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Making Social Media Work for Your Library

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Social Media has been hailed as the silver bullet of grassroots marketing. Circumvent aging advertisement models and talk directly to your community? The only cost is your time? Fabulous! It can be like that, but it takes some very specific strategy to achieve that kind of success. At Transparent Language, we've built our Social Media following to nearly 3 million fans on Facebook alone. Our blogs receive over 200,000 visitors each month, and our YouTube videos have been viewed more than 2 million times. And we built most of it, not with a large team or budget, but with a single dedicated staff member. Truly grassroots.

The lessons we've learned along the way can benefit our library clients, too. In this slide deck, a follow-up to @LorienGreen's presentation at NELA 2014, we present our "secret sauce".

Published in: Social Media

Making Social Media Work for Your Library

  1. 1. MAKING SOCIAL MEDIA WORK FOR YOUR LIBRARY WITHOUT REINVENTING THE WHEEL
  2. 2. First, a little about who we are…
  3. 3. 36 Facebook profiles 2,852,152 total followers 36 Twitter profiles 250,450 total followers 30 Language blogs 800,000 pageviews/month Transparent Language on Social Media
  4. 4. Social Media has changed the game.
  5. 5. Businesses and organizations can reach communities directly, with little or no marketing budget. Image by Images Money on Flickr.com
  6. 6. But there are no free lunches. Photo by Ezra Wolfe via Flickr
  7. 7. Image by Images Money on Flickr.com Social media may be free to create, and you can do it without buying ads, but it takes a deliberate strategy to effectively execute. That means, really, social media is NOT free.
  8. 8. Image by Images Money on Flickr.com Social media may be free to create, and you can do it without buying ads, but it takes a deliberate strategy to effectively execute. That means, really, social media is NOT free. At a minimum, it costs your time and effort!
  9. 9. Fortunately, there are social media experts.
  10. 10. A whole industry has blossomed forth to research social media. You can find a seemingly endless pool of research on marketing blogs and websites. Image by solarisgirl on Flickr.com
  11. 11. Take optimal posting times, for example. Here’s an infographic letting you know that the ideal time to post on Facebook is weekdays.
  12. 12. Take optimal posting times, for example. Here’s an infographic letting you know that the ideal time to post on Facebook is weekdays. Except when it’s weekends.
  13. 13. More specifically, the best time to post is between 1-4 pm. Oh and by the way, Twitter’s sweet spot is Monday – Thursday, 1 – 3pm. (Except that first one said that the optimal time for Twitter is weekends)
  14. 14. More specifically, the best time to post is between 1-4 pm. Oh and by the way, Twitter’s sweet spot is Monday – Thursday, 1 – 3pm. (Except that first one said that the optimal time for Twitter is weekends) Of course, studies show that Saturday is by FAR the best time to post to Facebook.
  15. 15. Except that weekends are the absolute WORST TIMES to post to Facebook…
  16. 16. Confused?
  17. 17. The lesson to be learned here: there are no experts. There is no optimal posting time across the board. And even if there was, it wouldn’t matter.
  18. 18. The only thing that really matters is the optimal posting time for your own community, and each community is unique. So let’s talk about YOUR communities.
  19. 19. Choose your platforms wisely. Photo by Eric Kilby via Flickr
  20. 20. The most popular social networks for libraries have been listed as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
  21. 21. There are dozens of social networks you COULD be on. But remember that each new profile represents another mouth to feed.
  22. 22. Include links to your social assets in the header or footer of your website, in emails, and even in printed materials. The mini logo icons are all you need, your patrons know what those mean.
  23. 23. Include links to your social assets in the header or footer of your website, in emails, and even in printed materials. The mini logo icons are all you need, your patrons know what those mean. Oh hey, look! Here’s a few links to our social media platforms, if you feel so inclined to pay us a visit.
  24. 24. It may be another mouth to feed, but if you don’t already have a blog, you need one. Blogs are core to any successful content strategy.
  25. 25. A blog will provide you a way to post information fast and engage your patrons in discussion. But be sure to post regularly in order to build up that faithful following.
