My name is Julia Brewster, and I am the Administration Support Librarian at the Calgary Public Library. At the time of submitting this conference presentation I was in a different role in the library where I was able to focus more on engaging our customers through social media. This topic is important to me as it is something that I am passionate about in my personal and professional life independent of the library. I have been using many forms of social media for a number of years and I find it to be a fantastic way for me to keep in touch with my friends and the people I care about, but also for me to maintain professional relationships. Librarians in general tend to flock to places like Twitter and Facebook and I find it extremely useful to meet people, for lack of a better term, I would never otherwise have the chance of connecting with.
This slide is an outline of what I plan to cover today. At the end of the presentation I hope to spend a fair amount of time demonstrating a few tools, such as Twitter and Hootsuite and Foursquare. Firstly I would like to share with you what Social Media is. It is something we all hear all the time, but what is it actually?Then I want to look at why social media is important for libraries and why we should all be involved.Once you’re entirely convinced that your library should be involved with social media I will then share with you what is important to know to do social media right.Following this I will discuss the experience we had at Calgary Public Library when we integrated a social media strategy with our One Book One Calgary (OBOC) event. I’ll talk about what was good, what wasn’t so great, and what the new direction of the library is.And finally – the part that will hopefully be of most interest and that is how do you actually use some of these tools! And I hope to show you that they are not as scary as you might think and in fact they are relatively easy to use. Please feel free to ask me questions at any point during the presentation, my intention is for everyone in this room to get something out of what I have to say! What is the background of the people in the room?How many of your libraries have a social media strategy?How many of you in the room are going to be interested in seeing a demonstration of Twitter using Hootsuite, and Foursquare.
I’m sure most of us in the room have heard about social media and are familiar with some of the most popular tools out there such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. There are many more platforms – these are just probably the most popular and most ubiquitous. Fundamentally though social media is media that is designed for social interaction and is based on content that is created and consumed by regular people. Social media provides an accessible platform for your average person to engage with others and have their thoughts heard/read by many people. Social media are online platforms where people connect and communicate. Social media allows you to create a conversation. Social media includes many different things such as comments at the end of an article on the Globe and Mail website, photos that are uploaded to Flickr, a photosharing site, and conversations that people have on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook or it could be someone’s individual blog that they publish on a regular basis. Social media allows everyone in the world to become a content publisher – or at least anyone who has access to a computer. I believe that libraries are a cornerstone of democracy as we up hold access to information for all and I see a parallel with social media. Social media is democratizing the web and the library itself is a democratizing institution as we up hold access to information to all – both democratizing ideas so together they mesh quite well.
My apologies to those who have seen this slide a million times – I just like how it shows the relationships between many social media tools, and I think that is important because you cannot use one in isolation of others. I would never suggest we all get on every single one out there, but getting on more than one that has a relationship with each other is important. Show the relationships between social media and that there are lots of options out there.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOUR LIBRARY? – ASK THE AUDIENCE FOR THEIR OPINIONS SEE WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY.I believe that staying current with emerging technologies is essential to libraries success as these technologies inform the way individuals seek information and communicate with oneanother. Within the past few years a new space where people virtually gather, share and seek information has emerged. With this in mind it is impossible to ignore the exponential increase in mobile device use and social media and the important roles these technologies play in people’s lives. In 2010 5 billion mobile apps were downloaded contrasted to 300 million in 2009. There is a similar trend with location based apps, such as Foursquare, which saw an increase from 200,000 users in 2009 to 5 million in 2010. Lastly, almost half of all Internet page views throughout 2010 were to social networking sites. It is crucial for the library to develop a strategy to participate in this new space with current and potential customers. The library must be able to respond to these customers in a relevant and effective manner. In order to be successful in this endeavor libraries must move beyond the confines of the traditional library, meet the customers in their space and actively engage customers through authentic dialogue.
