Promoting your Social Media Presence – Signage

Social Media icons
Social Media signage at TopekaLibrary

You’ve seen those “follow us on Facebook” signs at stores and restaurants, right? Or heard a radio dj mention following their radio station’s Twitter account on-air?

Guess what? Libraries can do the same thing!

As a first experiment, my library recently placed two “follow us” signs in our building – one at the main entrance to the library, and one on our administrative office doors (shown in the photo).

Why do this? Easy – it’s a relatively unobtrusive way to tell our customers that we have a social media presence, and that we want them to follow us. It’s also a way to link the physical to the digital – by promoting our digital presence (i.e., our Facebook Page) in our physical presence (i.e., our building).

Where else could we put these signs?

  • Our meeting rooms (maybe a stand-up card on a table)
  • Our cafe (stand-up card there, too)
  • In the stacks, with our books
  • As a background on our public PC monitors (we might do this)

One thing we can improve onKathryn Greenhill mentioned this to me recently – when you make a sign advertising your social media presence, make sure to include a URL or at least your social media name. Otherwise, people might not be able to find you (we were talking about this particular sign)! For example, my library’s full name is Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library … but we’re simply topekalibrary on social media sites. We’ll add that on the next version of the signs.

And a funny – watch the arrangement of your icons! We almost put the Facebook icon first … until someone in our Creative Group mentioned that we were spelling “F You[tube].” Certainly not our intent to tell customers to “F You!”

Like these ideas? Come hear more on November 2 at my ALA Techsource webinar on Facebook Pages! Make sure to register!

Making Connections – the Institutional Version

Last post, I covered things I think about when making personal friend connections in a bunch of social networks I use. I also said “for MPOW, it’s slightly different – I might cover that in another post.” Here’s that other post.

As an institution, who should you friend? Why? This is pretty subjective of course, but here are some general guidelines to get you started:

Friend patrons/customers/members. Friend people living in your service area, or who are likely to use your services. Find them using tools like Twitter’s Find People search or any number of third party search services. Your goal is to share your stuff, your events, and yourselves with other people and organizations who can actually use and benefit your content in  a social network.

If someone friends you, check them out. Look at their posts, look at their bio, and where they’re from. If they live close by, friend them. Then start sharing.

Friend other local organizations. Again, the goal is to share your stuff with other organizations that can potentially partner with you, or otherwise send people your way.

Friend others who are interested in your stuff. Have a local history collection that focuses on a certain individual or era? Friend others who are interested in the same things. This should hold true especially on social networks that focus on multimedia, like Flickr and YouTube.

Other Considerations

Facebook Groups
– these can have a narrower focus, so you might be friending fewer people in a group, especially if it’s more of a niche group. For example, if you have a Facebook Group focused on teens, you’ll want to friend actual teens, rather than just anyone of any age.

YouTube – do your local news media outlets have YouTube accounts? Make sure to friend them, and favorite some of their videos.

Finally, be friend-neutral. Don’t agree with what the person says, or don’t like their content? Remind yourself that this isn’t your personal social network you’re developing, but your organization’s network. And most likeley, you take all shapes and sizes of friend connections.

Further reading: my set of posts on attracting friends, starting with Don’t Friend Me.

What am I missing? Any other groups it might be good to friend? Not to friend?

photo from sausyn

Don’t Friend Me!

do your library friends look like this?Libraries… stop friending me! What???

I’m noticing that when a library decides to start a flickr account, a twitter feed, or create a Facebook page, they naturally want to start “making friends.” So what do they do? They friend me. Or you. Or they friend other libraries.

This is bad.

Why?

Social networks exist to connect with other people, right? When your organization decides, say, to create a Facebook page … who are you trying to connect with? Me? I don’t live in your neighborhood. Another library on the other side of the world? They’re not going to use your services.

Who are you trying to connect with? If you can’t answer this question, take a breather from the web for a couple of days and figure out your answer. Think about it for a sec – you wouldn’t open a new branch if you didn’t know your target audience, would you? Do you invite people to a book group with no idea of what book to read or who the target audience is? I hope not.

It’s the same with social network sites – you need to establish a target audience, and then work on finding that audience. Once you do that, my guess is this – the friends you want to attract probably don’t include me or a library from the other side of the country!

Another way to look at this is from your customers’ point of view. If I use [fill in your favorite social tool here], and I discover your page, one of the first things I might do is check out who your friends are. If they are mainly other libraries, I might decide it’s a librarian thing, and not for me. I’m gone!

Don’t get me wrong. It’s great to get ideas from other libraries, and to spy on their social media tools to see what they’re doing. But if you can, try not to accept too many friend requests from other libraries … or your friend page will look more like an ALA reunion rather than a true reflection of your local community.

Update: This is part of my slowly-growing series on organization-based friending in social networks. Here’s what I have so far: