6 Tips on Going Viral

Last week, my library posted a Youtube video for National Library Week that went “viral.” No, not millions of views viral, but over 100,000 views in a week viral. Which is pretty big for us!

That’s not our most watched video ever … yet. I’m pretty sure it will make that in a week or two. But it is our most viral video to date, meaning that it spread around the web pretty fast, and was reposted in quite a few places with larger audiences.

How did we do it? That’s a good question, and ultimately it’s hard to predict what will “go viral” and what won’t. That said, there are definitely some ways to make your videos better, which will help get your video viewed by more people.

6 Tips on Going Viral:

  1. Start with great content. You have to start with the content. It has to be well-done and interesting enough for people to watch for 1-3 minutes, and then want to share with their social media friends.
  2. Create something that makes sense to your viewers. Our video was written from the customer’s point of view, which helped it be interesting to more than just a librarian audience. This isn’t always the case for truly viral videos (triple rainbow, anyone?), but it certainly can’t hurt!
  3. Have a hook. Or 2. Or 3. By “hook,” I mean have something in the video that catches people’s attention. This video had several: It was done for National Library Week (captured a library industry audience); we used people in our community (captured a local audience); and we inserted a ton of Taylor Swift “easter eggs” in the video (captured Taylor Swift fans).
  4. Give extra attention to audio and lighting. Again, the goal is not Hollywood quality – we are a library, after all! But to the best of your ability, make sure your audio, lighting, and video is good enough that it doesn’t detract from the content of the video.
  5. Use people who don’t mind being “in front of the camera.” We’re libraries, so we’ll probably use library staff in the video, which is great! However – have you ever watched a library video that was sorta painful? Bad singing, obviously reading a script, very nervous, etc? Believe me, I know – I’ve made some of those myself! There’s an easy way to fix that. I’ll bet you have some library staff who do better behind the camera (writing, filming, helping out), and some who do well in front of the camera. Use appropriately! Also think about training staff to be in front of the camera, or maybe partner with a local theater group.
  6. Push it everywhere. We published our video on Monday morning. Then we posted it to our website and pushed it hard on Facebook and Twitter pretty much the rest of the week. We even used a couple of hashtags (#NLW15, #swifties, and #taylorswift) to attract more viewers. All that sharing helped a lot.

If you follow these 6 simple tips, will this guarantee your video will go viral? No. It’s hard to say what will capture the attention of a bunch of people for 2 minutes!

But if you follow these six simple tips, you will definitely improve your videos. That’s always a good thing.

Image by John Harwood

Instagram at the Library

Awhile back, I mentioned that my library has an Instagram account, and talked about managing multiple Instagram accounts.

Here’s what we’re actually doing with our Instagram account. I’d love to hear your library’s plans and goal for your own Instagram accounts – so please share them!

For starters, we’re using Instagram because people in Topeka are using Instagram. An easy way to discover this is to notice what local businesses are doing.

For example, if you enter a local restaurant, or get a flyer in the mail advertising a local business, Instagram will probably be one of the social media icons they will mention. That always tells me that locals are using it. I figure if local businesses are pushing it, that means their customers are using it … which means my library’s customers are using it too!

Right now, we have about 8 people on our Instagram team, and 2 loose goals:

  1. Show off the library as cool, helpful, and inspired
  2. Inspire customers to use the library

What do we post?

  • What’s happening at the library right now
    • i.e., it’s snowing, crowded rooms, people having fun, what are the teens doing, etc.
  • Behind the scenes – photos of staff, working on a new area, etc.
  • Library content – new books, what’s on the shelf, staff book favorites, etc.
  • Fun things, like #bookfacefriday images with our books

Who do we follow?

  • Our customers and local organizations

Do we post every day? No – we post when we find something interesting to take a picture of.

What are you doing with Instagram? Let me know!

Image from Jose Moutinho

Fun Interview – Check it out!

Angela!I was recently interviewed by Angela Hursh, the Content Team Leader for the Marketing Department at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Angela has a cool new blog called Content Marketing for Libraries.

Go subscribe to it right now!

