 63,469 times since 2007. Embarrassingly enough, I’m pretty certain it gets hit so much (and then gets some nasty comments) is because of my poor use of keywords! When I titled the video “Learning Blues harp,” I really meant “I’m just starting to learn blues harp.” Everyone else apparently clicks on the video, thinking “I’m going to learn HOW TO PLAY blues harp from an expert!” Oops.

 

Most Popular Presentation of 2011:

Most popular photos of 2011:

From Flickr: viewed 289 times…

… and my personal favorite from 2011 in Flickr – my family. Viewed only 16 times, which is actually sorta amazing:

And my most popular pic in Instagram from 2011 (I’m davidleeking on instagram – Instagram is VERY COOL):

Here’s to a great 2011, and to an even better 2012!

 

Focus on Youtube – Summary and Why?

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been writing and thinking about Youtube for awhile. Here’s a list of my recent Youtube posts:

Why have I been focused on Youtube? Well, a couple of reasons. One, I really needed to re-focus on Youtube a bit at work. Writing and thinking about this stuff really helps me figure out what I need to do next for my library’s Youtube account.

One more reason – Youtube is a social network, with subscribers, friends, content creators, comments, likes, and favorites. If you want friends, subscribers, comments … and more importantly, video viewers, you need to be there. You need to watch videos, leave comments, likes, favorites, share videos, etc. That gets you noticed by others in the Youtube community (and your local customers who use Youtube).

Try out some of my suggestions, and see if you can increase engagement in Youtube in 2012!

Community pic by Bigstock

Setting up a Google Plus Page for your Library is Easy

g+A day or so ago, Google Plus finally opened up organizational Google Plus “Pages” to everyone. These are similar in concept to Facebook Pages: a Google Plus Page is for brands, organizations, and businesses, and a Google Plus Profile is for individuals.

I just set up my library’s Google Plus Page, and it was really easy to do. Here’s what I did:

  1. First, you need a personal Google Plus Profile. Just like Facebook, Google wants you to be a real person (here’s a link to mine if you’re curious).
  2. Go here -https://plus.google.com/u/0/pages/create – to set up the Page
  3. Choose a category for your library. I chose “Company, Institution or Organization” for ours.
  4. Fill in your Institution’s name and URL. I chose to put in our full name (Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library) rather than the shortened “topekelibrary” that we often use for social media sites, because our full name shows up on the account.
  5. Select a Category – really, a subcategory of the “Company, Institution or Organization” thing you picked up in #3 above. This gives you a lot of suggestions … none of which are Libraries. I ended up choosing Institution (though Government Agency, Education, or Other would have worked ok too).
  6. Click Create.
  7. Then, you’re given the option to Share your new Google Plus Page with all your Google Plus friends (I did that, but you don’t have to).

After that, I fleshed out our account info a little bit by doing these things:

  • Added a photo for the G+ icon (our library’s logo for now)
  • Asked our Marketing dept for some pictures to add on the Photos tab
  • Created some Circles – I kept the Following circle for random follows, then created these additional Circles: Customers (for library patrons), Staff (for library staff), and Librarians (for librarians who don’t work at my library but want to follow)
  • Added links to our Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Flickr accounts
  • Finally, I sent out our first status update message – “Just setting up Topeka Library’s dandy new Google Plus Page for organizations. Let’s explore it together!”

That’s pretty much it. What will we do with it? For starters, I’ll probably post a couple things a week there, to see if other people in our service area are interested in using Google Plus to connect with the library. After that (I’ll give it 6 months or so) we’ll see.

A couple other examples of Google Plus Library Pages:

updateJoe Murphy has a great post on Google Plus Pages for Libraries. Check it out!

Cool! Now the question is … what will your library DO with a Google Plus Page, now that they are available?

image by Bruce Clay