6 Steps for Social Media Success – an article for LIANZA

I just wrote a blog post for the Library and Information Association of New Zealand (LIANZA). You know, because LIANZA is awesome and all.

In the article, I discuss 6 steps for social media success. Here are my 6 steps:

  1. Listen to the chatter
  2. Respond when it makes sense
  3. Friend your community
  4. Be visual
  5. Be speedy
  6. Consistency is a must

Go here to read the whole article – let me know what you think!

Instagram Hacks that will Drive Sales … I mean Checkouts

IMG_6798I recently saw an article on tips for using Instagram to Drive Sales. A lot of the tips are actually pretty relevant to libraries. Let’s look through the tips, and see if anything’s useful for us!

1. Create Call to Actions. Definitely useful – a call to action certainly doesn’t have to be limited to sales! Instagram gives you one actual website link, and it’s found in your profile. Point to things other than your main page sometimes.

Then, in the description box of your image post, ask people to click the link in your profile to … register for the program, check out the book, etc.

2. Increase Exposure by Placing Call to Actions as a Location Extension. This one seems to have limited usefulness to me. Not even sure I really understand it…

3. Add Line Breaks to Your Instagram Captions. This is a way to get your profile to stand out more than other profiles, mainly because the text in your captions looks different. Again, limited usefulness here, since mostly people are scrolling through a bunch of images. But still – every little bit helps.

4. Get More Instagram Followers. Nothing wrong here! We need more followers. The author’s ideas are fine. But we have a built-in audience, so … just ask for them! Use Facebook and Twitter, share a photo, and ask people to Like your Instagram feed. Put up hashtag signs in the building. Mention your account at the beginning of events.

5. Why your “Thanks for following” Test Just Won’t Cut it Anymore. This one seems a bit excessive to me. Direct video messages thanking people for following you? Really? I’d unfriend you. What do you guys think about this one?

6. Add Line Breaks to Your Bio. Another way to get your profile to stand out.

7. Track Your Call to Actions with bit.ly. This is a cool idea. Then again, since Instagram gives you only one link, you can also find conversions simply by using Google Analytics. Check to see if anything came from Instagram. The bit.ly idea will give you an accurate count of clicks, so it’s definitely useful.

8. Talk your Target’s Talk. I definitely agree here. The translation for us is to not use marketing-speak or jargon. Figure out what customers you want to target with your Instagram account, and then use the language they use.

David’s #9. What’s missing in this list? The actual content! Work to make your content compelling enough that it leads your customers to the library, the website, a new service. Visually show off the awesomeness that is the library.

What’s missing? I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them in the comments! And … I’m on Instagram – friend me!

Facebook Events Don’t Work for Organizations

cute grumpy baby doesn't like Facebook EventsMaybe I’m missing something here. But in my experience, Facebook Events don’t work all that well for libraries. Or for many organization-based Facebook Pages.

Why? Because you can’t invite your Facebook Page friends to the event. The “Designated Host” of an Event (usually the creator of the Event) can only invite people from their personal Friends list.

See the problem here? My library’s Facebook Page is friended by 13,000+ people who live in Topeka. I’d love to invite them.

Instead, I have to invite my personal Facebook friends. Which are a weird mix of you guys, my family, other librarians, high school and college friends, some local friends, some vendor acquaintances, and some people I work with.

For the most part, not people living in Topeka.

Sure, once created, I can Share the Event on the library’s Facebook Page. I can even pay for ads for the Event (which is what Facebook really wants you to do with Events).

Does that make sense? Nope. Not really.

Instead of creating a Facebook Event, do this instead:

  • Create a normal Facebook Page post that includes a link to the Event page on your website.
  • Pay a little money to Boost the post.
  • Pin the post to the top of your Facebook Page.

And have fun at your event.

Cute baby pic by Branden Williams

Social Media Best Practices

Tips!Ever wish a social media company like Facebook or Twitter would tell you the best way to post on their site?

Well – you’re in luck! Most social media companies want to embrace the business user (that’s you), and have some sort of best practices that they share.

Here’s a listing of current Best Practices for popular social media sites:

Now you have no excuse – read up, and make those posts ROCK!

Tips image by Rachael Voorhees

How Often Should You Post to Social Media?

I’m often asked “how often should we post to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc.?” I pretty much always say the same thing (I’ll give my response in a sec).

First, read these two articles. The have really different takes on the question “how often should I post?”:

I’d agree with the second article. The first article is based on average posting frequency research. For example, one study they mentioned looked at thousands of tweets from brands, and found that 2-3 tweets per day gained the highest engagement levels. Fine research, but the article then says “ok, so do 3 posts a day in Twitter.”

I’m not certain that’s the best conclusion. It’s like doing research on how tall people are. You might find out that the average height of a male is 5’9″. Then, based on that average height, you’d tell clothing companies to make pants to fit a 5’9″ man in order to sell the most pants.

You see the problem, right (I certainly do, since I’d be wearing high water pants!)?

 

Second, here’s how I answer the question “How often should I post?”:

  1. Post more than you’re currently posting. For most libraries, this advice works great. Why? They don’t have a dedicated posting schedule, or posting goals. Or they post sporadically. Maybe no one posted last month. Sometimes I say post enough to look alive in that social media tool, so at least once per day.
  2. Figure out your organization’s optimal posting frequency. Start experimenting with posting more, then look at engagement rates, daily unlikes (on Facebook), etc. and adjust accordingly. Or, just ask your social media followers if they want more or less from you, then go with the flow.

The real answer? It varies by organization and by social media tool. How often do you post? Is it enough? Please share!

Cool numbers image by Denise Krebs