Southern Ontario Library Service: Doing Social Media Like You Mean It


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  • 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'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'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'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's social media goals, would you be able to provide one? Most libraries don'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's impossible for the library to know if they are succeeding? If you don't know where you started, and what you'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'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 "everyone else is there." 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't retweet or repost your content, or engage with it at all, it'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 "vanity metrics," because they don't generally do much except make social media managers feel good about themselves[1].
  • 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 "likes" from 3,500 in 2010 to more than 18,500 in 2011. However, just increasing numbers doesn'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's a partial list of their goals from that year[1]: [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: "Continue to build relationships with local bloggers" Sub-goal: "CML will be blogged about by 3 local bloggers in a positive way."
  • 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's amazing, considering that'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'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's sake is no longer an acceptable way for libraries to work online.
  • Let'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'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's typically a good thing. Libraries don'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's easy to throw up your hands and think that ROI is too complicated to figure for an effort that you may think doesn'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 "Our library got a 32% increase in positive mentions online last year" it can go a long way to alleviate potential fears from boards or administrators that the library is wasting its time with social media.
  • /
  • /
  • Southern Ontario Library Service: Doing Social Media Like You Mean It

    1. 1. Doing Social Media Like You Mean it May 15 & 16, 2014
    2. 2. Laura Solomon, MCIW, MLS Library Services Manager, OPLIN @laurasolomon *
    3. 3. "Social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. No one actually knows how. When finally done, there is surprise it's not better." Avinash Kaushik, Google's analytics evangelist
    4. 4. 1. Ways to FAIL at the START
    5. 5.
    6. 6. Profiles matter
    7. 7. 2. Ways to to fail DURING
    8. 8. You are HERE
    9. 9. Talk to us… …or kiss us goodbye.
    10. 10.
    11. 11. Consider these… • Join our new Book Discussion Group! [LINK] • Be a member of our new Patron Advisory Board [LINK] • Try our new research database for your next assignment [LINK]
    12. 12. Join our new Book Discussion Group! [LINK] Can't stop talking about that book you just read? Yeah, us too. Now we've got a group for that: [LINK]
    13. 13. Be a member of our new Student Advisory Board [LINK] Looking for opinionated people who want to talk about the library. Cookies at every meeting and a chance to make a difference [LINK]
    14. 14. Try our new research database for your next assignment [LINK] Wikipedia not good enough for your prof? Show ‘em you're a smart cookie and try a free resource from us [LINK]
    15. 15. Consider these: • Please take our brief survey! • Want to hang with Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, and Kristen Stewart this weekend? They’re waiting for you in the Media Center…check them out and take them home! • Questions about printing and scanning? Get answers at Copy Services in the 24/7 Study Area!
    16. 16. From 2006 to 2010, Harvard spawned 39 start-up companies, 216 patents, and 1,270 faculty inventions. #numberswednesday
    17. 17. Be careful in the heat this week. Stay cool (and classy) with these tips: [LINK]
    18. 18. Check out our hottest summer DVD releases!
    19. 19. Read Dan Porat's The Boy : A Holocaust Story. To be ordered on 11/21
    20. 20. Today at 3:45, we are showing a new release on our BIG projector screen! Hope to see you there. Free, no need to register.
    21. 21. 3. Failing when RESPONDING
    22. 22. Social Media: Planning for Success Laura Solomon, MCIW, MLS OPLIN
    23. 23. Failure to plan is a plan to fail Figuring goals Measuring stuff Agenda Phase 3
    24. 24. Are you PLANNING at all?
    25. 25. Problem #1: Effort without benchmarks
    26. 26. Problem #2: Disregard for ROI
    27. 27. Problem #3: Inconsistent efforts
    28. 28. Problem #4: Ineffective accounts
    29. 29. Without goals, you get nowhere How do you know if you’re failing?
    30. 30. A lot of libraries just drift
    31. 31. 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 maker community. •Our Facebook account is where we boost traffic to our library's blog and website.
    32. 32. Recipe for failure
    33. 33. What about numbers?
    34. 34. Columbus Metropolitan Library
    35. 35. •Customize features for identified customer audiences (i.e., genealogy, small business, teens, etc.) •Utilize social media in the rollout and launch of •Continue to build relationships with local bloggers •Integrate Friends, Foundation and Volunteers into our communication efforts as it relates to social media
    36. 36. Goal: Continue to build relationships with local bloggers Sub-goal: CML will be blogged about by 3 local bloggers in a positive way
    37. 37. Stop focusing on the numbers
    38. 38. Are your goals S.M.A.R.T.? Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timed
    39. 39. Paradigm shift
    40. 40. Measuring stuff You have to start somewhere.
    41. 41. ROI is actually kind of hard
    42. 42. Why measure? How else will you know if you succeeded?
    43. 43. Numbers are important, but… …numbers lie.
    44. 44. Quantitative goals •Website stats and conversions •Downloads •Likes, followers, views •Comments •Mentions in social media •Sharing of content •Inquiries offline
    45. 45. Qualitative goals •Positive vs. negative •Location •Relationship status •Monologue vs. dialogue
    46. 46. What metrics matter? •Reach •Engagement •Sentiment
    47. 47. Don’t give up. It’s worth it
    48. 48. What does this mean to me, Laura?
    49. 49. Know what social media success looks like, and measure for it.
    50. 50. Practice time •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
    51. 51. • Why have a social media policy (or not) • What should be in a policy • Some social media guidelines for participants
    52. 52. 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
    53. 53. Discrimination policy Leave policy Vacation policy Social media policy
    54. 54.