  26. 26. Now, about feeding those mouths… Photo by Matt Salas via Flickr
  27. 27. Use your existing resources.
  28. 28. The general rule for businesses on social media is: only post about yourself 20% of the time. But as a library, even when you’re posting about your own services, you’re providing value.
  29. 29. All the resources and community events a library has to offer represents a gold mine of content. But other than mentioning the fact, what else can you do to promote it? Image by Emil . on Flickr.com
  30. 30. Repurpose content.
  31. 31. Get your leverage on! Social media is all about taking one piece of content and recreating it in as many forms as possible.
  32. 32. List of resources you offer •Blog article •SlideShare •Meme images •Tour video Guest speaker event •Video of event •Blog article •SlideShare •Meme image series Puppet story hour •Event write-up with pictures •“How to make a puppet” blog article •Social convo post: favorite puppets
  33. 33. An Example from Our Social Media Strategy
  34. 34. It all started with a blog post…
  35. 35. We promoted that blog post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  36. 36. We promoted that blog post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. By the way, we didn’t do so here (shame on us!), but when you post a blog article like this on Facebook, it’s a best practice to include conversation starter. Here, for example, we could have said: “What other habits have you formed to make language learning a part of your daily routine?”
  37. 37. While measuring blog performance, we noticed this article was blowing others out of the water. We took that as a sign that our followers were very interested in this topic.
  38. 38. So, we leveraged that content, expanded upon it, and made it more visually appealing in SlideShare form. And guess what? The SlideShare performed even better than the original blog post. That got us to thinking, what else can we do with this content?
  39. 39. We got even crazier! We reached out to a few more well-known bloggers in the language-learning world and asked them to contribute their favorite language- learning habits. Then we combined all that into a free downloadable eBook.
  40. 40. If I Ran the Zoo, Dr. Seuss Again, we’re not experts when it comes to your community. But we do work with librarians around the country, so we have a few ideas up our sleeves for content you could create right now.
  41. 41. •Pictures of source books for well-known quotes, each including the quote. A blog post listing “Ten Popular Quotes and their Sources” •There are a good number of statues and commemorative plaques on the grounds of my local library. You could write a blog article or series highlighting them, or even dabble with a video tour. If I Ran the Zoo, Dr. Seuss The primary goal here is mindshare. Just to remind people about all the great stuff available at their library, and give them reasons to visit.
  42. 42. •September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day! Celebrate with one of these piratical reads… •Guten Tag! Celebrate Oktoberfest with a little German language learning, right here at your library! •Road trip? We’ve got you covered with a wide selection of audio books. Guaranteed to make the time go by faster. If I Ran the Zoo, Dr. Seuss Being aware of holidays and events gives you a great way to tie in your resources to something that’s already on your patrons’ minds.
  43. 43. Recycle content.
  44. 44. Part of not re-inventing the wheel is remembering that you can post the same item more than once. Image by BenGrantham on Flickr.com
  45. 45. Part of not re-inventing the wheel is remembering that you can post the same item more than once. Image by BenGrantham on Flickr.com If you post the exact same tweet to Twitter twice in one day, it’s unlikely any given person will see both posts. Twitter just moves that fast. Especially when it’s something time-sensitive and important, like an event, you should feel safe mentioning it on Twitter several times a day, and Facebook at least a couple times in a given week.
  46. 46. And those seasonal examples we just looked at? Keep a list of them, and re-post those items every year. Build on them, or adapt them if they turn out to resonate with your community. Image by Jamin Gray on Flickr.com
  47. 47. Leverage other peoples’ content.
  48. 48. Now let’s talk about the other weapon in your content arsenal. This is about sharing content from other sources that you know your community will enjoy. It’s about being a good social citizen.
