Turning Strangers into Friends

The Thank You Economy

I just read The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. Good read. Here’s an interesting thought I got out of it that relates to libraries.

On page 53, he writes about Nielson conducting a study on what drives consumer trust. 70% of people said they turn to family and friends for advice when making purchasing decisions.

Then Gary says this: “The ROI of your relationship with your mother is going to be much higher than that of the one you have with a good friend. Both, however, are more valuable than the one you have with an acquaintance, which trumps the relationship you have with a stranger. Without social media, you and your customer are relegated to strangers; with it, depending on your efforts, you can potentially upgrade your relationship to that of casual acquaintances, and even, in time, to friends. The power of that relationship can go so far as to convert a casual browser into a committed buyer, or a buyer into an advocate.” (pg 54-55).

This idea of turning strangers into friends works great in libraries, too. The goal is simply this – become casual acquaintances, or even friends, with our customers. We have done that for years in our buildings – I’d say that’s business as usual.

Online? We can do the same thing by using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. Start friending people in your community. Your customers. That’s how you start turning strangers into friends … and into customers of your library.

Here’s what Gary did – he created Twitter alerts for wine words like Merlot. When someone had a question about that term, he answered it … and started growing a reputation about actually knowing something about wine.

We know stuff too – we are librarians, after all! Use a tool like Twitter. Do a zip code search for your local area or a town search … then add some words to that search, like book, reading, etc. Or business terms … or whatever the hot issues in your town happen to be.

Then start answering questions or making comments as they seem relevant. Point to your stuff, like the book that answers it, when it makes sense. Be helpful … like you already are in your building.

It’s a way to get out in the community without actually leaving the air conditioning!

Pic by Steven Rosenbaum

Article about Facebook Pages up at the NEKLS blog

I just wrote a blog post for the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS) about Facebook Pages – titled Facebook Pages for Kansas Libraries.

Here’s how it starts:

“What if there was a way for your library to get the attention of 51% of your local community? For free? Would you do it? I’m guessing so.

Guess what? There IS a way to potentially do that – by using Facebook! Edison Research (they do market research studies, among other things) recently announced that 51% of Americans age 12+ are using Facebook. And this stat is rapidly growing. Some other interesting Facebook facts on the average Facebook user:

  • They have 130 friends
  • They make 8 friend requests per month
  • They spend 15 hours a month on using Facebook
  • They visit Facebook 40 times a month, and spend 23 minutes per visit
  • They are connected to 80 organizational Facebook Pages, Groups, and Events

Nice statistics, David – but what does this mean for Kansas Libraries and librarians?”

If you’re interested, go read the rest at the NEKLS blog!

And for more interesting reading on Facebook, check these books out (Amazon Affiliate links):

pic by afagen

What’s Up with the Mean People?

The day after I got back home from ALA11, a weird thing happened with a friend of mine, and I thought it would be a good thing to share, think about, etc.

Many of you know Joe Murphy – Yale librarian, frequent speaker at library-related events, and all-around nice guy.

Last Wednesday, he had someone create a fake Twitter account named @JoeMChangeAgent (already deleted – we’ll get to that in a sec), use his picture for the account, friended a lot of people (myself included), and pretty much pretended to be Joe on Twitter for about a day.

Weird, huh? I asked Joe a few questions about the incident via email. Here’s what Joe had to say about it.

DLK: How do you use Twitter?
JM: I use a public/professional account (@libraryfuture) for current awareness, to share resources, and engage with professional communities. I also have a private twitter account for which I control the privacy at the audience level. I use my private account to share and communicate with my trusted contacts.

DLK: So what happened?
JM: One of our fellow librarians created a fake Twitter and FriendFeed account impersonating me. They used this false account in an attempt to deceive us all by pretending to be me and by engaging our colleagues under false pretenses as a way to personally attack me and to disrupt our professional community.

DLK: How did it stop? Did you report it, and did you hear back from Twitter?
JM: Twitter quickly suspended the account because it was a breach of its policy rules. Twitter also permanently barred the account’s creators after completing their own investigation. I also received wide and strong support in the form of fellow Twitter users who promptly blocked and reported the account as spam and for abuse.

DLK: Has that type of thing happened to you before? How did it make you feel?
JM: I wish I could say this was an isolated incident. Unfortunately, I have received a lot of negative attention in my few years as a librarian. But I’ve learned the value of ignoring the negativity, not taking it personally, and not giving them any time or energy from my day. This is not to say I am impervious to personal attacks, but not letting it get to me is an important skill that I continue to develop. I don’t let their hate infect my life, and I definitely don’t let it slow me down professionally.

It is a poor reflection upon our profession that lashing out at colleagues is all too normal, and it is not just me that ends up as the target. Every once in a while you will see people (quite often the same people and groups) attack our colleagues online with bitterness, name calling, deception, and personal attacks.

DLK: What’s up with the haters, anyway? Why pick on you?
JM: This is the key question. Haters in general exist because they feel a lack in themselves, a deficiency that they try to replace by extending their negativity to others. They will strike out at anything in easy view beyond themselves. I often end up as the recipient for their hate because I am out there in the spotlight through giving talks, writing, and making contributions. I am also an obvious target for them because I have my happiness and my health, success at a young age, and I have a sense of positivity. Nothing in particular happened to kick off this most recent instance; it was an example of people lashing out just for the sake of lashing out. These people are deeply troubled and I hope they receive the support they need to heal themselves. I try to stay sensitive towards them because ultimately, they are the only ones who have to live with themselves.

Luckily, I have a lot of experience and support dealing with these attacks. I know how to not take them personally, and I leave their hatred behind by separating it from my own life. Unfortunately some haters go even further to attack our personal lives by harassing friends and family and spreading lies. It is unbelievable how some people behave. But working together with friends in staying wise and careful successfully blocks these attempts as well. If I let it get me down every time a hater lashed out I would become depressed, this of course is their goal. So I shrug it off, move on and keep having fun.

DLK: Anything I’m missing? Anything you want to add?
JM: The thing to remember is that haters are acting out of insecurity. They strike out at any obvious lightning rod because they are unhappy about themselves. So do not take them seriously, don’t let them steal your energy, and definitely don’t take it personally. The negativity is about them, not you. Keep being yourself, and don’t let the haters cause you stress. They may fling venom but only you can control how you feel about yourself.

Haters also feel a sense of entitlement to their hate, and blocking, ignoring, and deflecting their attempts can often send them into a total fluster. So not feeding them and their negativity is often the best response. They say the best revenge is living well. I would also add that a good approach is not giving them what they want; denying them a moment in the spotlight that they think their negativity will win them.

I have seen such personal attacks deeply affect individuals, and it is our responsibility as a professional community to not support hateful attacks, to hold people responsible for their behavior, and to make sure we are all treated with respect.

Me again – so why bring this up?

It was one incident that happened, and was taken care of quickly by Twitter. Right? Well … it’s not really all that isolated in the library speaker world. Here’s an article Stephen Abram wrote awhile back on the same issue.

Something to remember: disagreements are great. Heated discussions and full-out arguments? Also fine. Not personally being everyone’s best bud? Also fine – you can’t like everyone, right? Calling people out for a bad idea – great, please do so (but then back it up, too).

But personal attacks (I’ve had some of those)? Not cool. Impersonating someone else? Way not cool (and possibly illegal, depending on what you did). Sending anonymous death threats to someone because you don’t like their ideas (yes, I know at least two library speaker types that have received those)? Really way not cool.

Play safe out there!

Facebook for Libraries – an article in American Libraries

I have an article about Facebook for Libraries – in American Libraries, the magazine of the American Library Association (ALA). Here’s an excerpt:

“Today, I spent part of the day connecting with people. I complained about a silly election video, chatted with a college friend about a band, and put some finishing touches on plans for a conference taking place at the library.

I did all this through Facebook. These days, it seems like everyone has a Facebook account. Quite a few of my professional colleagues and most of my family have Facebook accounts. Nationally, I’m a bit ahead of the curve: Approximately 41% of the U.S. population has a personal Facebook profile, according to a 2010 study from Edison Research (PDF file). According to Wikipedia, 50% of those Facebook users actually log into their Facebook accounts every day. Total Facebook population? Globally, over 600 million of us currently use Facebook, MSNBC reported in January, and most of them interact every day with an average of 130 Facebook friends and acquaintances.

Think about that for a second. What library wouldn’t love to have a direct, free line to potentially 41% of your community’s ear? Keep in mind, these people could be connected to another 130 people in your community. That’s a lot of free communication!

So, stake a claim in this digital land and create a Facebook Page for your library. Here’s how to set up a Facebook account, and how to use it to connect with your community.”

Go read the rest of the article!

Marketing on Facebook

I just finished reading Best Practice Guide: Marketing on Facebook. You might find it interesting, too – the guide has some great ideas for using Facebook as a marketing campaign tool. In fact, many of the suggestions would also work for other online social tools (think Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, etc).

Here’s what you’ll find in the guide:

  • For starters, they describe what they call The Facebook Ecosystem, which includes three parts: Build, Engage, and Amplify:
    • Build – duh. Building your presence in that tool. creating a Facebook Page. Creating a Twitter account. Etc. Gotta start here.
    • Engage – use touch points, like the Facebook like button to start connecting with your fans. Also use the status update box to directly connect through conversations
    • Amplify – on Facebook, you need to be in your fans news feed. You can use Facebook ads and sponsored stories to help you do that.

After that, the Guide discusses what they call Facebook by Objective –  basically seven ways to use Facebook for your business. Each objective includes some interesting ideas on how to connect to your customers and grow your organization. The Objectives include:

  • Foster product development and innovation
  • Generate awareness
  • Drive preference and differentiation
  • Increase traffic and sales
  • Build loyalty and deepen relationships
  • Amplify recommendation and word of mouth
  • Gain insights

And guess what? With just a bit of tweaking, each of these ideas can work for libraries! So go read it, download it, etc … and share any cool ideas or library campaigns you create!

The F image … found at the ReadWrite Web