Social Media Skills for Librarians

Last week, I gave a presentation at McGill’s Web2PointU Symposium – a cool conference run by students of the School of Information Studies at McGill University.

During that presentation (you can find my slides here), I mentioned new skills that information professionals need to successfully run social media for their organization. That list included these things:

  • The normal mad librarian skills (fill in the blank here). Searching, reader’s advisory, research, etc. These “traditional” skills can easily be used in a modern online setting.
  • Web and social media skills. As in, being an expert end user. It’s hard to be an expert in Google searching if you don’t really know all the bells and whistles of Google searching, for example (and yes, I’ve known librarians who really couldn’t use basic online search engines well, let alone a web browser). The same thing goes for social media tools – you won’t be very successful at running the library’s Twitter account if you don’t really “get” Twitter.
  • Writing skills. Most of us learned how to write in school. Unfortunately, we learned how to write business letters and academic papers. Guess what? That’s not how we should write on the web. If you want to start a conversation, you need to use a conversational writing style. If you want readers to quickly grasp your content, use some of those writing tips I mentioned in my article Writing for the Mobile Web.
  • Photo and video skills. Social media is very visual. Take a peek at Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, Slideshare, Vine, Flickr, Youtube, Vimeo, etc. All include photos and videos. That means YOU need to be able to create photos and videos that quickly communicate to your organization’s social media crowd.
  • Networking. Social media IS networking. Today’s librarian needs to be good at talking to a crowd – online and in-person.
  • Marketing & promotion. Part of your social media duties include sharing the cool stuff your library is doing.

What would you add? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Facebook is 10 Years Old!

Wow – how’d that happen? Facebook is 10 years old today. Happy birthday, Facebook!

Yesterday, I saw some interesting stats about Facebook from the Pew Research Center. Here are some of them, with my thoughts included:

57% of all adults use Facebook. That’s a LOT of people. Think about that statistic locally – it means that over half of YOUR community is using Facebook. That means that your organization should be actively using Facebook, since it’s a primary communication and hangout tool for over half of your community.

64% of Facebook users visit the site daily. That means your organization’s Facebook Page should post daily, too. On Facebook, you’re not seen if you don’t post – so post!

Major reasons to use Facebook – sharing and laughs. Share a mix of fun and useful content, and your network will respond (i.e., comment, like, share, etc). Because they LIKE to respond – that’s what you DO on Facebook.

Half of all adult Facebook users have more than 200 friends in their network. If one of them decides to share your content, that content will be seen by people outside your library’s Facebook network. That’s the power of Facebook sharing – it can really stretch beyond your normal Facebook boundaries.

Check out the article – good info there!

Facebook logo by Sharon Mckellar

Online Video for 2013

The Pew Internet & American Life Project recently released their Online Video 2013 Report. Interesting stuff.

Here’s what I found interesting – lots of info, including:

  • 78% of American adult Internet users watch or download online videos (I thought it would be more, but that’s still a LOT of video being watched!).
  • 31% upload or post videos online. Again, wow!
  • 18-29 year olds do more – 41% of them upload or post videos.
  • What’s watched the most? Comedy, educational, How-to, and music videos.
  • Why? social media and mobile. Makes it easy to post and share and watch quick videos wherever.

How about video using mobile devices? Among adult cell phone owners:

  • 41% use their phones to watch video
  • 40% use their phones to record video
  • 20% use their phones to post videos online (that’s lower probably because doing so is handy, but it kills the battery!)
  • 45% of all adult internet users watch videos on social networking sites (57% of ages 18-49)
  • US adults – 91% own some kind of cell phone, at 56% own a smartphone

OK David – what’s this mean?

  • Start making good, useful (and fun) videos, and your customers will start watching them.
  • Share those videos in your social media channels – those customers are waiting for fun content to engage with (i.e., share, like, or comment).
  • Whatever you make, make sure it works well on mobile devices. So keep the video short, and the visuals and sound BIG (big enough to be clearly seen and heard on a smartphone).

What else? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

 

Tidy up your Twitter Followers

I recently went through my library’s Twitter followers and “cleaned up” our follower list. What was I looking for? Mainly, that we are following people living in our service area. Here’s what I did:

First off, I used FriendorFollow. It’s a pretty handy tool that shows, among other things, who follows you, who doesn’t follow back, etc.

Then, I went through our list of Twitter followers, one at a time, and friended these types of a accounts:

  • Do they live in Topeka or Shawnee County?
  • Do they seem to live in Kansas, and do we share some Twitter friends (another indicator that they are in our service area)?
  • If they mention Topeka or Kansas in their bio or recent tweets
  • regional businesses (probably have employees in our service area)

If they met these criteria, I friended them back.

I unfriended some accounts, too. Here’s what I unfriended:

  • If they haven’t tweeted in over a year – that indicates they don’t actively use the account
  • If they never tweeted
  • If their account is private
  • If they don’t live in our service area

So – I ended up unfriending some libraries, some librarians, some people who had moved out of the area, and some celebrities that we had friended. Not in our service are? We dump em.

What did that achieve? Hopefully, more interaction. More followers that might actually be interested in their local library and what we tweet. And several hundred more followers that we are connected to!

That’s what I did – do you ever clean up follower lists in your organization’s Twitter or Facebook accounts? If so, what do YOU look for? Please share!

Image from Michael Sauers