Anyway … it was a fun interview. Here are the questions she asked me. If you want to see my answers, you have to visit her blog!

The questions:

  1. It amazes me that, even today, libraries have an image of being stodgy and traditional. I think there are so many libraries doing amazing, forward-thinking things. So we obviously have a promotion problem, individually and as an industry. How can we do a better job at spreading the word about the cool things happening in the library space?
  2. What’s the biggest marketing problem libraries tell you they are having right now?
  3. Share your top three tips for improving a library website.
  4. Social media still seems to intimidate many libraries. Can you give three tips for libraries looking to take their social media game to the next level?
  5. You’ve written a book about using social media as a tool to make customer connections. Why is it so important to libraries to connect with their cardholders?
  6. Many library marketers have told me they just don’t have time to do all the things they want to do. You do a lot… you have your full-time job, your blog, your speaking engagements, and your personal life. How do you manage it all? Do you have some tips on time-management?
  7. What’s an emerging technology trend that libraries and particularly library marketers need to pay attention to?
  8. You worked a lot of jobs before landing in the library world… and you’ve stayed here for a long time. What’s so great about working for a library?
  9. What book are you reading right now?
  10. If you could send a message to yourself ten years ago (in 2005), what would you say?

Enjoy!

Picture from Angela Hursh’s Twitter account

Use a Different Browser for Work Stuff

using two browsersMy last post talked about some tools to use when managing multiple Instagram accounts. When I was writing that post, I realized that I had another tip to share … here it is!

And it’s an easy one. Use separate browsers for work and personal stuff. This works great for me. For example, I’m logged into my personal Google account (for gmail, Google plus, Google Apps, etc.) all the time at work. I use Chrome for that. Chrome is also hooked into Facebook, my personal Twitter account, etc. – pretty much anything “me related” goes on Chrome.

For work-related web tools, I use Firefox. This gives me an easy way to log into separate social media accounts at the same time. For example, I can be logged into work and personal Twitter accounts, or work and personal Google accounts at the same time. No logging out of one and into the other one.

So – a simple tip that might work for you. Have any other tips to share? Please do!

 

Managing Multiple Instagram Accounts

screenshot of fotogramme app on my iphoneI recently created an Instagram account for my library (and you can find my own Instagram account here, if you’re interested).

So far, we are having fun with it! I’m in the process of planning (i.e., gathering a team and setting up our first meeting), and we’ll be setting some goals for 2015. More on that later.

After creating the library’s account, I quickly noticed a problem. It’s sorta awkward managing multiple Instagram accounts on my iPhone. If I want to do something on the library’s Instagram account – post a photo or manage the account (i.e., follow people or respond to comments) – I have to log out of my own account and then log into the library’s account, and then back again.

Thankfully, there are some web and app-based tools to help manage multiple Instagram accounts:

  1. Fotogramme: Fotogramme is an Instagram management iPhone app with multiple account support. It allows me to view photos, post Likes and comments, manage followers, and Favorite users and hashtags for easier recall. It also sends alerts to my iPhone, so I know when there’s activity on the library’s Instagram account.
  2. iconosquare: Iconosquare is a web-based tool that lets you manage an Instagram account. It allows you to browse and comment or like photos, and manage your Instagram accounts comments. But the best part of Iconosquare are the statistics. It provides a variety of statistics and trends on your photos, followers, likes, and follower interaction.
  3. unfollowers: This is a handy tool to quickly manage followers. For both Twitter and Instagram, it shows you who’s following you, who unfollowed you, etc. It can help you figure out who to follow. I’m playing with the free version, which limits the activity you can do on a given day. But still – it’s easy to use, and cheap ($6.90 per month for one account) if we wanted to actually pay for it.

What’s missing from each of these tools? Actually taking photos. So yeah – I still have to take a photo, log out of my Instagram account, then log into the library’s account. And then back out again so I don’t post to the wrong account. But the management and statistics help is appreciated.

Here are a couple of articles that mention these and similar Instagram tools:

Have anything else that helps you manage your organization’s Instagram accounts? Please share!