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Marketing academic libraries in a web 2 world


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A presentation delivered at Oxford Social Media 2011. It's about marketing academic libraries with social media, but most of what it contains applies across the sectors to other library types.

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Marketing academic libraries in a web 2 world

  1. 1. @theREALwikiman
  2. 2. ... a direct successor to „web 1‟ or whateveryou want to call the rest of the internet. Thereare still plenty of useful and active sites whicharen‟t web 2.
  3. 3. …an approach. People consume Web 2 in newand different (non-passive) ways. Web 2applications are typically characterised byinteraction, sharing, collaboration, interoperability, uploading – in short they areparticipatory.It‟s not a broadcast, it‟s a conversation.
  4. 4. ... a poster featuring details of a new database.That’s advertising.It‟s not an online campaign about a new service.That’s promotion.It‟s not an article in the paper about the librarian.That’s publicity. (If the article is about the librarian welcominga celebrity to the library, that‟s PR.)And it‟s definitely not a piece of A4 coloured paper withsomething written about the library in Comic Sans.That’s just awful.
  5. 5. ... an ongoing conversation with your targetaudience, which combinespromotion, publicity, PR, and advertising in anorganised, strategic way, using interactiveonline tools to speak directly to the peoplewho matter and LISTEN to what they have tosay.
  6. 6. ... an opportunity to find out about yourpatrons and potential patrons, go to wherethey are already, interact with them, tell themabout stuff they might find useful, listen towhat they want, and ultimately demonstrateto them how you can help them get from Ato B a little easier.
  7. 7. You can divide them by type:... students ...... academics ...... researchers ...... senior university types ....... the local community ...... other libraries and institutions ...
  8. 8. Or what about dividing them by their needs?... general information about the library ...... the kind added value we provide via Info Lit etc...... to master the world of academia ....... to scrape a 2:1 ...... to hit their REF targets...... to complete their research whilst raising small children...
  9. 9. Or even their information-seeking behaviour?... immersive books and journals ...... the article level universe ...... the paragraph level universe ...!... the off-site searcher of electronic resources ....... the on-site browser of paper stock ...
  10. 10. Make sure the tail isn‟t wagging the dog.There‟s no point in signing up for a new socialmedia platform unless you know why you‟regoing to be on there, and how you‟re going touse it.When you create an online presence, it shouldhave goals and a purpose. That’s whatmakes this marketing.
  11. 11. “Inspire lifelong learning by asking andanswering questions that encouragepatrons to challenge their assumptions .”New York Public Library | Social Media Strategy
  12. 12. “It’s better to do one thing properly thanto end up with lots of sad, neglectedprofiles all over the web.”Frances Taylor | Marketing Manager, Business & IP Centre, British Library
  13. 13. In theory it‟s good to create, launch and assess your socialmedia profiles one at a time, to ensure each one works anddoesn‟t end up as a dead end. In practice the accounts oftenwork together, so it‟s not always practical to take a „step bystep‟ approach.Whatever happens, only launch begin using a web 2 platformin your library‟s name if you can commit to running it wellover a sustained period. Dud accounts do more harm thangood.
  14. 14. Because Web 2 is all about dialogue, the tone you use inmarketing your services needs to be conversational. Manyinstitutional accounts begin rather stiffly – that‟s okay, butthey do need to relax and become more informal over time.In most cases, the tone you should be aiming for is: Informal but not overly familiar; friendly but not overly personal; colloquial but grammatically, syntactically and orthographically* correct.just cause ur using social media dont think that meansu should b using txt speak! *Orthographically basically means „spellingly‟...
  15. 15. It‟s a conversation, remember? Imagine how many focusgroups you‟d need to set up to get the kind of access socialmedia provides! Utilise this, and get people‟s opinions.“Our approach to social media is to make sure that wespend as much time following and listening to otherpeople as posting information about ourselves.When organisations only post information aboutthemselves on Twitter it can be very off-putting. I usethe analogy of going to a party – you wouldn’t stand ina corner of the room and shout at people. It’s exactlythe same on Twitter. You need to ensure that you’reinterested in the people that you follow, and that youengage with them.”Frances Taylor | British Library
  16. 16. Marketing works best with a blend of old and newmedia, the two worlds working together.“I see social media as one piece of a largerpuzzle. Often I will run campaigns that involvethe full marketing mix, including press, e-newsletters and e-flyers, the website, advertisingcampaigns, working with partners, etc. By usinga range of media, you can ensure that yourcampaigns have maximum impact.”Frances Taylor | British Library
  17. 17. In my opinion, library use of Web 2 platforms should beaiming to accomplish this:Add value in order to increase engagement inorder to deliver key messages to a wideraudience.In other words, make your twitter feed (or whatever)more interesting so more people follow you, so thatmore people then get the really important messagesyou want to market about your library.
  18. 18. ... you have a captive audience ...... you know quite a lot about them already ...... they have (relatively) common needs ...All of this should put you at a hugeadvantage.
  19. 19. Half the battle with marketing is knowingwhat you want to say. (The other half issaying it in a way which has the mostimpact.)Ask yourself what your library wants tocommunicate with the various stakeholderswe‟ve discussed.
  20. 20. Is your aim to promote manage the library‟sreputation, to increase general awareness ofits existence, to promote specific content, toadvertise events and training courses, tomake people aware of the services you offer?(It’s probably all of the above.)
  21. 21. Sometimes, libraries and librarians seemobsessed by process.Instead, we need to focus onoutcomes, aspirations, and benefits.
  22. 22. We describe features when we should bedescribing results.We describe products when we should bedescribing services.We talk about searching when we should betalking about finding.
  23. 23. No one cares how we do things. They justcare how the things we do will effect theirworking lives.No one should have to work out how we canhelp them. The responsibility is ours, toidentify their needs, and explain how we canhelp them in language they can identify with.
  24. 24. “We subscribe to over 100databases!”
  25. 25. “We can find you stuff thatGoogle can’t.”
  26. 26. Like Stephen Abram says, Beauty Salons arecalled Beauty Salons because beauty is whatthey help you achieve. (In theory...) They‟rearen‟t called Ugly Salons or even BecomingBeautiful Salons.
  27. 27. The answer is Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Where are the PEOPLE?
  28. 28. Let’s market services more, and products less.Let‟s promote ourselves, as librarians. Let‟s allow a littlepersonality.It‟s the PEOPLE who separate libraries from other morestraightforward sources of information. Luckily, Web 2 toolsare personal, so we can start to redress the balance.
  29. 29. Twitter is the first platform I‟m covering, for tworeasons:1) Although more library users are on Facebook, they seem to be prefer interacting with the library on twitter in a lot of cases.2) Twitter users are much more influential than those on any other networks. “What happens on Twitter, doesn‟t stay on Twitter” -
  30. 30. Don‟t be afraid to add personal touches to your twitterpage – even though it‟s an institutional account, peopleknow they‟re dealing with individuals.Try adding pictures of the tweeters to yourtwitter’s profile page’s wallpaper, or editing thebio to end with “On duty: [insert currently rota’dtweeter here...]”
  31. 31. It‟s easy to set up searches for your twitter account, whichyou can then „save‟ and re-access easily.Set up a search on the name of your library, so you canmonitor (and if necessary respond to) what‟s being said bypeople who aren‟t using your full @ twitter handle.Set up a geo-locational search, of people using the termLibrary‟ within 1 mile of your site‟s post-code. (This issurprisingly easy to do, just go to Advanced Search.)Respond to people who you think could do with your help orinput, otherwise don‟t go overboard on @ replying to peoplewho aren‟t directly addressing you.
  32. 32. Sometimes human error creeps in and the persontweeting gets mixed up between their personal andinstitutional accounts.When this happens, respondquickly, honestly, and apologise with theappropriate level of seriousness.
  33. 33. There are a million-and-one twitter tools out there whichanalyse your account. Stick to the ones which provideactionable results.• to find out where your followersare based. (Significant overseas followers might vary thetimes you tweet information.)• to find out what percentage of yourtweets are @ replies or RTs. (This gives you an idea of howinteractive your account really is.)• to find out your influence. (Don‟t getcaught up with your overall score, but use Klout to track your„Network Influence‟ and „Amplification Probability‟.)
  34. 34. Research shows student expectations are morphing – theynow expect interactions with the library to take place acrossplatforms like Facebook. This is not the same world intowhich 1001 ill-advised library MySpace accounts were born. Ifa study about Facebook was written before 2010, it haslimited value – attitudes are changing so quickly.Your students ARE on Facebook.So: “ might reach new people, or you might reach thesame people in a different way.”-Helen Murphy | University of Cambridge
  35. 35. Your Facebook account should, if possible, complimentyour main website (so users find value in both) but alsolure in new patrons who wouldn‟t otherwise engagewith the library.It needs to be informal, engaging, and if possible itneeds to have a purpose of its own.
  36. 36. Rescue Buried TreasureA million and one useful services may be on yourlibrary‟s website, but the launches have been and goneand they‟re now mainly forgotten about. Draw yourusers‟ attentions back to useful things that wouldotherwise be hidden to most.Ask questions“Don‟t just link to a new service. Say: „here‟s a newservice from the library - have you tried it, and whatdid you think?‟”Sue Lawson | Manchester Libraries
  37. 37. Pull in ContentIf time is limited, it‟s straightforward to populate yourFB page with content from elsewhere in the library –RSS feeds from a library blog, your twitter feed, eventscalendar and so on (and you can use Yahoo! Pipes toaggregate several feeds into one)Embed a SearchGet an OPAC search on there so people can find stuff inyour library without having to leave your page (andmaybe add a JSTOR one where subject appropriate)
  38. 38. Great design is important, but remember the vastmajority of people interact via the Wall.Keep in mind people use Facebook ALL DAY. Thischanges how you approach your strategy – you canfeed into their daily activity, rather than having to hitthem with all the key messages at once.Use the Insights tool (essentially analytics) to learnmore about your users, and adapt the contentaccordingly.
