Every once in awhile, someone asks me how my library manages our social media channels. Here’s how we do it:
We create teams of staff for our social media sites. So for example, we have a Facebook Posting Team (with a team leader). For that team, we create some goals and define who our main customers are (the largest percentage of our Facebook users are females ages 25-45, so we focus on that group the most).
Goals might include: number of posts per day, how many friends we want to reach, being an active presence in the local Facebook community, etc.
Then we created three content areas to focus on in Facebook:
- Reader’s advisory (we post about books, characters, authors, etc)
- Current news and pop culture, both national and local
- The normal library stuff (events, library news, etc)
Next, we assign days and times for our team. So I might get Wednesday afternoons, and be assigned to post about current events. Whoever is “on” for that time slot will also answer questions, etc. as they appear.
That’s basically it! We have done that so far with Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, and it seems to be working pretty well for us.
Want to create a social media team? Here’s how I’d do it:
- Gather your team. Make sure to include public services staff. They already interact with customers, so it makes sense. This can be a team of 2-3 or more (depends on the size of your library). Also figure out who is the team leader.
- Create some goals. Why do you want to use social media? What do you want to do with it? How do you want to connect to customers using it? What should the end result look like? Answer those types of questions.
- Create 2-4 broad content areas to focus on. Figure out 2-4 broad areas you want to post about, and how often you want to post. That really helps focus your library’s message. These should be based on the goals you created earlier.
- Pick the best tools that will help meet those goals. This will most likely include Facebook (about 60% of your community is probably using it). It might also include tools like Twitter or Instagram.
- Create a posting schedule … and start posting!
How do you run social media at your library? I’d love to know!
Photo by Melanie Holtsman
We’ve been busy at my library! Our huge RFID/Self-check/Carpeting project is pretty much done – yippie!
How did we connect with our community while our building was closed? Through media: local news media and social media channels.
Here are some of the mentions we received in the local news media:
We have a great relationship with local media, so it’s really pretty easy for us to get mentioned in the news (way to go, marketing dept!). Since we were closed for 5 days while we tagged all our materials, it was nice to be able to share that through local traditional media outlets.
We also used our own social media channels to share what was going on through those five days. Here’s one of our videos showing our first customer using our new checkout kiosks:
We made four more videos:
These videos were uploaded to Youtube, and then shared out via Twitter and Facebook. We also created some Vine videos and took some quick “in the moment” pictures that went to Twitter.
Now, our customers are sharing their experience with our new checkout kiosks. The image in this blog post shows two of our customers who took pretty much the same photo, then shared the photos on Twitter (with slightly different viewpoints).
- We’re done – whew!
- Gotta have those media connections – both local and social – in place BEFORE your big project. If you don’t have that already, start working on it NOW.
I use a Macbook Pro at home and when I travel to speaking engagements. Once in awhile, when the library’s IT person discovers I use a Mac, he/she says “make sure you bring your vga adapter.” And I always do.
Recently when that happened, it made me think – sometimes libraries aren’t all that friendly to Mac users. Do you:
- Allow Macs to plug into your LCD projectors in your meeting rooms? Or any “non-library-approved” computer, for that matter (some libraries don’t).
- Provide help to Mac users when they plug into LCD projectors and something doesn’t work? (my library used to have a disclaimer for that).
- Provide a handful of $30 VGA to Mac adapters in case the speaker forgets to bring one? My library does now.
- How about public wifi – do you have general connection instructions that work for a variety of devices (i.e., Mac, PC, tablets, mobile devices, etc), or just for PC users?
And if not … why? Make sure your library is device agnostic and device friendly, at least for the public.
Image by raneko
So my library is closed today. We’re closed from May 1-5 to do a couple of tiny little projects, like:
- RFID tag almost 500,000 items
- Install 11 new self-check machines throughout the building
- retrofit our automated material handler for RFID tags
- Install new RFID security gates
- Remove a bunch of DVDs and CDs from lockboxes (and get rid of the lockboxes)
- Oh, and put in some new carpet too, while we’re at it!
To get all this done, we’re using our staff (because they are awesome), and we needed to “close the library.” But here’s the deal: our building is (mostly) closed, but the library? Not so much. Here’s what I mean:
- First off, the whole building isn’t closed. You can still use some of our meeting rooms, visit the art gallery, the cafe, or our bookstore.
- Telephone and chat reference is still open.
- The digital branch is open – our website, our library catalog, our social media channels are still running.
- Databases? They’re still available.
- Ebooks? Yep – still available.
- Bookmobiles? Still running.
- Our outreach vehicles? Still going strong.
- WIFI in the building? Still available.
- Computers at local community centers (run by the library) are still available.
- Holds? Still available on bookmobiles and through our book locker in one of the community centers.
- … and probably some other stuff that I missed.
This actually made signage difficult for us! Some of our signs around the building say “library closed.” And some of them say “library closed, but …” You can see more of our signs here.
So – is the library closed because we closed a building? Nope. Today’s library is much larger than the building.
Awhile back, Joyce Valenza, an assistant professor at Rutgers University (she blogs here and tweets here), asked me and a bunch of others to contribute content on the importance for a librarian to develop “social capital.” Joyce defined “social capital” this way:
How, through your blogs, reviews, tweets, webinars, have you developed friendships with authors and experts and other librarians that you’ve been able to leverage in less-than intangible ways? How has sharing a lot changed your position in your community, or, perhaps, led to speaking gigs and requests to publish? How do you digitally mentor and in what ways do you experience a return on those kind investments? How do you serve as a network bridge? How do you build and nurture ties weak and strong? How has the digital building of social capital benefited you either personally and professionally? (from Joyce’s email to me).
Here’s how Wikipedia defines Social Capital:
… social capital is the expected collective or economic benefits derived from the preferential treatment and cooperation between individuals and groups. Although different social sciences emphasize different aspects of social capital, they tend to share the core idea “that social networks have value”.
Interesting concept, huh?
Here’s what I sent back to Joyce as my response:
Check out this video of mine on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj0B2RzuyZE – it’s not actually the video that’s important, but the comments. One in particular that happened recently. Melissa Saubers left a comment, inviting me (and my coworking/makerspace group in Topeka) to a conference in the Kansas City area (a cool-sounding co-working conference. Wish I could go!). She’s a coworking space owner in the KC area.
There are a couple of important social capital concepts here:
- The invite, and that particular conference, is potentially really valuable to Topeka. We are creating a combined coworking/makerspace organization, and the library is playing a part in the developmental stages (along with 4-5 other non-profits/colleges in the area).
- I’ve never met Melissa. I’d guess she ran across my video on KC-area makerspaces, is possibly helping to organize the KC event, and sent the invite via a comment because she thought it might be helpful to us.
- The invite would have never happened if I didn’t already have social capital. I’m online, I’m already creating a variety of content and participating in professional-focused conversations. Because of that, and because I made a video with “social wings,” I received valuable info that can help my whole community.
My point? You can’t ignore social media. You can’t “have an account” but not use it much, or just be your “weekend self” and expect to make business connections. But if you actively participate on a variety of social media channels, and include at least a mix of business and personal, then … you just might be able to help your career, your library, and possibly even your community.
Image by Howard Lake