It is where your customers ALREADY are - Just to give you some perspective, twitter has an average of 580 million page views a day and about 150 million visitors a day. Facebook has 9.5 billion page views a day and 610 million visitors each day. Social media is important for your library because your customers are already there. That statistic demonstrates it! It is not something that you can choose to ignore, people are already in the space and they are carrying on conversations and interactions whether or not you are there to participate. In some cases they may even be talking about you, and if you want to have a chance to help inform that discussion it’s necessary for you to be in that space.If your library is anything like Calgary Public Library many of your customers come to the library so that they can have access to a the internet, and while they are at the library they spend the majority of their time on a social media site – generally Facebook and Youtube (in my experience). Because we can see this behavior just by looking at what our customers are doing whiel at our libraries it just further demonstrates how important it is for libraries to meet our customers in their space, rather than demanding that they come to us. We need to go to them. You can also see that many people are used to social media just by looking at websites like Chapters were anyone is able to provide feedback on books, or on the Globe and Mail website where you will see lots of comments after articles. You go to the Westjet homepage and you will see links to their Twitter account, Youtube Account and Facebook. If I am looking at a company website I usually look for how to connect with them online.
Digital/Virtual Presence - Social media is an important part of a digital or virtual branch presence of a library – often times this virtual or digital branch may be the only way your customers interact with the library. As someone who works at the public library I use the library a lot –however I am drawn to companies and organizations that can service me online because that is where I spend a lot of time looking for information.I often use Twitter as a means of communicating with larger companies. The most recent example for me would be with Fido, my cell phone provider. With Fido I was looking for clarification on a new cell phone plan I had signed up for and I had bad experience calling customer service. I tweeted a question directly at FIDO and had a response within 12 hours that resulted in several back and forth interactions with someone from FIDO customer service – and I ultimately had my issue solved.A year or so ago I ran into a technical issue with a screen casting software that I was using and had the problem solved because of a complaint I had made on twitter. I personally had not investigated whether or not this company was on twitter, however they were proactive and had someone monitoring Twitter to see if their company was mentioned. They came across my problem and immediately responded to offer their help in solving the issues. This whole interaction with FIDO and the screen casting company made me feel as though I was really a valued customer – more so than if I just had to call in and talk with a customer service rep and wait in a telephone cue. It’s been mentioned that many people don’t access library websites because they didn’t even know the library had a website. Lots of people are choosing to find their information through the social media that they use on a daily basis and what is available to them through FB or Twitter or whatever their social media of choice is, guides where they find their information. I think this illustrates pretty clearly why it is important to be on a site like Facebook if a lot of your customers are going there every day – why not have them interact with the library through Facebook? If a customer is able to find the library represented in a social network that then brings them to the library website, they have just been informed as to its existence! It can also encourage your customers to come into your physical space if you are also in their space.
Community Engagement - Social media allows your library to use technology to create a community and to start a conversation with people that are already your customers as well as bringing in people that may not be your customers (what a great way to get them to get a library card!). Community engagement and community conversation. Chances are there are already people in your community talking about the library, or something the library should be interested in on Facebook or Twitter. It is just a matter of finding it and make sure you are engaged in the conversation as well and contributing. In Calgary we had a great example of community engagement through social media during the past mayoral election where Mayor Nenshi ran a campaign that included a strong social media component. Nenshi demonstrated the importance of engaging with citizens. By creating a community conversation and engaging meaninlyfuly in that community conversation Nenshi created advocates for himself. And the library could do this as well. There are many social influencers on the web and they play a role in influencing how their friends and family take on world views. You can create influence within your community if you are communicating with the social influencers on a social network. You create people who are able to market you on your behalf. This may happen on twitter with someone retweeing what you are saying and getting their followers to pay attention to what you’ve said.
Customer Feedback/Instant Communication – once you have established a community within your social networks you are able to rely on them for quick feedback if you are looking for feedback on programs or polices of your library. It is a good way to do an initial survey to gauge how your customers are feeling. It is also a way for you to provide instant communication back to your customers. If I put something out on twitter or on Facebok that is specific to an organization I expect to see a response within the work day, and at the very least within 24 hours. It provides a quick space to guage the interest of your customers as to what you’re doing.
