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

Why Isn’t Your Stuff Getting Read?

Are your library blog posts getting read? If not, here are some possibilities as to why:

Bad content. Simply put, your content might not be all that good to begin with. Maybe it’s stuff you’re interested in, but your patrons don’t share that interest. How to fix it – Why not find out what your patrons are interested in, then write about that?

Poorly written content. Maybe the topic is on-target, but your writing stinks. If your writing is hard to read, guess what? Your patrons probably won’t read it. How to fix it – Why not work on improving your writing skills? Go consult some of those “How to Write” books in your library’s collection. Let the good writers on staff write your blog posts. Use modern web-writing standards.

Your website looks bad. If your website site looks icky, people will assume the content is icky too. How to fix it – update that website. Use a modern CMS like Drupal or WordPress, and use a nice-looking visual template design (or find a talented graphic designer that understands how to design for the web). Make it look as professional as the rest of your library.

Your content is hidden. Is your content hidden under multiple links? Not pulled out in an obvious way so people can find it? If so, that could be the problem. Why? Because your customers aren’t going to hunt for it. How to fix it – pull that content out. Put obvious links on your library’s main page that lead to your great content. Make sure your site is easy to use.

You’re not promoting your content. Maybe your writing is good, the site looks inviting, and your content is easy enough to find – but you’re simply not telling your patrons about it. Instead, you’re playing that passive “oh, I hope How to fix it – promote your blog posts. Instead of making a nice mystery book display in the library, write some short, pithy book reviews. Post those. Then drop the link onto your library’s Facebook Wall, and ask for responses. Ask people to Like it, for their thoughts … which helps spread the joy of your writing into other people’s walls, potentially lead to other comments, etc. Then rinse and repeat.

What would you add?

pic by vial3tt3r