Social media is easy to use...and easy to get wrong. Many users fail to realize that social media takes real planning, real work and real measurements. Learn how to build social capital your team can draw on later, and what common mistakes are made that can prevent your project from really taking off.
Regardless of how many social media accounts your library has (or doesn&apos;t have), it is likely you have missed planning and process elements that could make those accounts more effective. Many libraries never planned or strategized before creating their accounts. Instead they often rushed to join the crowd because “everyone was doing it” with disregard for the need to evaluate what[L1] they were doing or decide if it was even a good fit for them. As a result, some of the following major issues have often begun to plague these libraries with no social media plan. [NEXT]
No goals were ever set for the use of these accounts, or unachievable goals were set. The library continues to pour time into maintaining account(s), with no known result or with results that don&apos;t mean anything in the long term.
). The library has disconnected the amount of effort involved in social media from any measurement or evaluation to determine if the effort is, in fact, worth the time being spent on it.
The library labors to figure out what content to post. Often, the account sits, inactive, for periods when no one can think of what to post next.
The library&apos;s presence online generates little or no actual engagement with patrons. Most of these failures began with a lack of planning. And, planning starts with GOALS.
If someone asked you for a copy of your library&apos;s social media goals, would you be able to provide one? Most libraries don&apos;t have any. Or, if they do, their goals may be unrealistic or too vague to be measured. The biggest problem with this approach to social media is that it&apos;s impossible for the library to know if they are succeeding? If you don&apos;t know where you started, and what you&apos;re aiming for, your library is essentially drifting aimlessly. Just throwing content at a virtual social media wall to see what sticks is a waste of everyone&apos;s time.
So, the first thing you want to nail down is why your library is using a particular social networking site and what you hope to accomplish. This might be hard, especially if your library has been on that site for some time and there was never a clear reason for being there other than &quot;everyone else is there.&quot; Here are some sample goals:
Trying to do everything or promote everything to everyone, everywhere, is a clear recipe for doing social media badly. Understand what the underlying reasons are for each channel, and then your library can plan goals accordingly. For instance, Twitter is generally better for real-time (synchronous) news or for items where time is not relevant. Promoting new releases on Twitter, especially those where people may have to be put on a waiting list to receive them, is a poor use of Twitter. An outlet like Pinterest, where people simply curate things of interest to them, is more likely to generate re-posting or engagement.
Your library may have thousands of followers, but if they don&apos;t retweet or repost your content, or engage with it at all, it&apos;s not a whole lot different from having no followers at all. In fact, numbers of followers or fans have come to be known as &quot;vanity metrics,&quot; because they don&apos;t generally do much except make social media managers feel good about themselves.  http://www.businessinsider.com/the-myth-of-social-roi-2013-10
Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), in Ohio, has a well-established and active presence on many sites. By using a consistent strategy, it was able to raise its number of Facebook &quot;likes&quot; from 3,500 in 2010 to more than 18,500 in 2011. However, just increasing numbers doesn&apos;t really do much for the library, and even big numbers are often meaningless. The reason for their increase in numbers is that CML creates a yearly set of social media goals. In 2011, they wanted to build off of their existing successes and move forward. Here&apos;s a partial list of their goals from that year: [NEXT]
Notice: not ONE of these has numbers, and even in the full list there aren’t numbers! Each of these could easily have sub-goals that could help measure how well each is doing. These sub-goals are where you may want to include numbers. Here is an example:
Goal: &quot;Continue to build relationships with local bloggers&quot; Sub-goal: &quot;CML will be blogged about by 3 local bloggers in a positive way.&quot;
Notice that the numbers are not the main reason for using social media; rather, they provide a specific, measureable way to figure out if the library has reached the goal or not. Also, note that none of these goals even mention promoting programs. In fact, promoting programs is not even mentioned in the library’s full list of goals either. That&apos;s amazing, considering that&apos;s how most libraries use social media. CML might promote specific programs that relate to its goals. For example if they have identified genealogists as a targeted audience, they might promote genealogy programs that help meet the first goal. However promoting programs is not a goal unto itself. Instead, the effort is focused on the need the library is trying to fill, not just on promoting things for the sake of promotion.
