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David Lee King



In this series of articles, I’ve been talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. We’ve already discussed Activity Metrics. Today we’ll cover Audience Metrics.

This is also an easy one! We monitor some really basic trends in audience growth by counting how many followers we have each month.

Again, this is an easy one to count. Simply go to each channel’s main page at the first of the month, and write down how many followers you have.

Then I do some simple math to figure out how many new followers we gained across all our social media channels.

So for example – in May, we had:

  • Facebook – 12,429 followers
  • Twitter – 4338 followers
  • Youtube – 384 subscribers
  • Pinterest – 1704 followers – on our main account page. Pinterest is weird, since they have followers for the whole Pinterest account, and followers for each individual board. We are only counting followers to the main page.

Then I look at last month’s numbers, do some more addition, and … we gained 130 social media followers in May.

Why track this?

  1. It shows growth over time. Not a bad thing. Sorta like a door count or basic use stats.
  2. It shows trends. If there’s a lot of growth, or a big drop-off, that’s a signal to find out more.

Are there other types of Audience Metrics that you track? Please share!

Image by Marc Cornelis

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In this series of articles, I’m talking about what types of social media analytics my library tracks. Today we’ll cover Activity Metrics.

Activity – this one’s easy. How many posts, pins, videos, etc have we made this month? I count each of them so I have a total for each month (most social media tools have a downloadable Excel spreadsheet report that makes counting easy).

For example, in May, here’s what my library did:

  • Facebook – 91 posts
  • Twitter – 93 tweets
  • Youtube – 5 videos
  • Pinterest – 15 pins.

Then I lump all of those together, so that I have a total Activity number for each month. In May, my library created a total of 204 social media posts.

Why do we count this? Two reasons:

  1. It’s important to see what staff are doing and where we’re spending time. If there’s a jump or a lag on an individual social media channel, we can easily see it through the monthly numbers. Then, we can figure out what happened (i.e., someone went on vacation, someone got excited about something, more customers asked questions so we posted more, etc.).
  2. For some special ROI stats that I will share later!

What do you count? I’d love to find out!

Image by Stephen Coles

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Analytics for Social Media



Ah, social media channels for organizations. Why are you spending time there again? Hopefully, you’re using social media to connect with your customers, to answer questions, and to just “be there” for your service area.

Do you know if your social media channel is successful? Are you meeting your library’s goals there?

These days, most social media channels have analytics or insights that will help you figure out if you’re meeting those goals.

But what should you track? My library tracks five areas: Activity Metrics, Engagement Metrics, Referral Metrics, Activity Metrics, and ROI.

In my next five posts, we’ll look at each of those.

Image by Search Engine People Blog

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In my last post, I talked about how your technology department shouldn’t really be the one making system-wide decisions for the library.

There’s a couple other sides to that coin, I think. They include:

Sometimes, IT should make those decisions. For example:

  • They’re the technology experts, and probably know what will work the best for the library. Listen to them!
  • They know what they can and cannot support. Not to say they can’t learn new things – that’s what techie types do every day – but some things might not be within reach.
  • They can be highly creative people with great ideas. Make sure they’re part of the process.
  • Sometimes the answer has to be no. For example, in the kids department at my library, we can’t just put computers anywhere. The floor is a concrete slab, and requires lots of core drilling, routing concrete, and cabling runs that don’t exist. So the answer from us is: sure, if you want to spend $10-20,000 more on the project. Or – how about let’s rework that idea?

Sometimes, the rest of the library needs to make the decision (but isn’t). You might have this happening:

  • Admin/management is not tech-savvy, so IT has stepped in and is making decisions.
  • Admin/management is being passive, not great at leadership, not great at strategic planning etc … so IT stepped in.
  • There’s simply no strategic plan – so guess what? IT (and reference, and collections, and youth services, etc) will step in and create their own strategies. I’m guessing there’s a better way to do this!

If you’re one of those library staffers saying “IT won’t let me do this” – step back from that immediate problem, and ask yourself “why do they get to decide this?”

Then work on fixing that issue first.

Pic by Garrett Coakley

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IT is Not the Boss of Me



More than once (ok, actually quite often), I’ve heard librarians say “IT won’t let me do that,” or “IT said no, so I figured out how to go around them,” or simply “IT won’t support that product.”

And I always respond by asking why they’re allowing IT to control decisions?

IT guys and gals, please remember – we are in the library to:

  • support whatever the library wants to do, to the best of our ability
  • find better ways of doing things when possible
  • make sure the technology is easy to use, helps meet the library’s needs, and stays as out-of-the-way and transparent as possible, so staff don’t have to think about the tech (unless they want to)
  • And make sure nothing crashes and burns, backups are in place, the website works, etc.

We are NOT there to dictate what library staff can and cannot do.

Sure, there will be staff computer use policies in place. Sure, there are budgets to consider.

But we don’t have to say “no.” Instead, work on saying “yes.” Here are some examples:

  • Yes.
  • Yes, but give me a month. We need to work on other priorities first.
  • Yes. It needs to come from your supervisor, so talk to them first and have them email me.
  • Great idea! We didn’t budget for that this year. Let’s get a discussion started and see if we want to do it next year.

These are all positive, and a version of “yes.” The last two sound a bit like “no” – but (and I know this sounds sorta passive, but it’s really not) it puts the decision-making back where it belongs, with the employee’s supervisor, or with a larger group looking at options. It’s not just IT saying “no.”

Does your IT department say no? What do you do about that? Please share!

image by Berkeley Lab

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