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Spotlight on Students: Student-Centered Strategies for Your Library's Social Media Presence


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Connecting with students via social media while balancing the demands on librarians and library staff can pose a challenge. Two academic librarians share effective strategies which alleviated the burden of maintaining the library's social media presence while boosting student participation. Participants will come away with the beginnings of a concrete social media strategy and best practices for encouraging student interaction utilizing contests and polls.

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Spotlight on Students: Student-Centered Strategies for Your Library's Social Media Presence

  1. 1. Spotlight on Students: Student-Centered Strategies for Your Library’s Social Media Presence October 6, 2013
  2. 2. Michelle Bishop First-Year Experience Librarian Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego Brandon West Online Instruction/Instructional Design Librarian Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego
  3. 3. We’re All Social Media Experts...Right? Activity I Your experiences with social media: • What do you hope to get from this workshop? • What are your current concerns about your library’s social media presence?
  4. 4. Why Invest in Social Media? 18-29 Year Olds • 86% on Facebook • 31% on Twitter • 19% on Pinterest -Pew Internet & American Life Project Surveys 2012
  5. 5. Social Media @ Penfield Library • Pinterest • Account created May 2012 • 19 followers (3 Oswego students) • 14 boards • Trial period: May-July 2012. One librarian building boards, April-August 2013 • Pinterest Coordinator assigned August 2013. • Librarians and staff contributing to the development of boards
  6. 6. Social Media @ Penfield Library • Twitter • Account created January 2012 • 452 followers • 1,290 tweets • Our Facebook account is linked with our Twitter account (via • Be mindful of posting limits • We also post original content on Twitter, ReTweet, etc. • Twitter librarian uses Hootsuite to monitor when Penfield is mentioned • Can retweet and/or respond to student concerns
  7. 7. Social Media @ Penfield Library • Facebook • Account created 2010 • January 2012: 319 likes • October 2, 2013: 558 likes • Facebook account was originally created by a librarian with an interest in social media. • There was no social media team at Penfield Library during this time or formalized direction for our social media presence.
  8. 8. Sharing the Fun – Team-Based Approach FACEBOOK Rule of Thumb: At least one post per day to appear active. Additional Posts: Librarians & library staff are encouraged to post updates as they see fit. Examples: pictures from special collections, library memes, campus news, etc. Mondays Michelle Tuesdays Chris Wednesdays Brandon Thursdays Jim Fridays Ray Research Tips Library Services Penfield Personality Library Issues Website of the Week
  9. 9. PINTEREST Managing Schedules – Mix of Librarians & Library Staff October 2013 • One person responsible for adding to or maintaining a board each month New Books Staff Picks Seasonal/ Holiday Subject Areas Judy Michelle Emily, Kathryn Tina, Michelle Sharing the Fun – Team-Based Approach
  10. 10. Considerations • Monitoring Social Media – Even with new content being posted, librarians still must monitor the social media presence to respond to our followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. • Librarians are continually busy and social media can quickly become a “low priority.” • Solutions: • Place social media posting reminders on your schedule • Share the fun – take turns monitoring social media • Try to recruit individuals who are interested in using social media • Teach and encourage those who don’t use social media
  11. 11. What is a “student-centered” approach? • Connecting with students over social media to build a rapport (Phillips, 2011) • Engaging students in conversations about the library • Engaging students in participation over social media (polls, contests) • Posting what is relevant to students. Hint: ask them! (Lee, 2012)
  12. 12. Polls • Naming New Book Study Rooms ○ Boost interest by choosing relatable pop culture themes ○ Student opinions count
  13. 13. Photo Contests ● New Student Photo Contest ○ Library orientation for new students ○ New students took photographs of favorite spaces and/or people in the library ○ Encouraged new students to follow us on Facebook ○ Early impression made that Penfield is a progressive library ● Photo Contest Planned for Spring ○ Many requests from sophomores and other upperclassmen wanting to participate in New Student Photo Contest
  14. 14. New Student Photo Contest
  15. 15. Library Orientation – “Rep Your Hall” Facebook Primary Communication Medium ● Teams of new students represent their dorms in library challenge ● Tasks posted weekly to Facebook ● New students encouraged to follow us on Facebook ○ Spike in new likes during the first week of event ● Campus will vote for winning team on Facebook
  16. 16. “Rep Your Hall”—Launched September 9, 2013 Week of September 11, 2013
  17. 17. Penfield People Yin Yin Chen Grad Student & Student Assistant 16 Likes 2 Comments Sherod Laliveres Library Staff 11 Likes 4 Comments Emily Thompson Librarian 14 Likes 2 Comments 1 Share
  18. 18. Current Students, Past Students & Beyond • 1, 861 Views • 36 Likes • 22 Shares
  19. 19. Considerations • Some activities like contests require significant time to develop and implement. • We have no students on the social media team • Concerns about what students may post • Social media not ideal for instruction
  20. 20. Social Media Success @ Your Library Activity II Now that you have heard about the strategies we use at Penfield Library, start thinking about your library’s social media presence. ● Who are your students? ● Managing social media at your library ● Student-centered strategies • Next steps
  21. 21. Thank You Michelle Bishop Brandon West Emily Thompson
  22. 22. References Duggan, M. & Brenner, J. (2013). The demographics of social media users-- 2012. Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from King, D.L. (2012). Social media. Library Technology Reports, 48(6), 23. Phillips, N. (2011). Academic library use of Facebook: Building relationships with students. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 37(6), 512-522. doi:10.1016/j.acalib.2011.07.008
  23. 23. Social Media Concerns Discussed at Conference •Content •Reaching users/engagement •Time it takes to manage social media •Coordinating social media activities/people to post to social media •Creating buy-in with other faculty & staff •Understanding the functions of social media, such as analytics •Strategic Planning •Managing the library’s presence via social media •How to decide what social media outlets to use
  24. 24. Concerns Continued •Aligning library’s social media with the social media from other social media on campus •Assessment of social media •Social media’s impact on library •Maximizing schedules/content •Best practices and policies •Sharing ideas •Responding to negative comments •Maintaining an academic focus vs. personality •Maintaining “one voice” for social media when using a team •What’s next in the world of social media?
  25. 25. Strategies and Solutions Shared at Conference • Involve students. One person noted that student workers can help lend a stronger student voice to social media. They would need guidelines to ensure quality posts and need to understand the message the library is trying to portray over social media. •Using social media aggregators, such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, can help make managing social media easier. This software can allow you to see when the library is mentioned on these outlets. •Copyright can be a tricky to navigate in the world of social media. One person suggested using ideas from popular memes, but replace the pictures with library content, such as photos from special collections.
  26. 26. Strategies/Solutions Continued •Begin your venture into social media with colleagues who are interested in social media – those who are already using it will likely embrace it and be an ally. •Libraries should be developing best practice guidelines for dealing with posting limits, how to respond to students, etc. •A social media policy is desperately needed for many libraries. One person recommended an article about social media policy located at Policy.shtml •A good book to check out is Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections by David Lee King
  27. 27. Thanks Again! •Like Penfield Library on Facebook: Oswego/281128012940?ref=nf •Follow us on Twitter: •View our Pinterest boards: