Creating Community & Driving Engagement #BEABloggers

bea bloggersThis was my panel session. I shared the panel with three fabulous people:

We each submitted questions beforehand. Here’s what I submitted (along with my answers). I focused on video and podcasting. This is what I planned to share – what was actually shared was just a little bit of this (panels tend to take on a life of their own once started, which is cool):

10 video questions

1. what equipment do you need to start making video?

  • you probably already have some type of video recorder: smartphone, digital camera, camcorder, webcam.
  • smartphone for audio recording too
  • any basic digital camera with video recording will work great for starters, or your iphone.
  • Nothing fancy until you are ready for it!

2. what software should I use to edit videos?

  • Your computer comes with great software – Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.
  • Or get Adobe Premier Express or Apple’s Final Cut Pro – $100-300 or so.

3. what type of content should be in my video?

  • Thinking author here…
  • promotional video about your new book. Duh. Maybe a series of them!
  • short video about writing process
  • short video about a fun plot twist or character development
  • just a “I’m touching base with my readers” video
  • what are you excited about? Share that.

4. How about podcasting – what’s that, and how is it different from video?

  • Podcasting – audio; video = video. Some people call videos video podcasts.
  • podcasting goes on your iphone, in itunes. Video, not so much.

5. Where should I store my videos or podcasts?

  • Videos – Youtube.
  • Podcasts are harder. Start out with a free tool like Soundcloud. Then you can up that to Libsyn or Blubrry – monthly charge.
  • Videos – might also think about Viddy or Socialcam.

6. What do I do with my videos and podcasts once I upload them?

  • Never just keep them at Youtube! Well, unless you’re Justin Beiber or something.
  • Put them on your blog.
  • Social media – Twitter and Facebook.
  • LinkedIn? Tumblr? Wherever your followers are.

7. How can I make my videos more social? How do I engage viewers or listeners?

  • ASK. Ask for comments. Ask questions. Look at the camera.
  • example – ebooksforlibraries! We asked for petitionn signers. We got em.
  • Youtube – include annotations that point to subscribe, Like, Favorite. Other videos.
  • Make commenting easy – have them on your blog.
  • Ask for specifics – i.e., here are my top 5 – what are yours?

8. Do videos need to be scripted out? I’m not an actor!

  • Depends. Are you good at winging it or talking? Then probably not.
  • scripted Karl out for ebooksforlibraries
  • If you’re like me, you need at least an outline to keep you on track.
  • Edit out the ums and ahs. It’s video/audio, after all.
  • No, you’re not an actor. Just be you. People WANT to hear from you – they buy your books, don’t they?

9. How long should my videos and podcasts be?

  • Videos – under 3 minutes. The shorter the better!
  • Podcasts – can be longer. Think drive time or exercise time length.
  • If you’re interesting, they can be longer. You’ll see dropoff rates in Youtube analytics…

10. OK – I’m making videos and podcasts. How do I take them to the next step?

  • Video – lighting, mics, cameras. Upgrade when you hit a wall (and have the money)
  • Podcasts – mics.
  • Both – content. Make it better! Include your audience! Ze Frank is a great example of including audience in his video series.

Our Communicating Customers

Big ad on our website for the new library catalogMy library’s in the process of switching ILS systems – we just moved from SirsiDynix Horizon to a Polaris system (to all you non library types out there, I’m talking about our Library Catalog).

We just went live with the new system on May 23, and as you can imagine, it’s taking a couple of days to bring everything up, and get all the parts and pieces working like they should. It’s a huge, complex software/hardware switch, and it’s been a very smooth move, all things considered (mainly because we have awesome, great staff – they rock!).

We have two primary ways that customers can talk to us about the new catalog (well, discounting actually visiting the library and talking to us, and using the phone): an email form and through social media.

We set up an email feedback form that you can see in the catalog, and our customers are using it. So far, we’ve had maybe 20 or so customers communicate their love of the new catalog, their dislike of the “new thing,” or a specific problem with their account. Useful stuff.

Social media has been quite interesting!

First, I wrote a blog post about the catalog, complete with a short video. This post has received about 35 comments so far. Customers asking questions, and me responding to them.

Via Twitter, we have received some nice praise and good comments, including:

  • “Awesome! I’ve been hoping for this a very long time!”
  • “Can’t wait!”
  • “Good luck with the migration1 Bet the new catalog will be awesome!”
  • “We’re excited about the new catalogue! Not surprised that there are some hiccups.”

Facebook has been interesting, because some conversations were started by our customers.

This morning, one of our customers posted this: “Has anyone gotten into the new catalog?” And two people had a conversation about the catalog, about some of the third party things connected to the catalog (like our DVD Dispenser), and what was working/not working.

Since I’m one of the admins of our Facebook Page, I saw those conversations, and was able to answer their questions.