  49. 49. Now let’s talk about the other weapon in your content arsenal. This is about sharing content from other sources that you know your community will enjoy. It’s about being a good social citizen. Part of which involves citing your sources! Don’t get caught without proper attributions.
  50. 50. This is a good time to explain why all this social karma and frequent posting is important. Take Facebook, for example. The better your posts do, and the more engagement they receive, the more likely they are to appear in a follower’s newsfeed.
  51. 51. And given that Facebook has changed the rules to the point that only a small percentage of your followers see any given post, you need every bit of improved visibility you can get! Good engagement and frequent posting help give you that. So let’s see how it’s done…
  52. 52. Ordering out for content. Photo by Scott Waldron via Flickr
  53. 53. Step 1: Find good sources.
  54. 54. Because this is automated or semi-automated, you need to have selected a feed that is going to generate consistently great content. The good news is, there are LOTS of them out there. Our Language News blog, for example, or our SlideShare account.
  55. 55. Other sources you may want to explore for content that is relevant to your library and your patrons: •Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day •Book of the Month Blogs •Literacy Blogs •Local News Sources
  56. 56. Step 2: Get the RSS Link.
  57. 57. Step 2: The Magic of RSS Feeds Note, the RSS feed link is NOT the URL of the source. Look for this little orange icon on the website to find the RSS feed link for any given source.
  58. 58. You can also make an RSS feed yourself, if a blog or content stream doesn’t have one, using Google’s Feedburner service. You’ll need to sign up for Feedburner with your Google account. Then it’s as easy as pasting the URL for your blog and generating the RSS feed link. The Edu Blogger has a great set of full instructions on this process here.
  59. 59. Step 3: The Middlemen
  60. 60. You can do all this sharing manually, and probably are doing some of that now. But you can augment that practice with an automated stream that will fill in the gaps between your hand-crafted posts.
  61. 61. So what free tools are out there to automatically post the content being created by your source to your social profiles?
  62. 62. Contrary to the name, “twitter feed” lets you post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and App.net.
  63. 63. RSS Graffiti is only for Facebook, but we like it because it’s intuitive and has a nice interface.
  64. 64. If This Then That (IFTTT) is a newer service you may want to check out. It’s very flexible, and has a sort of open source feel to it, where people share “recipes” for what if/then actions they’ve concocted.
  65. 65. How do these automation tools work? Let’s look at Twitterfeed for an example.
  66. 66. You’ll create a new feed, naming it as you so choose, by pasting in the RSS feed URL.
  67. 67. You’ll then select which of your social media account you’d like this feed to post to.
  68. 68. Finally, you’ll verify that these accounts are yours (you wouldn’t want just anyone to be set up a Twitterfeed to your Facebook page, would you?)
  69. 69. Want a little more control? Try Hootsuite, which lets you manually schedule posts in advance for social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. The free version of Hootsuite lets you manage up to 5 of your social accounts. We use this tool heavily and definitely recommend it for those managing multiple accounts on multiple platforms!
  70. 70. BundlePost works with Hootsuite to take in a number of content feeds you’ve identified as valuable, lets you tweak the text, and put them into timeslots you’ve specified. BundlePost spits out a csv file, you upload it into Hootsuite, and you’ve got days’ worth of posts all scheduled out. BundlePost might be a more robust tool than you need, but it’s really cool, and you can play with a single feed in it for free. Check it out if you’re feeling feisty.
  71. 71. One last word of advice…
  72. 72. Experiment! Photo by delta_avi_delta via Flickr
  73. 73. It’s all about experimenting. Check out new networks and new social media tools, try publishing different post formats (images are big right now!), play around with the times you post, and observe it all. Figure out what works best for your library, and do more of THAT! The coolest part of social media is that the game is always changing and evolving. That’s why you need to experiment!
  74. 74. transparent.com/libraries Can’t get enough of social media strategy? Download our full social media guide here!

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