What do you Want from your Facebook Page?

looking closer at Facebook PagesThinking a bit more about my last post on using Facebook ads to actively seek out new fans … Why try to get more fans in the first place?

Another way to ask that – What exactly do you want from a Facebook Page?

Here’s a list of 5 things libraries might want out of a Facebook Page. These five things are a happy convergence of stuff Facebook is good at, and stuff that libraries (and other organizations) might find useful, too. See what you think, and add to my list!

Five things a Facebook Page is good for:

  1. Visibility – the more we interact, the more we are “seen” in Facebook. Which means that more people see our posts about library stuff.
  2. Listening – we share, but we also listen to our customers. They say stuff about us on Facebook! Some good stuff, some bad stuff. It’s a place to answer questions, to field complaints, and to actively ask for input. For free.
  3. Advocacy – this one’s huge, and should be a constant. Share good stuff about the library, and point out when we see customers saying good stuff about us.
  4. Purposeful Engagement – why gather a crowd if you don’t ask them to do anything? We should be including Calls to Action in our Facebook Posts, on specific things we want our customers to actually do. That might mean Liking the page, or it might mean attending a movie at the library. We need to start asking … and then measuring results.
  5. Conversions – Doing that Purposeful Engagement thing in #4 can lead to “conversions.” What’s a conversion? Simply stated, a conversion in social media is when your ask turns into their action. For example, if you ask Facebook Page visitors to register for an event at the library (and supply a link to the registration form), and 20 people actually click the link and fill out the form, that equals 20 conversions. Conversions can be measured and improved upon. But the important point here – you WANT conversions. You want to drive your Facebook Page visitors and fans to actually DO something – to interact with and engage your library. Conversions provides a way to measure that interaction.

Those are my five things … What are yours?

Photo by Flood

The Social Web and Libraries: Listening to your Community

Many of us work on listening to our user communities. In the library world, we listen at the reference desk and the circ desk. We hear about the library when we’re at the grocery store (and get asked questions, too :-) and at the local board meeting.

But how do you listen to your local digital community? How do you hear what your online customers are doing / saying / liking / or not liking about your library? Here are some possibilities, from the late 1990s – early 2000s. We’ll call these …

Traditional Listening Tools:

  • email: providing an email link and/or an email address on each page of the site, usually in the footer
  • An Ask Us page – can go to email, can also be the ask a librarian service point
  • a digital comment box (this was fancy back then!)

I’m calling them “traditional listening tools” because there are many more interesting ways to listen now. Check these out …

Shiny New Listening Tools:

  • Google Alerts – finds blog posts, newspaper articles, local media mentions, etc.
  • Technorati alerts – finds blog posts about you
  • Twitter searches (was Summize) – captures twitter conversations (more on Summize/twitter search in the next post)
  • Youtube alerts – do a search, then subscribe to the corresponding RSS feed.
  • Flickr alerts – subscribe to a tag related to your library
  • Subscribe to local blogs and local twitter feeds. This captures conversation in your community, by your patrons.

When you listen using both the Traditional Listening Tools and the Shiny New Listening Tools, you hear very different things. Traditional Listening Tools pick up specific conversation that is purposefully directed at you – via email. Someone has a question or comment, and sends that comment to you.

Shiny New Listening Tools help you discover actual conversations taking place. Those conversations are not necessarily directed at you – but they can certainly be about you. Listening in on Twitter, for example, might find things like this: “The comics section at the Seattle Public Library is f**king STUNNING.” (actual tweet from today). And this type of tweet is a golden opportunity to START a conversation. Let’s pretend this comment happened at the reference desk for a sec – how would you reply? Possibly with something like: “gee, thanks.” That’s a polite response… some of us would probably go one further, and say something like this: “Cool – thanks! So… WHY do you like it? How could we improve it?” This type of response continues a conversation, and pulls out useful info in the process.

DO THAT SAME THING IN YOUR SHINY NEW DIGITAL SETTING.

Again, more on that in my next post… but you get the idea. When you’re eavesdropping on conversations, you have the opportunity to chime in – correct wrong info, add to conversations about the library, and generally help humanize your digital branch by “talking back.”

Wow David – That Sounds Time-Consuming!

Does all this listening take a long time? No – not really. The set-up (doing the searches and subscribing to the feeds) takes the longest amount of time. But once your feeds are set up, it really doesn’t take much time to quickly scan through the results, looking quickly for questions, praises, suggestions, and conversation.

Start participating with those customers using your digital branch. If you do this fully, your listening experience can be transformed from one of eavesdropping to what amounts to a shiny new service point for your library. One that’s called Community Manager in the corporate world.

Your customers are already talking – are you listening?

photo: http://flickr.com/photos/practicalowl/433659667/