Professional Development – There are many librarians and libraries who and of course just general library folk who are using Twitter. I personally find Twitter a great place to stay connected and build a professional network. It is a great way to keep up with what other libraries are doing and to communicate with them. I use Twitter as a professional RSS feed – I often find the most relevant links through the professional network on twitter. However, as a library I would not recommend that you only follow library folk or libraries, it would be important to follow
IT TAKES TIME - It is easy to assume that because social media is something anyone can participate in that it is easy. And wont’ take up much time. Setting up social media accounts is the easy part. Anyone can sign up for a twitter account, a foursquare account, and a facebook account – all in all it might take you ten minutes to join all of these networks at once, however just joining does not mean that you will be successful. I’ve heard the saying that a lot of success in life is just showing up – well I don’t believe that to be the case here. Obviously you have to be there – but once you are there and in the space there is work to be done. Customers who are engaged with social media expect a response to questions immediately – and if not immediately probably sooner than you would normally be prepared. Personally for me, if I don’t hear anything within 24 hours I would be pretty choked and assume that whomever I was communicating with did not take this form of communication that seriously – whether it is a question over a FB comment or a direct tweet.
BE AVAILABLE - Just because it is the weekend does not mean that you should not be engaged with your customers – if your physical library is open, then your virtual library should be open and available to customers as well. This does require that staffing considerations are taken in to account when determining who in your library is going to be responsible for social media interactions. Cannot just be one way conversation has to be both ways.
Stay relevant – It is important to be on top of what is popular amongst your social media community. Stay on top of current events, read blogs and know what is going on in your city.
Be authentic – It is important to carry out authentic interactions with your customers, interactions that make the customers feel as though you really care. When a customers comes up to a reference desk and can tell that the librarian, or library assistant really cares about helping them they walk away satisfied – it is important for that attitude to also come across when you are using social media. Demonstrate the individuality of your library rather than having a controlled voice – have fun!
Be open to criticism – By putting your library out there and into the depths of conversations, it is inevitable that there will be some negative comments and as a library you must prepared to respond to them. Whether that is a customer having a difficult time with some aspect of library service, or someone who is just being mean spirited, it can all happen when you open yourself up. Do not remove a harsh comment from your FB page – instead make an effort to address the problem head on in a respectful manner - this will help you build credibility and trust amongst your followers. Building relationships is a two way street – you cannot just use social media to blast your followers with your information. Constantly sending out links to your events, and using your tools to “spam” people will not generate a supportive community full of people that want to promote your events for you. You have to give back, respond to people tweets, and engage in the conversation. It isn’t just about what can this do for you; it is also about what you can do for others.
If I were to break it down really simply I would say that social media is:It’s conversation.It’s questions and answersIt’s interesting and helpful information that people send to their friends.It’s connections between people, brands, and other organizations.It’s a way to listen.It’s a way to respond.It’s a way to help customers get to know you.It provides occasions to promote relevant offerings.How do you actually connect with your users?#1: status updates. Answer questions, ask questions, market the library’s events and services, share multi-media, All of this equals real connections to your customers. David’s library posted a user comment from their physical comment box about the art gallery, and the artist commented back, then a user…libraries connecting customers to the content creator.#2: long posts. Blogs are examples of this, even Facebook notes, longer descriptions under a Flickr photo. It’s a way to share ideas in a longer format—events, thoughts, reviews, new materials. David’s library’s local history department posted a photo of a cupola from a building in the town that was demolished. They wrote about it in a blog post on their website, talking about the demolition and how they got the artifacts.#3: comments. All of those status updates and longer posts don’t live in a vacuum. Comment back and have a conversation with users who are commenting to you. On one of the library’s children’s blogs, the author commented back on a post about his/her book.#4: visuals. This can include photos and videos. Blip.tv, YouTube, and Vimeo are the usual suspects for video. Flickr and Picassa are most-used for photos. And this multi-media visual content can be embedded in many places. David showed a neat photo from the library’s “edible books” program. It’s a way to extend a physical event, getting more customer interaction and use online than you probably did in-person.#5: livestreaming. This allows people to watch moments as they happen. David suggests livestreaming library events.#6: friending and subscribing (aka following or liking). This lets users tell you they like you, but it also is a way for you to show that love back to your users.#7: checking in. Yelp, Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla. You can do this at the library, having good tips for your library’s services.#8: quick stuff. Rating, liking, favoriting, digging, poking, starring. These are very informal quick interactions that tell you how much people like or don’t like something you’re doing. You can embed Facebook liking into your website. What is important to remember is that none of this happens overnight – it may take more time than you realized to create the right environment to be getting the most out of social media as you would like.
First let me say there are lots of libraries out there doing social media well – I just don’t have time to talk about them all and these are the three that I picked. NYPL – I know that New York Public Library is like the mecca for all libraries, and it seems like of course they are doing it right simply because they are NYPL. And while I believe there is some truth to that – I still believe that smaller libraries can learn something from what NYPL is doing. When I first started working at Calgary Public Library I spoke with Johannes Neur – eCommunications Manager at NYPL. He was more than willing to talk with me about how NYPL approaches social media and engaging their customers in new ways. What I learned was not that they have an enourmous team behind the scenes making all their cool stuff happen – but that they have a couple people working with Johannes to make everything happen, but a lot of the tweeting, and Facebooking was kept up by various library employees and they really rely on their internal expertise and interest to ensure the success of their program.I picked Topeka because of David Lee King – who writes a fabulous self titled blog and he is Topeka’s Digital Branch manager and has lots of great stuff to say on all sorts of things digital and libraries. I picked Cuyahoga because of their neat use of Notes and Facebook which I’ll talk about in a second.
-look at the number of likes-look at the links to all their other social media-look at the fact that they are taking something out of their collection and making it accessible through social media – the Easter picture as an example
-point out the logo and colour matching-how many people they follow-how many times they have been listed-how recognizable they are
-tumblr focuses on gather photos from their collection and they get lots of feedback
Again we see the number of likes as well as links to their other social media – they are missing a few but that probably just hasn’t been updated yet.
Their use of notes is great – they havea night owls program where the librarian response immediately to comments from users.
-again point out the likes and the you will see they asked their customers a question and they got a lot of answers!
From their website they demonstrate that they are linked to a whole bunch of sites – Twitter, Flickr, Youtube Facebook, chat etc – you don’t have to go very far.
I just wanted to briefly now talk about CPL’s experience with social media and our One Book One Calgary Initiative. In November of 2010 CPL launched our inaugural One Book One Calgary initiative. The whole city was invited/encouraged to read the book Maverick’s by Aretha Van Herk. This was the single biggest program the library has put on to date and of course we wanted the program to have the biggest impact as possible. We felt that having a social media strategy integrated in to this program would assist the library in having the best possible promotion of all events. And it is my understanding that this was the first time there was an organised attempt at having social media as part of the promotion of the event.Last November and the months prior to that where we starting thinking about social media and OBOC the library did not have an organizational wide strategy relating to social media. Our Facebook site was considered part of the marketing department and Twitter was something some branches were using, and some departments were using, but it was not very organised. We also had blogs related to a variety of subjects – and we still do.Blogging was one of the biggest efforts in our social media strategy for OBOC. A group of staff were designated as bloggers for OBOC, these staff volunteered to take part in this initiative – so we were only asking people who had an interest to be a part of it. One of my jobs was to coordinate the timing and posting of our OBOC blog posts. Our blogposts for OBOC were on a different platform and location than our normal blogs that are associated with CPL – there was a dedicated website for all things OBOC with a link to it from our main homepage. The OBOC blog posts were to follow three themes or categories that were also the categories our OBOC programming was designed around and those were: Exploring Our Past, Examining the Present and Imaging Our Future.Our group of bloggers was comprised of 6 people, and since we had three categories of blog posts there were two people responsible for each category. We wanted to build up some momentum and anticipation for the programming so blogging started prior to November. I created an editorial calendar for blog posts in the summer that laid out when people were going to post and what topics they were going to post about. I feel that this calendar is necessary to have as it allowed people to write their blog posts in advance and for us to ensure that there was no unnecessary overlap in content. We also always looked at the programs that were being offered and would design blog posts related to that as well. We were successful at publishing posts at least once a week prior to the launch of OBOC and during OBOC we published a new blog post every day of the work week. We had guests posts by Aretha as well and we made sure to make use of our collection of digital postcards and photographs that are a part of our Community Heritage and Family History Digital library. We have access to Alison Jackson Photography Collection which consists of images primarily of Calgary’s historic buildings and residences between 1953 and 1977. We have post cards from the past that represent more than a 100 years of Alberta History and finally Judith Umbach Photography Collection that was donated to the library in 2005 which gave us some more current photographs. This was a great example of using our digital collection in our efforts to draw in our customers through social media. Finally I was looking after our main twitter account @calgarylibrary during this time. I focused on promoting the blog posts that were being written and tried to get the use of the hastag #oboc2010 as something our customers would use when talking about our events. It’s hard for me to say how successful that was, but I still think that it was necessary. We partnered with The Calgary Herald and they tweeted a few times about OBOC and if we could have had more integrated communication between them and us I feel as though our hastag could have become popular and been something that customers recognised and associated with the library – and of course would then know that in 2011 they could search for the hashtag #oboc2011. We had some interactions with customers via twitter – unfortunately we no longer have access to them because of Hootsuite going to a paid model – this is a good lesson in keeping up with your statistics and saving them whenever you get the opportunity! Because here I am with no statistics to share. Facebook was beyond our control as this was still marketing’s domain at the time.
