Attracting Friends, Part 3: Facebook

This is part 3 (or really part 4 or 5) of my slowly-growing series on organization-based friending in social networks. Here’s what I have so far:

Now, on to Facebook. How do you attract friends using Facebook? You really have to think of your organization two different ways with Facebook – think in terms of organizations and of people. Organizationally, you can create Pages and Groups. Personally, you can create an individual Facebook account that you use professionally.

For example, one of our Youth Services librarians has created a personal Facebook account specifically to connect with our teen audience. It’s working – she’s gathered over 500 friends – mostly teens in Topeka. And she uses the account to push out stuff to that group.

Ideas on attracting friends in Facebook:

  • search for local people, request to friend them
  • friend local Facebook Pages – businesses, authors, etc.
  • Advertise your Facebook Page outside of Facebook (i.e., website, twitter, myspace, email newsletter, etc)
  • Business cards with Facebook contact info at a public services desk, passed out at programs
  • Teach a class on Facebook
  • Create a Facebook Ad to advertise your Page to other Facebook users (there’s a cost attached)
  • Leave those business cards at place local Facebook users hang out, like coffee shops
  • Have good content on your page – send your blog there, add some photos that connect to flickr, same with youtube
  • photos and visuals are important – helps you look more real
  • Especially for people using a personal Facebook account – interact with your Facebook friends!

What else? How do you attract friends using Facebook?

Attracting Friends, Part 2: Twitter

In my last post, Attracting Friends, Part 1, I discussed how to attract friends for your library social networks generally … by doing the hard work. Now on to the specific tools – how do you find and attract friends, as an organization, using Twitter? Here are some ideas:

  • use local services like TwitterLocal or TwitterMap [dead now – removed the link] to discover local twitter users, and subscribe to their feed. Say hi. Interact with them. They won’t friend you if they don’t know you’re there.
  • put a Twitter chicklet on your site. You can use a chicklet that does a specific thing, like TwitterCounter (shows the number of people following you – I have an example on my site), or a generic chicklet/graphic link that simply announces that you use twitter. Go one better, and say “follow me on Twitter” in your link/chicklet. This announces that you’re looking for followers.
  • Does your organization have accounts set up in other social networks, like Facebook, flickr, or YouTube? Mention your Twitter account on those other profile pages.
  • Do local media/businesses use twitter? Connect with them. For example, in Topeka, my twitter friends include some tv news anchors and the general manager of a local news station. Connect with them, and start talking. Others that have connected with them will notice, and maybe follow you.

What am I missing? Please share!

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

Attracting Friends, Part 1

A couple posts ago, I suggested that libraries stop friending other libraries and to focus instead on their local community. (aside – If you need/want to connect with other librarians, that’s great – make your own personal account for that).

Now, on to how? What are the different ways one can friend others in popular social networking sites, and how can you find and attract friends in each? That’s a bit more difficult, and takes a bit more work. I’ll take a couple of posts and give some pointers (and would love for you to join in and suggest your own idea,s too!).

Here are some general ideas that work for most of the new social networking tools:

  • Setting goals (have I mentioned this one enough?). You need to figure out what you want to achieve with your twitter/facebook/etc account. Do this first!
  • Focus on a target audience – it might help to focus on a target audience, rather than to focus on a generic “patron.”
  • Be human, instead of a stuffy organization. @Zappos and @Timbuk2 do this well in Twitter – when you send them a question or comment about their product, you generally get a real, live person replying, being helpful, answering questions, etc. (hmm… that sorta sounds like a reference librarian).
  • Good content rules! Make interesting posts/tweets/updates
  • Advertise/promote it! Think business cards in the library, articles in the library newsletter, etc.
  • Link to it on your website, and explain what it is and why I should care.
  • Find out where people who use these tools hang out, and go there. And post flyers, pass out cards with your social networking info on it, etc. in those establishments (I’m thinking bulletin board in a coffee shop here).
  • Teach classes on the tool. Show attendees how to set up an account, and how to follow the library. Instant followers!
  • Even better – do the same thing at a local chamber brown bag lunch or other business oriented gathering. Show them how the library can meet real needs via these tools.
  • Library programs/events? Take the first 2 minutes and push it there.
  • Colleges/high schools nearby? Put an ad in their newspapers.
  • How about a local newspaper or local magazine? Put an ad there or check into writing an article for them (better yet, a weekly tech column).

You might have noticed that most of my suggestions on getting friends for social networking tools … doesn’t involve using the tool to make friends. Instead, it’s all about YOU leaving the library and meeting your community. Getting out of the building. Actively introducing your community to these tools. Or even talking to peole inside your library that you notice use the tools.

That’s the hard part – lots of walking and talking and meeting people, physically and digitally. But it will pay off.

Next post – I’ll look at some specifics of finding friends by using the tools – Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Flickr.

Now – on to your ideas. How do you get friends with social networking tools? Have I left off anything?

photo credit

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