One Library’s Twitter Strategy

My library has been doing a few different things with our Twitter account the last couple of years, and have finally settled on a Twitter strategy to try for the next 6 months or so.

Who’s connecting with us? Our Twitter followers tend more towards marketers, advertisers, start-up business types, the “activist/we get stuff done” types in town, the 20-40 year old business up-and-comers, and a lot of media types (broadcast, newspaper, and some radio journalists). And a bunch of young geeks.

We are focusing on this type of content:

  • What’s interesting (to the library) right now and why?
  • Library “breaking news”
  • No big sell – share what the library finds interesting
  • Be yourself, be casual, but at the same time remember you represent the library
  • Friend our customers and local businesses
  • In general, try for friendly and helpful, but not pushy.

Posting schedule: We post multiple times a day, every day. We have seven staff members assigned, one on each day. I’m the floater/substitute for when people are sick, on vacation, etc. And I monitor activity, answer the harder questions, and make sure we’re on-target.

How will we know if we succeed? I will measure growth and engagement via the new-fangled Twitter analytics!

That’s our plan. What’s your organization’s Twitter strategy?

Pic by Jeff Turner

Twitter has Analytics!

Timeline Activity - Twitter AdsWay back in 2011, Twitter announced they were starting to offer Analytics for some Twitter accounts. Finally – almost two years later, they are offering analytics to everyone!

Here’s how you access those analytics:

  • Get into your Twitter account (the web version)
  • Click the Settings icon (looks like a gear)
  • Click Twitter Ads (and sign in again. If you haven’t signed up for Twitter Ads, you’ll need to do that first. No cost associated with signing up, so do it for the analytics)
  • Once you’re logged into Twitter Ads, click Analytics (in the black bar at the top of the page)
  • You’re in!

What types of analytics do you get? 

Right now, there are two choices – Timeline Activity and Followers:

Timeline Activity

The Timeline Activity view provides most of the analytics. At the top of the page is a handy graph showing Mentions, Follows, and Unfollows for the last month. Hover over the graph, and you can see a per-day breakdown of those numbers.

Below the graph are Recent Tweets. This shows individual tweets, going back all the way to your first tweet (I think – I scrolled back about a year)!

For each tweet, you can see these analytics:

  • # of Faves
  • # of Retweets
  • # of Replies
  • If there’s a link included in the tweet, you can see how many clicks that tweet received.

For example, I now know my tweet about Twitter analytics (as of last night) was favorited 7 times, retweeted 3 times, and the link included with the tweet was clicked 45 times.

You can also choose which tweets you want to see – All, Best, or Good.

  • Best shows the top 15% of tweets with some level of engagement, going back to August 27 (so, about 10 months).
  • Good shows the top two-thirds of tweets with some level of engagement, in that same timeframe.
  • All shows all tweets in that same timeframe.

This page also includes a CSV download, which provides a list of all tweets with numbers for Faves, Retweets, and Replies.

Followers:

Followers is the second option, and includes some pretty cool stats about your followers. At the top of the page, there’s a graph showing your per-day follower count from day one of your Twitter account. Below that, you are given some interesting topical, location, and gender info, including:

Interests:

Most unique interests – shows the top five most unique interests of your followers. I’m assuming this comes from some data-mining of follower’s Twitter accounts. For my Twitter account, my followers most unique interests are:

  • 39% Biographies and memoirs
  • 11% job search
  • 9% Education news and general info
  • 7% freelance writing
  • 2% geneology (yes, that’s how they spelled it. Oops)

Top Interests:

The top ten interests of my followers, which include:

  • 72% politics and current events
  • 58% book news and general info
  • 56% business and news
  • Etc. Hover over any of the numbers in this section, and you can see a total number for that percentage.

Location:

This shows the top countries and states of my followers (USA, Kansas, New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Massachussets). Also a lot of people from Australia and Canada.

Top Cities:

In my case, they include: Topeka, Wichita, Sydney AU, Melbourne AU, and Perth AU. Alright – you Australians are awesome!

Gender:

45% male, 55% female.

