A visual Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell

face2face at inc.comMy new book, Face2face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections, was just mentioned in this Inc.com article – Better Social Media Strategy: Show, Don’t Tell. Sweet!

In the article (sort of an author interview type article), I provide five tips on communicating with your organization’s customers using visual social media tools like Pinterest, Facebook photos, and Instagram.

Here are my five tips to create great visual communication that are mentioned in the article:

  1. Show your stuff
  2. Show your staff
  3. Get close
  4. Great lighting is key
  5. Make your photos helpful to customers

Each point is explained in more detail at Inc.com, so go read the article for more information (and thanks, Marla Tabaka, for the mention!).

And if you like that info … remember to buy my book!

 

Don’t be Pinterest Support!

Pinterest Support

Great. Ok, so my library has a techie problem with Pinterest. It screws up links from our catalog. Other places read them fine, but not Pinterest. So I thought “hey – I’ll try out Pinterest support,” and see what happens.

Well.

My first attempt wasn’t a good one. I submitted my ticket, and was immediately sent a link to the “here’s how to create a PIN, dummy” link (ok – they didn’t really say “dummy” – but they might as well have said that). Then they added this: “If you’re writing about another issue, please submit a new ticket under the right topic to get help as quickly as possible.”

Again, assuming I’m the dummy who posted my support ticket in the wrong place. Hmm.

Not terribly helpful, but ok. So I just tried again. This time, they immediately emailed back with this:

“A list of known issues we’re already working on is available here” … And guess where that link took me? Yep – you guessed it. To the page in the screenshot above – a 404 error page!

Moral of the story (a couple of them):

  • Do better tech support than Pinterest (this will not be hard).
  • Don’t call your customers dummies. Implied or in-their-faces.
  • If you automatically email a web page with support info to your customer, make sure the link actually works.

Yikes!

Visual is In – Are You into Visual?

me, giving a visual thumbs up to visual!Two huge social media sites have been mentioned in the news in the last couple of weeks: Pinterest and Instagram:

What’s going on? Why are these two sites so hot right now? Well… it’s because of this:
  • Pinterest = visual
  • Instagram = visual
  • Facebook = visual (depending on what you do with your status update)
  • Youtube = visual
  • etc.

Visual is in. Why? Because you visually “get it” immediately. It takes seconds to look at a photo and understand what’s going on. It’s very easy to look and like … and then click through to the meat of the post/site/message/video/etc if the visual carrot being displayed is interesting enough to make you click.

Is your website visual? Do you use visual parts and pieces to get people interested in your stuff? If not, you should maybe take a hint from the growing popularity of visual-based sites, and … add some things to look at.

Some visual starter ideas:

  • blog post – add an image that relates to the post. The image can help some people “get” the post better (I’ve had people tell me that about the images I use in my blog posts).
  • Video post – make a short video, showing off a new thing in your library. Videos are easy to watch and share. Since the video is usually embedded into a site, there’s a visual component, too. Do video well, and people will stick around (and hopefully click around, too).
  • Facebook – add an image of that packed program. This visually shows popularity – much better than having someone type “the event was really well-aattended.”
  • Twitter – tweet links to your photos and videos.
  • Pinterest, Instagram – start experimenting, and figure out how (or if) you can use one or both of these for your organization. I’ll bet you can.
  • Websites – add photos and graphics. That’s what we try to do on our website, and our customers love it (they’ve told me that numerous times).

How are you making your website visual? Adding visual elements to social media?

Pinterest for Libraries – what we’re doing

I recently helped set up a Pinterest account for our library (and by “help” I mean that I created the account. Most of the work so far has been done by Jeff Tate, our Digital Branch Librarian, and our fine group of staff participating in the pilot project).

What have we done so far? Here’s a list of our goals and process to date, and a list of a few “best practice” tips we’ve discovered along the way:

Goals and process:

  • Goal: focus on the library, on things our customers might be interested in, and on “local.”
  • Goal: focus on things that make people “click”
  • Goal for each board – at least 9 pins a week.
  • For staff – wear your “library hat” – think like “the library” rather than an individual when pinning something
  • We set up 16 boards for starters, each with at least one staff member in charge of it (most of the boards have a team of 2-3 staff).
  • The boards we set up, for the most part, match up to our neighborhoods in our physical library and on our website (we have grouped subject areas together into neighborhoods, i.e., the Travel neighborhood, the Cooking Neighborhood, etc. Each has a physical collection and a blog).
  • We will soon have a link to our Pinterest account from the main page of our website
  • Write a short, “tweetable” blurb for each pin you create.
Useful Tips:
  • I used a group email (we use Microsoft Exchange/Outlook for email) when setting up the account, and assigned everyone participating in the pilot project to the email group. That way, everyone sees likes, pins, follows, comments, etc  that happen in Pinterest.
  • When creating a new board, fill it up with 9 things – this way, the board doesn’t look “empty” [like my personal Pinterest account looks :-) ]
  • Pinning books from our catalog is great – but it’s also a multi-step process. First, you need to find a bookcover pic and Pin that (because Pinterest Pins focus on images). Once you have the pic, you can then add in the direct URL to the book’s catalog record.

That’s pretty much it. Pinterest is a very simple site … that has taken off like crazy! Like I said, this is a pilot project. Our plan is to use Pinterest for 6 months to see if it works for our library and for our customers. If there continues to be growing interest, we’ll go with it. If interest wains, we’ll kill the project.

More articles on Pinterest and libraries:

What’s your library doing with Pinterest? Let me know!

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