Follow Your Patrons: Tips on Twitter for Libraries
and other tips for adding valueto your library’s Twitter presence Emily Lloyd
Why follow your patrons? Twitter gives librariesthe opportunity to not just announce what we do,but to do what we do.Don’t wait for questions addressed directly to your Twitter account ormentions of monitored keywords to guide people to resources.Follow your patrons. It’s a bit like roving reference. Notice whatinterests them. Notice any difficulties they might be having. Create…
serendipity When you sign into Twitter, scan through the last hour of your library’s tweetstream to see what your patrons have been tweeting about and if there’s anything you might help with. This patron didn’t mention @hclib, or use any keywords (library, Hennepin, etc) that the library might have been monitoring. Following his tweets made this moment of serendipity possible.
To quickly reviewwhat your patronshave been tweetingabout (and skip overwhat every library,business, or localorganization you followhas been tweetingabout), make privatelists of your patronfollowers, and just skimthose lists.Each list holds 500.I named @hclib’spatron lists “Individuals1,” “Individuals 2,” etc.,and added each newlocal individual thatfollowed @hclib to oneof these lists.
Why? Because liking an organization onFacebook is far less of a commitment thanfollowing an organization on Twitter.When you “like” an organization on Facebook, that’s often a terminalact:You’ve shown your support.The organization’s posts may or may not--not’s more likely--show upin your news feed.You may or may not visit their page ever again.
When you follow an organization on Twitter,their tweets will show up in your tweetstream.If an organization’s tweets do not add value to your experience ofTwitter—if, instead, they seem to keep getting in the way, interrupting the flowof tweets that are more relevant to you—you will unfollow them (even if you still like them as an organization).“Unfollowing”—the word itself—doesn’t feel as hostile as “unliking”. Youare simply trying to make your tweetstream more useful to you byweeding out messages you can’t use (TIP: tweet tweets patrons can use.Here’s how…)
Share…tips on how toget the most outof the library’swebsite andother libraryresources.
Share…tips on how to getthe most out of theweb itself.
Add value: inaddition tocreating privateTwitter lists ofyour patrons,maintain publiclists on localresources orother relevanttopics to helpyour patrons findaccounts tofollow.
on trending Resist the urge to comment on every trending topic. topics Particularly: consider whether you really want to use a celebrity death to market your collection. ( “RIP _______, who passed away today. Revisit his genius with one of our DVDs: [link to catalog]”)
Prescheduling tweets may seem convenient, but it misses one of the main points of social media for libraries (and companies): to be there. After you tweet, keep your eye on Twitter for a while—even if only for 20 minutes in one tab— in case patrons have any immediate responses that need against attention.prescheduled tweets Never forget that people use Twitter for news during national and world crises. Prescheduled tweets come off as, at best, insensitive and, at worst, cruel during these times. The above was tweeted immediately following the Colorado movie theater shooting in July 2012 that killed twelve people.
Thanks. Have fun!Emily Lloyd@poesygalorehttp://about.me/elloyd74