We also instigated some conversations. Yesterday, we posted this: “Today’s upgrade day & most upgrades to the catalog have been made. A few kinks are still being worked out, but you can now explore catalog.tscpl.org – and tell a friend! (Same goes for Facebook. We know you can use your influence to get us a few “likes,” right?;)”

… and that got us 25 Likes :-). And a couple more questions, too – which I answered via Facebook.

Why mention this? I find it fascinating to see conversations about library catalogs taking place via social media. 10-12 years ago – last time I helped with an ILS switch – I don’t remember seeing much customer feedback (though I’m sure someone got an earful). We didn’t se up email feedback forms, and social media pretty much didn’t exist yet. This time around, customers are helping each other, asking questions and tagging us … and I’m able to see them. And help. And hear.

Amazing.

Poking Around in YouTube Insights

youtube logoA couple of days ago, I was poking around in my library’s YouTube account – generally tidying up the place, adding some info to video descriptions, etc (more on that in a future post perhaps). While doing that, I started looking at our YouTube Insights (that’s what YouTube calls statistics or analytics), and discovered some neat stuff.

And I thought I’d share. The stats are from Jan 1 , 2011- Oct 23, 2011). I created four “Big Insights” that I noticed, and each insight has a Takeaway. See if you can add some takeaways or insights to my list!

Big insight #1: Most people watching our videos are coming directly from YouTube.

  • 32,929 from youtube – almost 70%
  • embedded player – 8657 – 18%
  • mobile devices – 5223 – 10.9%
  • youtube channel page – 985 – 2%

Takeaway: Youtube is its own community. If we want to grow engagement (ie., get more comments, video views, likes, etc), we need to start interacting there. Only 18% of our total video views come from the “embedded player” – which means people watching our videos from the library’s website.

Big Insight #2: Tags are really important!

Links followed to this video – 28% (13,471). This means that someone was watching a video in Youtube, glanced over at the Related Videos sidebar, and clicked on one of our videos.

Takeaway: fill up the Tags box for each Youtube video (found on the Video Information page), and use very descriptive Keywords. Doing this will help your videos be found.

Big Insight #3: Post videos about what you do.

Most viewed videos for that time range:

  • 60 second book review – meditations for women
  • interview with a photographer
  • local history info
  • our really old mysteries of the book depository
  • The mayor playing his guitar for our Air Guitar event
  • rhyme and bounce, a toddler/baby video

Takeaway: See any similarities with these videos? Me neither. The one similarity is this: all those videos focus, in one way or antoher, on our stuff. So the takeaway here (besides making good, short, watchable videos) is to consistently share what your library does via video. If you can set up a regular schedule, that’s even better.

Big Insight #4: Community exists on Youtube!

Our video viewer demographics:

  • 51% male, 49% female
  • largest age range segments – 35-44, 45-54, 55-64
  • Sharing, ratings, comments, favorites – all very low, even though we have 190 subscribers and 188,140 lifetime video views (since March 6, 2007).

Takeaway #1: Our videos are appealing to adults, so we should consider that as we continue making videos.

Takeaway #2: People are there – in Youtube – watching our videos. We need to start answering comments consistently, subscribing to other local organizations channels, and grow our community base in Youtube (if we want interaction, video views, and sharing of our videos).

What’s my ultimate point here? Use your Youtube insights – there’s some great information there. And start interacting with your Youtube community.

Oh, and make videos, too – that helps :-)

image by ukberri

Meta Social: Online Interactions & how to make them ROCK

Here’s my presentation from today’s Handheld Librarian III web conference. It was a fun talk, and a great conference – lots of good food for thought.

Enjoy!

Excerpt of Chapter 5 up at Webjunction

my book arrivedWebJunction recently excerpted chapter 5 of my new book in this article: Designing the Digital Experience: What is Community?

Here’s an excerpt of the excerpt:

Chapter 5 – What Is Community Focus?

What exactly is community focus, and how does it facilitate experiences in the digital space? To answer these questions, let’s consider what community focus means in the context of physical spaces, such as in a town hall meeting. In such meetings, people are focusing on one another: listening, sharing opinions, and discussing community needs. This type of interaction allows community members to voice opinions and concerns, providing a voice for the community. In this context, we can say community focus is an emphasis on participants’ ideas, concerns, and interactions.

The town hall meeting is just one example; people obviously hold many different types of meetings, from religious gatherings to departmental business meetings to family reunions. We tend to think meetings are important. Why is that? Because we find conversation important, and meeting together facilitates conversation.

Conversation inherently facilitates something else, too. It allows us to interact with members of our community with whom we wouldn’t normally interact or even know. This type of interaction allows us to feel as if we are participating in the “grand scheme of things.” The challenge, then, is to usher community into our digital space.

Go read the rest of the excerpt (or buy the book :-) ).