Specific: Describe your objectives specific to the results you want. Go deeper than “increase brand awareness” to “increase brand awareness by 10% in the next six months via a targeted social media campaign.” Measurable: You want to use these metrics in the review process to see if you were effective. Having a specific objective will clearly show whether results were met. Achievable: Often “100% customer satisfaction” isn’t realistic. Your goal of 90% customer satisfaction may be more plausible so consider what’s really possible when setting your objectives. Realistic: Ensure you have the resources, tools and staffing to meet your objectives or you’ll just frustrate yourself. Timed: Get specific with your objectives and incorporate a time frame. This makes them real and tangible.
For many, this represents a real change in how a library does social media. It&apos;s forcing us to go a little deeper and question what real needs our library is attempting to fill with social media. Social media for social media&apos;s sake is no longer an acceptable way for libraries to work online.
Let&apos;s start this section with an honest admission: figuring ROI (Return on Investment) for anything a library does can be daunting, simply because libraries don&apos;t generally deal in money transactions. When a business sells a product it’s much easier to determine profitability. If an endeavor adds to the profit margin, it&apos;s typically a good thing. Libraries don&apos;t have that easy metric for the things that they do. However, social media has changed the game for everyone. Now, even businesses are struggling with calculating ROI, since it has become clear that financial ROI is not a good indicator of social media effectiveness.
A lot of libraries and projects get into trouble here, because they never really started off on the right foot. Evaluation begins BEFORE you measure results, because you have to know what you want out of your efforts. How else are you going to know what success? You’ve got to benchmark where you started and figure where you’re planning to go.
You need to measure numbers—it’s very difficult to do anything but! However, remember that there is both quantitative and qualitative measurement (sentiment analysis). You need to have an idea of both. On top of this, number of followers don’t measure influence. For example, let’s say that something your project tweets is retweeted 3 times, and each person who retweeted has around 3-400 followers. Good start…but what about if it’s only retweeted ONCE, by someone who has 5K+ followers? One retweet by Perez Hilton is likely going to be worth far more than a tweet from a bunch of your colleagues.
This doesn’t have to be complex. You’re looking for trends and correlations. 1)Sentiment analysis is important whenever social media is involved. After all, an increase in Twitter mentions isn’t any good if most of them are negative! So you need to know if those mentions are positive or negative. If the original goal was to increase blog comments, then knowing how many are positive and how many are negative is going to be important and will give you a better idea of what is going on. 2)Is your project being discussed on channels that it wasn’t, before? 3) Are our relationships better online than before? 4) Have we moved from monologue to dialogue?
. Now, the metrics to watch are: Reach (how many people see a post), Engagement (how many people interacted in some way with a post) Sentiment (how people generally feel about a post).
It&apos;s easy to throw up your hands and think that ROI is too complicated to figure for an effort that you may think doesn&apos;t involve money. However, it’s worth it to get past this. After all, if your library is doing social media, it is spending money, at least in staff time, if not actual money for promoted posts. For anything your library expends you should be able to justify how that money is being spent. If you can point to a metric such as &quot;Our library got a 32% increase in positive mentions online last year&quot; it can go a long way to alleviate potential fears from boards or administrators that the library is wasting its time with social media.
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From 2006 to 2010, Harvard
spawned 39 start-up
companies, 216 patents,
and 1,270 faculty
Be careful in the heat this
week. Stay cool (and
classy) with these tips:
Why? Why here?
•We are using Pinterest to promote new releases
at the library.
•Our library uses Instagram to post event photos.
•Google+ is where we engage with our local
•Our Facebook account is where we boost traffic
to our library's blog and website.
•Customize features for identified customer
audiences (i.e., genealogy, small business, teens,
•Utilize social media in the rollout and launch of
•Continue to build relationships with local
•Integrate Friends, Foundation and Volunteers
into our communication efforts as it relates to
Continue to build relationships with local
CML will be blogged about by 3 local bloggers in
a positive way
•Option 1: Create a list of at least three (3) social media goals for a
library. Explain why they are realistic goals, and how each will be
measured. You can use sub-goals if that helps.
•Option 2: Choose three (3) top-level goals from the list, below.
Explain why those three are or are not well-crafted goals. For those
that are good goals, how could they be measured?
–Grow your Facebook page "Likes"
–Engage with local garden clubs
–Increase traffic to the library's blog
–Make more local businesses aware of business-specific resources available
–Increase attendance at teen programs
–Increase circulation of new releases
–Increase the number of repins on Pinterest
• Why have a social
media policy (or
• What should be in
• Some social media
Any company, big or small, needs a
social media policy to protect their
reputations. Even if their company
has no social media presence, their
employees may be creating one by
virtue of their actions online.”
Aliah Wright, author of A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites
Social media policy
The other side of the coin
• Your people can be trusted
• Social media is just one more way to
• More rules only make your company more
• Formal policies only discourage people from
• You probably already have policies that govern
2.Write in a
“Always pause and think before posting. That said, reply
to comments in a timely manner, when a response is
appropriate. But if it gives you pause, pause. If you're about
to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit
uncomfortable, don't shrug it off and hit 'send.' Take a
minute to review these guidelines and try to figure out
what's bothering you, then fix it. If you're still unsure, you
might want to discuss it with your manager or legal
representative. Ultimately, what you publish is yours - as is
the responsibility. So be sure.”
“Don't pick fights, be the first
to correct your own
mistakes, and don't alter
previous posts without
indicating that you have
Additional stuff from CML
• Do not reference or cite Library clients,
partners, or customers without their
• Library logos and trademarks may not be
used without written consent.
Social media policy, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio
• NARA will delete comments that contain abusive, vulgar,
offensive, threatening or harassing language, personal
attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific
individuals or groups.
• NARA will delete comments that are clearly off-topic, that
promote services or products, or that promote or oppose
any political party, person campaigning for elected office,
or any ballot proposition.
• NARA does not discriminate against any views, but
reserves the right to remove posted comments that do
not adhere to these standards.
Community Hospital of Monterey
Post material that infringes on the rights of
any third party, including intellectual
property, privacy, or publicity rights. We
ask that you please respect copyright
laws, and that you reference or cite
sources appropriately. Plagiarism in any
form is prohibited.
• 3 Great Social Media Policies to Steal
• Social Media Governance—Policy
database [approx. 250 policies!] (http://
Take the Twitter Audit
• Look at your last 20 tweets. How many were @ replies? How many were
retweets of other people’s work?
• In your last 20 tweets, how many promote your own work versus pointing
towards others’ ideas?
• Do you have at least one ongoing Twitter search going? (use http://
search.twitter.com to set one up.
• Are the tweets you hope will be retweeted under 120 characters so people can
• Of the people you follow, how many are “influential” in some way, how many
are potentially good for referrals, how many are just celebrities?
• How often are you tweeting? Is less more? Is more more? Are you burying your
• How are you feeding Twitter? What are you giving your audience to consume?
Do you share interesting articles? Do you point out your lunch du jour? What’s
• Are you autotweeting your post titles? Is that bringing you lots of response?
• Have you checked the click-through stats on your short links? For instance, if
you use bit.ly, take the URL of anything you’ve posted, copy it to a browser bar,
and add a +, like this: “http://bit.ly/iOGhJ2+” , and you’ll see the stats. How are
• How many folks are you gaining a day? Not that this matters greatly, but it
sometimes gives you a sense of whether someone’s into what you’re saying.
The internet computers are not available
this morning due to maintenance.
Argh! Power surge took down a
server; no internet here this morning
Mango Languages is a new online resource available
to users of all public libraries in our state. It
includes a variety... [LINK]
Learn a new language. Today. For
Free. Online. With your library
card. Introducing Mango
National Library Week,
April 10-16. [LINK]
I posted 6 photos on Facebook in the album "Cool
Crafts 2011” [LINK]
Geodomes made with
gumdrops, constructed with
care by our local kids. See the
Author Rob Smith is
coming to the library
tonight at 7 pm.
Local author Rob Smith (
of the McGowan Chronicles is
here tonight at 7 pm [LINK]
*Yes, you have to work now.
We’re looking for a new library trustee [LINK]
Not everyone is cut out to be a library trustee—are
you? We’re looking for a new one for next year
Come to “Local Herbalist Shares History of Herbal
Medicines” today at 7pm [LINK]
Curious about the history of herbal medicines?
Local herbalist tells all at 7pm tonight [LINK]
Check out the Second National Bank’s window on Main St.
for a great display put up by staff!
It took 2 hours, 4 staff & more than 500 yds of streamers. What do you
think of the display we did at the Main St. National Bank? [LINK TO