    55. 55. The other side of the coin • Your people can be trusted • Social media is just one more way to communicate • More rules only make your company more bureaucratic • Formal policies only discourage people from participating • You probably already have policies that govern inappropriate behavior •
    56. 56. 1.Be specific 2.Write in a friendly tone 3.Consult a lawyer
    57. 57. “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.”
    58. 58. “Don't pick fights, be the first to correct your own mistakes, and don't alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.”
    59. 59. Additional stuff from CML • Do not reference or cite Library clients, partners, or customers without their express consent • Library logos and trademarks may not be used without written consent. Social media policy, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio
    60. 60. • 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.
    61. 61. Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula 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.
    62. 62. Resources • 3 Great Social Media Policies to Steal From ( ) • Social Media Governance—Policy database [approx. 250 policies!] (http://
    63. 63. Why aren’t we talking about Facebook???
    64. 64. Laura Solomon, MCIW, MLS OPLIN @laurasolomon (How to prevent Laurafrom unfollowingYOURlibrary onTwitter)
    65. 65. STATS
    66. 66. International distribution
    67. 67. A LOT of tweets 500 million per DAY
    68. 68. Mostly mobile
    69. 69. FIX THESE
    70. 70. Innovative or creepy?
    71. 71. Stop talking about the library
    72. 72. Don’t be a Debbie Downer
    73. 73. Don’t be a fire hose
    74. 74. Don’t play robot stalker
    75. 75. Don’t address tweets to the wrong people
    76. 76. Don’t exclude followers with @
    77. 77. Don’t recreate hashtags
    78. 78. Response time matters
    79. 79. Tweeting a link alone is…
    80. 80. Don’t jump into the stream
    81. 81. Don’t rapid-fire
    82. 82. DOING IT RIGHT
    83. 83. Be clear about who you are
    84. 84. Give glimpses behind the curtain
    85. 85. Be useful
    86. 86. Go local
    87. 87. Use hashtags
    88. 88. Reward your followers
    89. 89. Give them attention
    90. 90. Time it right
    91. 91. Give up control
    92. 92. Have a sense of humor
    93. 93. Don’t take yourself too seriously
    94. 94. Be human
    95. 95. It’s not about you
    96. 96. Find the right account
    97. 97. Follow back
    98. 98. Advanced Twitter search
    99. 99. 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:// to set one up. • Are the tweets you hope will be retweeted under 120 characters so people can retweet them? • 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 good stuff? • 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 the plan? • 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, take the URL of anything you’ve posted, copy it to a browser bar, and add a +, like this: “” , and you’ll see the stats. How are you doing? • 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. •
    100. 100. Examples
    101. 101. The internet computers are not available this morning due to maintenance. Argh! Power surge took down a server; no internet here this morning —sorry!
    102. 102. 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 Languages: [LINK]
    103. 103. National Library Week, April 10-16. [LINK] Who CARES?
    104. 104. 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 pics [LINK]
    105. 105. Author Rob Smith is coming to the library tonight at 7 pm. WHO?
    106. 106. Local author Rob Smith (, author of the McGowan Chronicles is here tonight at 7 pm [LINK]
    107. 107. Practice Time
    108. 108. People are REALLY busy
    109. 109. Make sure there’s a payoff for the patron
    110. 110. Social media does NOT equal promotion
    111. 111. Putting It All Together (The things that matter, in the end)
    112. 112. 6 Social Media Myths
    113. 113. Myth #1: Social media is a great marketing tool
    114. 114. Myth #2: It’s quick
    115. 115. Myth #3: It’s cheap
    116. 116. Myth #4: You need to be everywhere
    117. 117. “Focus less on the venues for where the conversation will happen; focus more on creating the sparks that will ignite it.” Molly Flat
    118. 118. Myth #5: There are no rules The 11 Rules of Social Media Etiquette etiquette.html
    119. 119. Myth #6: Social capital doesn’t matter
    120. 120. So let’s think about social capital for a bit.
    121. 121. Let’s go back in time…
    122. 122. So how can social capital be EARNED?
    123. 123. Idea #1: Thank them
    124. 124. Idea #2: Post other stuff* *not yours
    125. 125. RT @patron: Libraries are great! Libraries are great! Idea #3: Retweet @patron @library
    126. 126. Idea #4: Provide stuff of value
    127. 127. Idea #5: Do customer service
    128. 128. Idea #6: Create a viral experience
    129. 129. Know your balance
    130. 130. But…how do you spend it?
    131. 131. 80%:20%
    132. 132. Ration capital requests
    133. 133. Measurin g Stuff
    134. 134. What do you want to achieve? 3. Better reputation 2. More use of expensive resources 1. More people in the doors
    135. 135. Can you benchmark success?
    136. 136. CONVERSIONS
    137. 137. “It’s hard to establish show- me-the-money metrics if there are no transactions to paint a picture of consumer intent. “ Tom Managan, writing about social media ROI
    138. 138. It’s all about behavior
    139. 139. Re-writing posts* *Yes, you have to work now.
    140. 140. What the library wants Great post What the reader wants
    141. 141. 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 [LINK]
    142. 142. 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]
    143. 143. 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 PHOTO]
    144. 144. What does this mean to me, Laura?
    145. 145. Your big take-aways for today: 1. Payoffs matter. A lot. 2. Don’t drain your social capital account. 3. Know the goals and what you’re measuring, beyond the numbers.
    146. 146. (Absolutely shameless plug)
    147. 147. Laura Solomon, MCIW, MLS @laurasolomon Questions? More Information?