And finally, a Your Followers also Follow list. My followers, unsurprisingly, also follow these Twitter accounts:

So that’s that! Twitter – thanks for the analytics! There’s some really good stuff here!

Five Tips to Reshape your Social Media Plan in 2013


[This is an article I wrote for my book, Face2Face – I thought it would make a great post here, too – enjoy! DLK]

Social media has been around for over ten years. My guess is that by now, your organization is probably involved in some way with social media. Maybe you have created a Twitter or Facebook account. Maybe you even have some friends and fans on those accounts, and you share things with them when you have time.

Let’s rework this in 2013. Social media is now mainstream, and your customers are using it to connect. They connect easily to each other, and since the tool is the same, they’ll find it easy to connect to your organization, too… if you make a few easy-to-do adjustments in your approach to business-facing social media.

Here are five simple adjustments you can make to kick-start your organization’s social media efforts in 2013:

1. Focus on Conversations

First off, let’s focus on conversations. Many organizations and businesses have been using social media status updates as a broadcasting tool. They send out notices of events, sales, or coupons. Possibly, they have used social media as an easy outlet to send out press releases and important corporate announcements.

My new book - Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer ConnectionsGuess what? If your organization focuses primarily on sending out corporate communications, your customers will tune out your organization and unfriend you in a heartbeat. In 2013, instead of using social media as a one-way broadcast tool, work on starting and continuing conversations with your customers.

This will require your organization to do three important things: 1. Listen before you speak. Set up some listening tools (Google alerts and Twitter search alerts are good places to start) to see what your customers are saying about you; 2. Respond, using colloquial, conversational language. This will feel weird if you’re used to more formal marketing-speak. Make it feel like you’re talking to a work colleague at the water cooler – do this, and people will start talking to you. And 3 – figure out what types of conversations YOU want to start. Do some brainstorming on the conversations your organization needs to hear in 2013, and start those conversations.

2. Focus on the Visual

For the most part, many businesses and organizations have been posting text-heavy status updates in their social media accounts. That makes sense in text-based Twitter, but not so much in Facebook. In fact, Facebook best practices show that when you do one simple thing – add a photo or a video to your post – engagement increases by 100% or more.

So get those cameras out of your pockets (yes, that iPhone or Android smartphone makes a great point-and-shoot camera), and start taking photos around the office, the warehouse, or the store. Maybe think about the three most important things that your customers should know about your organization, take photos of that, then share those photos with customers.

3. Focus on Video

That smartphone I just mentioned in #2 is also HD quality video recorder, and we can put it to good use! There’s a reason YouTube is so popular right now – people love watching short videos. Studies show that people engage more with video posts than with text-only posts.

Here’s my guess – most likely, you haven’t made many videos for your organization. If you have created some videos, it probably resembled a TV commercial. That’s not what your customers want to watch. Instead, get to the point immediately – YouTube suggests that the first 15 seconds are critical to connect with viewers. So don’t waste those seconds with titles, fade-ins, and credits.

Just start sharing your main points. Then post that video to two places – YouTube and Facebook. Use YouTube to share in most places, and use the Facebook upload to share with your Facebook page fans. Facebook’s algorithm favors videos uploaded to Facebook, so those will get seen more than a shared YouTube video.

4. Focus on Next Steps

Many times organizations post information to their social media accounts, but don’t include anything for customers to do. They don’t include a next step. Let’s change that in 2013. Make sure that everything you do includes some type of “ask.” That ask can be as simple as asking customers to “friend or fan” a Facebook Page, or the ask might be to click a link that takes them to a new product or a buy-it-now page.

More people will click if you actually ask them to click. Because of this, make sure to provide customers with some next steps, and actually invite them to take that next step. Do that, and your organization will be one step closer to continued engagement with customers.

5. Focus on your Customers!

Finally, most businesses and organizations, believe it or not, don’t actually focus on their customers! Instead, they focus on their stuff, on their showroom floor, or on their sales staff. In 2013, let’s focus on our customers. Engage them in conversation. Ask them if they like what they’re seeing. Ask them to take next steps, and invite them into your organization.