At the time of OBOC CPLdid not have someone dedicated to our social media efforts. The blog posts were being written by staff scattered throughout the system, which at the time made complete sense. It spread out the work load and we were able to involve more staff on a large library project who were all interested in being a part of it. We have since hired a Manager of Virtual Services – and coordinating our social media efforts will fall under the direction of this manager. This position is still relatively new as Genevieve Luthy started in this position in February. Prior to this conference I spent sometime talking with Genevieve just to get an idea of what the future direction of CPL is.-the main goal is for us to be creating the same sense of community in our virtual space as we currently do in our physical space. -we are focusing on the importance of personal relationships, individual opinions, powerful storeytelling and social capital are helping brands become more believable via social chanels – this is from RohitBharagave author of Influential Marketing Blog-there is a huge impact on consumer behavoir and influencers that can help bring social authority to your brand/organization. -will not only be focusing on delivering library’s message but will also make sure to be genuine and interactive and make sure that we are relevant – a recent example would be sharing resources related to the Tsuamni in Japan or when it was Dr. Seuss 100th birthday make sure we acknowledge that and share that with our customers via social media. Primary goals are to engage, Educate and empower Facebook has now become part of the Virutal Services section of the library and there is now a position of content editor who will be responsible for updating this more regularly and will be in touch with customer service staff so that we are more on top of things. Twitter – buy pro Hootsuite Account and actively monitor conversations happening in our area. – only have one account as the central accountFoursquare – claim all our locations and add branches that don’t already exist, add tips and to do lists and potential rewards for majors.How will we measure success?Depends on Network :Twitter: Followers, lists, retweets and active conversationsFacebook: Increase in fans and participating and likes and shares and analytics dataFoursquare: increase number of checkins and tips and hints added by users.
What is Hootsuite? – allows you to tweet independently of logging in to twitter – you need a twitter account, but you also need a hootsuite account. Once you have a hootsuite account you can tweet from Twitter, you can post to FB and other social networks. Is a way of stream lining things for you.Is a social media dashboard.Also allows you to keep statistics on how many times people are clicking on your links and where they are clicking from. You can schedule messages and also has a URL shortner built into it. If you have a paid account allows you to assign people to respond to tweets from customers. Easy to view.Really great if you have many people tweeting from the same account – they can all have their own logins to Hootsuite, or you can provide them a long in for that and then you know that the integrity of your actual twitter site is not compromised. DEMONSTRATION!Twitter: when we had hootsuite for OBOC we did not have a paid account – have since lost the statistics from that time. This is a lesson to take your stats regularly.Why tweet?HashtagsPrivate vs. openDirect messages@repliesThe basicsHootsuiteStatsEasy searchingMany people tweeting from same profileHashtagsSearching for customer complaintsReal time news on events
-own all your locations-add tips and to do lists to all locationsEncourgae customers to check in when they visit locationsAdd rewards for mayor-ships – will have to make sure your staff are not checking in so that you can prevent your customers from becoming the mayor. -is possible to also use Foursquare with HootsuiteDEMONSTRATION
Engaging Customers Through Social Media Julia Brewster Administration Support Librarian Calgary Public Library April 29, 2011