In our experience, there are three ways that people end up “in charge” of social media:-- A handful of library workers volunteer to manage their library’s social media.-- Some folks are asked to manage their library’s social media.-- But for many of us, we’re simply told that this is being added to our job descriptions.
As always, that means we are being asked to learn more things and stay adaptable.
So the question of the hour is how do we get from being overwhelmed and anxious to being confident and in charge?Our goal with these sessions is to de-mystify the technology, and to help you find ways to make yours a success.
Note—we will be focusing on Facebook and Twitter, and a little bit of WordPress.Due to time limitations, we can’t cover every single platform out there, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not worth exploring. We’ve just gone with the big ones that have the largest user bases. Remember from last week – you need to cater to your target audience.A lot of these skills will be translatable from one service to another, even if you don’t use the exact services that we’re showing you today. So don’t worry if you’ve already decided that Twitter isn’t right for you, for example. End at about 2:35pm
Blogs such as Wordpress allow us to communicate in long form – giving detailed, linked, sourced information to communicate complex ideas.Microblogs (like Twitter and Facebook Status Updates) allow us to communicate short ideas or to point to long form communications.Social network sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. allow us to spread ideas through our social networks.Moderate cost in time/energy to set up, low cost in time/energy to maintain -- even less if the work is distributed! (but we’ll get to that in a minute)
Find out what your users want and need, and provide both. Don’t provide what you “think” users want – ask them! Don’t be afraid to try stuff out, but make sure that you plan your assessment into your pilot projects so you know whether they’re successful or not. EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN USING FACEBOOK AND TWITTER TO TALK, YOU SHOULD BE USING THEM TO LISTEN. Send session participants to view: http://www.commoncraft.com/social-media-workplace-video
Blogs are a great way to present longer pieces that highlight library services or resources. You can set up ways to have the content exported to your Twitter Feed or Facebook Wall. Most blogs allow you to set a future release date so that you can schedule blog posts. If you have your posts exported to your Twitter Feed and Facebook Wall, this means that the releases there are also timed. Make use of categories or tags so that users can subscribe to particular contentLibrarians are long-winded in general (since we love details, I like to believe) so blogs are a great place to start. A particular success that we’re proud of are our posts of photographs from Special Collections that are missing metadata. We’ve had some success with local Atlanta history buffs helping us find the dates, names, and locations associated with photographs from our collections. Since there’s no expiration date on these posts, users can stumble across them after months or years and provide help.
You can control your privacy and still be findable.
Make use of lists to control which users can see which items.A guide on setting up your Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/help/393592270693739/
You use your personal profile to create a public Page Users can see the page and “Like” it to create a connection between their profile and the Page. This will allow them to keep up with the library’s news.
The library’s Blog content is distributed to the Facebook wall using RSS Graffiti (http://www.facebook.com/RSS.Graffiti) Multiple administrators allow for many eyes – all the work doesn’t rest on one person’s shoulders. Don’t committee it to death – remember that this is a social forum and you won’t have absolute control on everything at every moment. There’s no reason to have separate pages for separate parts of the library *unless* they have extremely different user populations. The important thing is to look at the Page(s) from your user’s perspective – and remember to ASK them what their perspective is!A guide on setting up Pages: Creating, Administering and Editing your Page: http://www.facebook.com/help/281592001947683/ Facebook posts will only reach your audiences if they’re engaging. Again, this is why it’s vital to do regular assessment to find out what kinds of content your audiences want to get from you.
Yes, it’s just that easy – make sure to read the Terms of Service!
Here you’ll see three types of tweets: Original content/news – short form communication Links to the library’s blog -- long form communication Responses to users’ needs – social connection
What content should you include? Should you retweet? What, and how much? Again, keep it user-centric. Don’t bore users with libraryland news Listen to your users – respond to their needs. If they’re giving you accolades, feel free to retweet it!
OnFacebook, use RSS Graffiti to get the WordPress feedOn Wordpress, use TwitterTools to pass to Twitterhttp://wordpress.org/plugins/twitter-tools/
We use those tools in that direction, but there’s tons of feed tools out there to spread your content in any direction you like.
Add additional content to your facebook and twitter streams.Different content will excel in different areas – pay attention to your analytics to know what to put where.
Discovering patterns in how your content is usedRemember, it’s not just about gathering numbers, or interpreting the numbers, it’s about making decisions
Keep in mind that unlike Facebook and Twitter, which tend to “age” content quickly, there’s no expiration date on blog posts – the content can continue to be useful for years to come.