  39. 39. Institutional blogs are a great way to communicate withpatrons in a way which is less formal than via press releaseor the main website, but which is still the library impartinginformation in a way it can control.Blogs can actually be fairly broadcast orientated (setting up ablog to document progress on a library refurb, for example)or they can be more conversational (asking questions of thereaders, soliciting feedback on new services, encouragingdiscussion between subscribers and so on).
  40. 40. Put a number on itFor whatever reason, a post entitled “5 tips for doing X” willget more views than the same post entitled “Guide to X”Ask a questionBlogs are a rare opportunity for libraries to give their patronsownership of something. Ask a question, either in the title ofthe post or at the end, and give them a voice via thecomments section.Use the hashtag in the titleIf your post is about a particular event or theme which hasaccompanying twitter hashtag, use the actual tag in the titleof the post. That way every time someone tweets a link toit, a wider audience will have a chance to read the post.
  41. 41. Get out thereComment on other blogs AS your institutional blog – peopleare happier to engage with you if you‟re engaging withothers, plus it‟ll link back to your blog.Make sure you’re listedHave you registered your blog anywhere? It‟s a lot easier forGoogle to find it if you tell Google it exists; same goes forother search engines. Also, stick a link on the UK LibraryBlogs wiki.Most importantly, make it infinitely shareableYour patrons should never have to think for more than half asecond about how to share your blog – whether viaTwitter, Facebook, email, or whatever pertinent platform.
  42. 42. If you know that you‟re about experience a spike in traffic(for example because of a presentation in which you give theURL, or an article appearing with a link to the blog) thenmake sure there is something absolutely mint displayed onthe front-page, to lure the new readers in and hook them...Now is not the time for your most recent post to be anapology about building works!
  43. 43. YoutubeDo not make a video UNLESS IT IS GOOD! Simple andwell executed beats ambitious and ropey every time.FlickrA great opportunity to allow users to have someownership of library content – allow them to uploadtheir pictures to a particular collection, curate acollection of user pictures around a particular subjectarea, or crowd-source information about obscure stuffin your archives.
  44. 44. WikisVastly overrated as tools for engagement!SlideshareVastly underrated as a tool for engagement!LinkedInEssential for business libraries. But foreveryone: follow your academic staff.
  45. 45. By the end of next year, the majority of internet access willcome via mobile devices rather than PCs.By the end of the decade, ALL phones will be smart-phones.(So you‟ll have one whether you want one or not...)People’s whole lives will be organised via theirmobiles, so they’ll expect the library to be there too.
  46. 46. “An awesome library website needs to reach into peoplespockets and purses … via a mobile website. If your customersreally value your library and its services, they will put you ontheir speed dial, add you to their Facebook friends list, andReTweet the events youre holding next week. Create amobile-friendly website, and your customers can do thesethings while at home, while standing in a long grocery storeline, or during a quick break at work.”David Lee King | Digital Branch & Services Manager, Topeka and ShawneeCounty Public Library
  47. 47. “I‟ve just become Mayor of Being Really Annoying!” ... butgeolocational apps are here to stay, and will only becomemore prevalent.It‟s worth bearing in mind your library is likely „on‟FourSquare already, whether or not you‟ve set up aFourSquare account.
  48. 48. Libraries are becoming early adopters of new platforms. Thisis great – not least because it allows us to market viathem, and also market our abilities with them to our patrons.The key is not the technologies or platformsthemselves, it’s about positioning ourselves withinthose them, and within the wider narrative.
  49. 49. It‟s not about saying “Hey the library is an expert inFourSquare!” – it‟s about saying “The librarians know aboutnew trends and technologies, come to us and we‟ll guide youthrough it!” and then when FourSquare (or any othergeolocational social media app, or anything else) goesmainstream, our patrons and customers already have as inmind as potential experts.
  50. 50. Leather background: 661/sizes/l/in/photostream/ This background: 296799591/sizes/l/in/photostream/ The quotes in this presentation are from Case Studies included in The Library Marketing Toolkit by Ned Potter, to be published in 2012.Background images are from Chrysti and MaxfWilliams via Flickr Creative Commons
  51. 51. Email me: ned@thewikiman.orgFollow me: @theREALwikimanRead me: www.thewikiman.orgPre-order me!(Click the bookfor more details) (Via Facet Publishing, or Amazon...  )