Follow these five simple reshaping steps, and you will be well on your way to having a great 2013 with social media, and with some really engaged customers, too.

pic by Tintin44

Answering some Questions about Social Media

Once in awhile, some of you guys ask me questions via email. Usually, I just answer back in another email. This time, I thought I’d also answer via a blog post – you might find something useful here, too.

The question was about social media – how does your library do it, how is it used, who manages it, etc. Here are the questions and my answers:

1. Should social media responsibilities fall within the scope of public relations and marketing? Who in your library has the responsibility?

In Topeka, our Digital Services Director (that’s me) has oversight of social media. He acts as our library’s digital branch manager. That said, social media is a shared responsibility. Usually, a social media push starts in our Creative Group – a team made up of web, marketing, and public services staff. This team gets a feel for a new service, sets some preliminary goals, and sets up the service for the library. The next step for us is to create a pilot project team made up of public services staff (and the digital services director and possibly a marketing staff member too).

Then we expand as needed. For example, our Facebook team includes 12-15 staff members, mostly public services staff.

2. Is your website managed within your IT department?

Our IT department is part of our digital branch. IT is under the direction of the digital services director. Our web developer and web designer are both part of the IT department, and also part of the Creative Group. They do all the back end development of the site. Most of the content on our website is developed and maintained by other staff in the library (usually public services staff). The digital services director sometimes edits content, and meets with staff to help provide general suggestions and direction for library content. Marketing also helps with this.

3. How do you use social media and your website to engage with your communities?

We use social media to connect with our community by sharing library stuff and staff. “Stuff” includes our materials, events, and services. “Staff” means just what it sounds like – our staff involved in social media work to engage our community. For example, on our Facebook Page, our Facebook team focuses on these areas: readers advisory, current events and trends, and library materials, events, and services. In every post, our goal is to connect and engage with customers (in Facebook, the more engagement you get, the more eyes see your post), to point back to the library, to answer questions as they occur, and to share the library with our online community.

4. How much control of message and brand is important, in contrast with community engagement on the part of many staff throughout your library system?

I can’t say this strongly enough – in social media, you simply cannot control the message. Your customers do. Most modern marketing books, websites, blogs, etc. say that social media is all about engagement. It is probably 90% customer engagement and conversation, and only 10% marketing. If you flip that ratio to 100% marketing, your followers will simply tune you out.

Think about social media like this – who sits at your reference desk? Who runs your programs, classes, and events? The marketing department, or front-line public services staff? Does your marketing department control and edit the conversations taking place at the reference desk? I’m guessing not.

Social media is the same – it’s customer conversations and engagement, just like in your physical buildings. It’s just happening in your “digital building” – on your website and in your social media accounts.

photo by Mixy

3 Ways to be more Social in Social Spaces

Successful posts in social media spaces like Twitter or Facebook are the more social, friendly posts (at least for my library, anyway). How can you be more “social” in those spaces? here are three ways to do it:

  1. Think “Business Casual.” Anyone like that formal, stilted, edited to the max writing style that appears on brochures and markety emails from businesses? Nope – didn’t think so. That type of language doesn’t help you connect to the organization, does it? So don’t do that. Instead, try to make your photos, videos, blog posts, and status updates more “business causal.” How do you do that? Here’s one way – write like you talk. That way, your posts will naturally sound more conversational. More in the next post!
  2. Ask, then Respond. Ask questions. Ask for input. Ask readers to add their thoughts. For example, if you share a list of five favorite action movies in Facebook, make sure to include a question asking readers to add their favorites, or to add what’s missing in the list. People love adding their own favorites to a list!
  3. Include your customers. So you asked your customers to add their favorites to your list in #2. That’s awesome … and that can be your next post! Compile that list of customer favorites, post it, and include everyone’s name that added to the list. The people you included might share that list out (i.e., an appeal to vanity), and more customers will add to the list, too.

So – those are some ideas to be more social in social spaces. Do you have any additions to this list (yes, I’m doing #2 right now)? Please add them in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you’ll also like my new book, Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media tools to Create Great Customer Connections. Get it now!

My new book - Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections

Image from Bigstock