After the library’s homepage (where the five most recent posts are shown), most of our referral traffic comes from Facebook and Google.Remember that things break, so review your content to make sure it’s feeding out properly
Reach means how many people saw your postsOrganic reach: The number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed, ticker or on your Page.Paid reach: The number of unique people who saw this post through an ad.Viral reach: The number of unique people who saw this post from a story published by a friend. These stories can include liking, commenting or sharing your post, answering a question or responding to an eventReach doesn’t have much to do with how much you actually engage your fans. It’s nice to observe your reach growing, but you should really focus on engagement.Engagement means how many people liked, commented on, shared, or clicked on your posts
For example, if I look at post Reach and expand the time range out to the last quarter, I can see that we had a good spike on August 26th. If I click on that spike it shows me what posts were active that day.
It turns out that was the day that we launched our “Surviving College” post, which is geared at telling freshmen about all of the resources available to them (study rooms, computers, research support, etc.)Our most engaging content is usually content that is timely and user-centric: Current topics – The library advertized a faculty panel about Syria when we were on the brink of taking military action.Service updates – when we offer a new service (such as iPads), or explain the status of a service breakdown (such as the printing server going down on campus)Student calendar events – welcome back to school, spring break destinations, etc.Remember that Facebook is like a river – the content flows by quickly, and if you’re lucky some of your content will get “caught” in a viral eddy and circulate around for quite a bit before it’s also lost down the stream.
You can also look at how engaging all of your content is. But again, notice that some engaging content has less reach than other less engaging content.I’m pretty sure that Reach is a way to entice users to paying to boost posts via paid promotions.HuffPost article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shelly-palmer/facebook-reach-data_b_3037238.html
HootSuite: Great for analytics and managing multiple accountsTweetDeck: slick look for tweeting, does “Lists” greatTwitalyzer: heavier analyticsTwitPic: pics in your twitsManageFlitter: Twitter Account Management, Clean up and manage who you follow, Find out who isn't following you back,Find out which inactive accounts you follow,Easily search inside your Twitter stream.
Keep an eye out for sticky comments – is this something that is part of a pattern, or is this a fluke? Remember Sarah’s biases list, you don’t want to have the latest or loudest items be the only ones you focus on.
End by about 3:15pm—maybe 3:20
Okay, so now let’s talk about some of the ways that you can take your social media and make it awesome, so that all those metrics Cliff talked about will be high and will make you happy.
First of all, you have to put content out there. If you did a study of what your target audience wants in terms of posting frequency and timing, then use that, but you can also try some of the general standards for posting and see what works best for you. I actually recommend a combination of both. Studies show that businesses and non-profits, like libraries, don’t want to post in the same manner as individuals. The industry average for businesses is one post per day. General wisdom says that’s a good rule, and not less than two or three times per week. You may also be wondering what days or times of day you should post. There is some contradiction, but studies generally show that people check social media less often on the weekends, and that they check it most often on Thursdays and Fridays while they are at work, particularly in the afternoon between 1 and 3pm. According to a Buddy Media study, engagement rates are 18 percent higher on Thursdays and Fridays than on other weekdays. You may find this is different for you. The trial and error approach is totally viable with social media, because if you throw out a post and it flops, no lives are lost. You can let it go or repost it again on a later date. Try playing with different days and times and see if there’s a positive impact, because your audience, especially if you’re school media or academic, may have different trends, since a smaller (or non-existent, if they’re children) percentage of your target audience will have a traditional day job. We’ve found that around lunchtime is a great time for us to post, given our audience—between 11 and about 2. It’s when a lot of them have a break between classes and are grabbing lunch and socializing online.
You also want to make sure that each of your posts is actionable, engaging, and relevant to your target audiences. That will get the involvement levels up more than having a million social media platforms or posting all the time. What does that look like?
Here are some examples.Here’s the New York public library’s facebook page from yesterday. Two of the posts that you can see here include a call to action. The one on the right, with the two girls, asks readers to get involved. There is a direct request for a particular action—but a fairly simple one. This is probably actually as complicated as you’ll want to get with most of your requests—asking people to share, retweet, whatever is also a great idea as a marketing method, because their friends will see what they repost. The one on the left is an event that people can RSVP to. Another thing that you may notice is that the target audiences of each post are pretty clear. I can tell by looking at the age of the girls in the right picture, and the fact that it’s directly addressed to older primary school students. The comic book event that they’re marketing on the left is also targeted at this audience—it highlights a comic written for teens.Their NYPL threads have a lot of content for this audience, so I’d guess that’s one of the groups they’ve decided to target right now. The content that they post is also engaging and usable for young students. In the case on the right, the student is asked to give expert student commentary on an issue of relevance to her life—the invitation extends to quick text-based comments OR to a video. People like to feel like they know the answers to things, and they like to give their opinions.
Here from Columbus Metropolitan Public Library, we see the same kind of thing. The top left post invites followers to talk about what they’re reading, and you can see they got over 25 comments. This post is a great example of something that’s actionable and engaging. For people who follow the library, it’s also relevant, since presumably they’re readers!
People respond to visuals more readily than they do to text. Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound traffic than plain text posts. (PR Newswire, 2013) http://promotions.prnewswire.com/rs/prnewswire/images/WP_Press_releases_as_lead_generators.pdfFacebook posts with photos are generally the highest performing posts. (Dan Zarrella) http://danzarrella.com/infographic-how-to-get-more-likes-comments-and-shares-on-facebook.html#If you’re thinking of getting on Pinterest or are already on there, you can really tap into this. Pinterest drives a lot of traffic to home sites—but you can really make anything visual these days.One of the reasons is that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. (Web Marketing Group) http://www.webmarketinggroup.co.uk/Blog/why-every-seo-strategy-needs-infographics-1764.aspxAlso, images invoke an immediate emotional and cognitive reaction.
Consider how you feel about this slide.
Now consider how you feel about this slide…Which of these two would you look at first?
And how you feel about this slide. I’ve added a textual element here. In this case it’s meant to make you smile, but it can work in other ways—perhaps to inform or to instruct. Images cause people to react with thought and emotion, and can make people feel happier in general, more engaged, and more responsive to your message. They draw the eye more than text. They create of retention and comprehension that text alone cannot achieve. Pictures with brief text are your best bet regardless of where you are and what platform you’re using.
Another thing you’ll want to do is consider your formality and tone. There’s no one size fits all with this. Only you can decide how personal or professional you want your profile to be, and sometimes this is more of a struggle than you think it might be. Not all librarians will agree that your social media should be fun—especially in academia, they will argue that it should be super formal in keeping with the Very Scholarly and Serious Nature of your institution. Depending on the level of receptiveness at your institution, you can decide what tone is best for you. At the end of this session we’re going to share a page with a lot of social media-friendly libraries, so you can take a closer look at those to see which style you might like to emulate. In general, you want to keep a warm, friendly professional tone – the same way you would address an audience if you were speaking to them in person. I think of it as “business casual” speech. You’re not going to start talking about your ex-spouse or about your most recent surgical procedure, but you don’t need to be overly formal, either.Some places like to have just one person who puts out all their social media content so they can make sure the tone is completely consistent, but we’ve found that with some basic training, we can get everyone to have roughly the same level of formality. That way we can split up the work effectively and empower our employees to interact with patrons and share ideas.
This is a fun example of a couple of businesses being a little bit silly. You may find yourself on the fence and be asking yourself “what’s the point?”It actually has several. This kind of exchange can help to build your community, build brand loyalty, and build “positive associations” with your library. That was one of our goals when we first starting hitting social media fairly heavily a few years ago-we thought explicitly about how we could use social media to help people have more positive feelings about the library. A great way to do that is through light tone, like we talked about, mild humor—be careful you don’t get offensive accidentally.It can also help people feel more comfortable about asking you questions online or in person. This kind of thing lets everyone see that you’re human and that you’re friendly. We all know it’s hard to ask for help, and occasional silliness can help.
You have to watch over your social media carefully and do it every day. It’s not a huge amount of work once you get used to it, but it does take time. If you aren’t engaged, then your sites will flounder, and your great content won’t have as much impact as it might otherwise. Doing all of this stuff can take anywhere from ten minutes to an hour or so per day, depending on when you write the content you’re going to post.
One great way to manage the burden of watching social media, if you’re in a library with more than two or three people or if you have engaged volunteers, is to divide up the work. <next slide>
At GSU, we have a social media committee, and the committee members take responsibility for watching over all our social media platforms in two week shifts. While on duty, we must check outgoing blog content for any issues, post to social media a couple of times each week, and monitor all incoming comments and notes on our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We ask a large number of our librarians to post a few times each year to our blog, so that we always have content going up on the homepage. (I’ll show you how we keep the posts consistent in just a moment.) In the first year, there was a mandate about how many posts we’d each do, but now that we’re in the habit, that has gone and everyone still keeps up with it. At Agnes Scott College, a very small, undergraduate only school here in Atlanta, they break up duties by subject area. They have very few employees, related to us—we have about 100—but they also invite students to get involved and help generate content. Apparently it’s a popular activity. At ASC they focus primarily on a blog as their social media outreach mode.You want to break up the work if you can, but don’t break it up to the point where nobody is responsible and it turns into a crazy free-for all. Make sure to charge an individual or a small group with watching over everything holistically and train that individual or group carefully, or you’ll end up with chaos and dead services.
