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Follow Your Patrons: Tips on Twitter for Libraries

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and other tips for adding value
to your library’s Twitter presence




                                     Emily Lloyd
Why follow your patrons? Twitter gives libraries
the 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 or
mentions of monitored keywords to guide people to resources.



Follow your patrons. It’s a bit like roving reference. Notice what
interests 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 review
what your patrons
have been tweeting
about (and skip over
what every library,
business, or local
organization you follow
has been tweeting
about), make private
lists of your patron
followers, and just skim
those lists.


Each list holds 500.
I named @hclib’s
patron lists “Individuals
1,” “Individuals 2,” etc.,
and added each new
local individual that
followed @hclib to one
of these lists.
Follow Your Patrons: Tips on Twitter for Libraries
Follow Your Patrons: Tips on Twitter for Libraries
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Follow Your Patrons: Tips on Twitter for Libraries

  • 1. and other tips for adding value to your library’s Twitter presence Emily Lloyd
  • 2. Why follow your patrons? Twitter gives libraries the 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 or mentions of monitored keywords to guide people to resources. Follow your patrons. It’s a bit like roving reference. Notice what interests them. Notice any difficulties they might be having. Create…
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. To quickly review what your patrons have been tweeting about (and skip over what every library, business, or local organization you follow has been tweeting about), make private lists of your patron followers, and just skim those lists. Each list holds 500. I named @hclib’s patron lists “Individuals 1,” “Individuals 2,” etc., and added each new local individual that followed @hclib to one of these lists.
  • 8. Why? Because liking an organization on Facebook is far less of a commitment than following an organization on Twitter. When you “like” an organization on Facebook, that’s often a terminal act: You’ve shown your support. The organization’s posts may or may not--not’s more likely--show up in your news feed. You may or may not visit their page ever again.
  • 9. 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 of Twitter— if, instead, they seem to keep getting in the way, interrupting the flow of 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”. You are simply trying to make your tweetstream more useful to you by weeding out messages you can’t use (TIP: tweet tweets patrons can use. Here’s how…)
  • 10. Share… tips on how to get the most out of the library’s website and other library resources.
  • 11. Share… tips on how to get the most out of the web itself.
  • 13. Add value: in addition to creating private Twitter lists of your patrons, maintain public lists on local resources or other relevant topics to help your patrons find accounts to follow.
  • 14. 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]”)
  • 15. 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.
  • 16. Thanks. Have fun! Emily Lloyd @poesygalore http://about.me/elloyd74