If you choose to assign watcher duties to an individual or group, they may appreciate a short checklist of everything they need to be doing. It’ll be good not only for the individuals involved, but for people who come into managing these things later. Procedures get everyone on the same page – step by step guidelines that tell folks what to do and how to do it.Takes the guesswork and fear out of new technologies, and empowers library employees to share content.Relieves the “techie” folks from having to bear the sole burden of social media tools.For a long time we didn’t have anything like this—the few people who watched social media just knew the procedure. Then we brought in some new people who wanted it documented. So, don’t feel like you need to be as formal as we are—but like Cliff said, documentation will save you when people leave or shift around. ((Go through the page))
Another thing that we did early on was create a blog posting checklist, since we had thirty or forty people who were posting to the library’s blog. It was a huge number of people to manage. We wanted everyone to feel empowered to create their own posts and show personality, but at the same time, certain basic criteria needed to be met. The full document is shared as a part of this presentations’ materials.
We have come to the point where we pre-draft a lot of our content. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process, and makes it much less intimidating/aggravating, especially for people who are new to the process.There are a few good ways to set up your content, of course, if you want to do it. We put out a request for content periodically. This is library-employee generated content, so we ask our colleagues periodically to tell us about their favorite library-owned items. This could work the same way for patrons. You can ask patrons in low-tech or high-tech ways about their favorite books or favorite library experiences, and then write them up to be posted throughout the month.(in fact, if you put out paper requests, that’s a good marketing method for your social media. Let htem know that if they follow you or leave an email address, you’ll let them know when their story or favorite is posted.
We all hope that we’ll get feedback in the form of comments on social media, and they are largely a good thing. However, sometimes strange things will happen, and you don’t always have a lot of time to react, so you want to have some idea of how you’re going to handle things before they come up. Please don’t interpret this as me saying you need to be prepared for every little thing-you can’t be—but you can have some guidelines in place that will be helpful. We end up using these to make fairly tough calls a couple of times each month, so I’m really glad we thought about these things.
You want to be responsive. Different people do this is different ways, and we’ll talk about that, but the golden rule is that you want to respond, and you want to do it as quickly as possible… while still giving yourself enough time to craft a thoughtful response.Over the years there’s been a lot of debate about when it’s okay to write to people. Some people feel creepy about responding to people who haven’t directly messaged them, and that’s okay—you don’t have to if you aren’t specifically mentioned or tagged. We do not, generally, because some people have been put off by it when we tried a bit, but it’s different for different people. Of course if they send you a direct message, public or private, you want to respond in kind. If they send you a message in public, send them back a public message every time. If you need to also communicate privately, then definitely do that. But you want anyone watching to see that you responded.If they chose to follow you and post a question that is directly relevant to your library but you aren’t tagged, then you should also respond. We usually will do it privately, unless they say GSU Library specifically. If they post a complaint that is about you but not directly aimed at you, you can choose what to do based on the situation. We’ve had some that we responded to privately, and some that we just left alone because it was clear they were just venting to friends, and probably wouldn’t want us answering. It’s usually safe to assume that if a person is posting something in public, they know that people will be looking. In fact, they want people to be looking. So in most cases you can safely respond to a post. If you’d like, put your first name on the message so that they know who they’re speaking to. That said, imagine you said you were painting your bathroom this weekend, and Home Depot tweeted you back to say they have paint. How would you feel about it? Weird? Would you feel different if you said “I’m going to Home Depot tomorrow to get paint,” and they wrote back?
Response timing is also very important. We try to respond within 24 hours on the outside—usually much more quickly. We have little alerts set up on our Facebook and Twitter accounts so that we see when people use the words Georgia State Library or GSU Library and the like, so that we know about things. This is a very important thing, and it gets ignored a lot with libraries in relation to all their virtual services. In preparation for this presentation we tried to get some comments from some of the top social media libraries in the US, and the response rate was alarmingly slow and even non-existent in some cases. We need to have some kind of response standard, and then stick to it. Someone needs to be responsible and watching, or else people will get annoyed and leave with a bad perception of your customer service.
From the site social habit in a post on customer service expectations. http://socialhabit.com/secure/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Slide1.png
You will also probably find yourself in a situation eventually where you get a questionable comment, and you will want to have some kind of criteria for deleting it. You want to set up a social media policy for your patrons in advance that will lay out details about what can and cannot be posted. People are highly unlikely to see it out before they start posting or even to notice it if you put it on your sidebar, but it will be there for reference if/when someone gets mad because you removed a comment that he or she posted. So what can you take off without potentially creating trouble for yourself? …
Things that violate the copyright of your institution or of any third party, posts that violate the laws of your state or country, or posts that advocate for illegal activity.
You can also delete spam or commercial messages, like advertising.
Also from trolls who post terrible things:Obscenity, racism, and attacking language can be taken down.
So if someone says Your library kicks ass, don’t just delete it because it may be offensive. You may end up deleting it, but
As libraries, part of our mission is to preserve access to ideas and to information. We don’t edit books because we find bits offensive, but at the same time, we aren’t responsible for writing that content.
Here is our policy where all of this is laid out for everyone to see. We’ve not had anyone challenge us on a deletion, but this helps us fairly regularly to decide what to take down and what to leave alone. You may also notice that in the end of the highlighted paragraph, we note that the opinions posted by others are not our opinions. So don’t worry that you’re going to be sued because someone posted something on your Facebook that is somehow illegal, and you didn’t take it down immediately. This is a good time to check to see if your university or library has a social media policy. These documents are very important—they help to set expectations for you and for your patrons. Your institution may already have a document like this in place, or it may not. IF it does not, see if you can get your legal representative to look over it before it goes out. http://library.gsu.edu/Library_Social_Software_Policy.pdf
Policies let both library users and library employees know what is and is not appropriate. A well written policy can be a great guideline in determining what to post, which comments to approve, and what to re-tweet. A great example is GSU Library’s Social Software Policy, which can be found here: http://library.gsu.edu/Library_Social_Software_Policy.pdf
Start some marketing through traditional media – and remember to mention it as much as possible.Maybe try to put some marketing up on your homepage, so that people will see it while they’re on the internet and in a position to take action right then. It does not need its own giant press release or marketing push – you can just mention it when the library is mentioned: “You can Like us on Facebook.” Give your social media presence time to build its audience – it spreads virally across social networks. The more engaging your content, the faster it will spread – focus on quality (of your content) and you’ll get quantity (of followers).Lisa Cohn at Bloomfield Public Library suggests suggests following news sources, since many organizations will automatically follow back. These organizations will then cover your postings as appropriate.
100 Most Social Media Friendly College & University Libraries for 2013: http://librarysciencelist.com/100-most-social-media-friendly-college-university-libraries/100 Libraries to Follow on Facebook: http://www.mattanderson.org/blog/2013/01/31/100-libraries-to-follow-on-facebook/100 Libraries to Follow on Twitter: http://www.mattanderson.org/blog/2013/01/11/100-libraries-to-follow-on-twitter/Most Social Media Friendly State Libraries for 2013: http://librarysciencelist.com/most-social-media-friendly-state-libraries-for-2013/
A More Effective
Social Media Presence
Part 2: Execution and Maintenance
You want me to manage what now?
Oh great, just one MORE thing…
Stand back. We got this.
Last time you learned how to…
• Make use of strategic planning and project
management methods to set up (or fix up)
your library’s social media presence;
• Define success for your social media presence
and demonstrate that your efforts are having
the effect you desire.
Today you will learn how to…
• Craft a Facebook page and Twitter account
that will represent your library online;
• Save time and energy by updating multiple
services at the same time;
• Build responsive and usable service points;
• Build community through marketing and
advertising on the social web.
But perhaps you have something else
The Triforce of Social Media Awesomeness
The most important thing:
KEEP IT USER-CENTRIC
Which of the following social media services does your
library already have?
• Just a blog
• Just a Facebook Page
• Just a Twitter account
• Blog and Facebook
• Blog and Twitter
• Facebook and Twitter
• All three
• None of them
• New York Public Library
• The Library of Congress
• Columbus Metropolitan Public
• Seattle Public Library
• Multomah County Library
• Topeka & Shawnee County Public
• Smithsonian Libraries
• American University Library
• University of Kansas Libraries
• North Carolina State University
See presentation notes at: