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Social media for libraries!
Social Media (SoMe) is formed of multiple online channels helping users to connect and communicate by providing ways to interact, share and collaborate with each other. The fact that people are spending so much time online, can be an opportunity to grow the library’s online presence by using Social Media.
It may take time, but this is time worth investing in order to cultivate the online extension of the library, connecting the community outside to the amazing resources and safe spaces within.
— MGRLibraries #OurMGRL (@MGRLibraries) February 16, 2020
Create an active community over social media and engage visitors by posting questions about what they think, and what will they would like to see on the page and in the stories – create polls and let them decide on future activities and a convenient time. One way to ensure a good level of attendance at the many events hosted by the library is to promote each one heavily, this will create interest and bring people together more successfully.
Therefore, focusing on encouraging visitors to follow the library on social media will increase interaction and visibility online which will then generate more activity in the library.
Not promoting it could lead to a lack of awareness about what the library has to offer. How could members of the community attend events and participate in activities organized by the library, if they are simply not aware of them? Creating content consistently which can be accessed across online platforms, such as Instagram, will create the brand awareness a library needs to promote activities and events in order to reach more of the community.
Let visitors easily find the library!
Libraries are for everyone, no matter the age or what genre of books they prefer, or even if they don’t enjoy reading. Many libraries have started to implement new activities and programs across all ages and interests.
When using social media to inform the community about all the new ideas, and activities happening in and around the library, the interactions occur at an accelerated rate. This allows the library to inspire, motivate and encourage the visitors to become more active, not just in their reading and research endeavours, but also in their social life when participating in the library’s activities.
It’s important to present the library’s offerings in a readily accessible place where the potential visitors spend their time. The most powerful social media tools in 2019 are Facebook and Instagram, based on data from statista.com these are the most preferred platforms widely used by the population.
As mentioned above libraries are for everyone, meeting the differing needs across all generations is also important. Visitors from the baby boomers’ generations will be easier to reach through newspapers and newsletters. Meanwhile Gen Z and millennials require a different approach, preferring Facebook, and Instagram followed up by Twitter.
To see a visual representation of the data, you can check it out here.
How to use Instagram
For anyone who doesn’t have an account yet and might be unsure about how to begin, here is a very useful guide.
Setting up an Instagram profile is easy to do in just a couple of minutes. Make sure to add a profile picture, which could be the logo of the library.
Keep the description short, include only key information such as the library’s address, website and phone number. The next step is to start following people from the community and organizations nearby. Now it’s time to create a first post, this could be a picture of anything; the library before or after opening hours, a very special piece of a collection, or a recent social activity.
I have been making the case for a library Instagram account for over 3 years. Problem is the decision makers are not part of the Instagram generation & think everyone is on Facebook https://t.co/xelKpLlrHq
— darren smart (@darrentheviking) January 29, 2020
Finally! The Instagram account is set-up, but now what to post? Here are some ideas from the Princh team which can help generate interest from members of the community and build the library’s following!
-Post about all new and ongoing events such as book readings, activities for kids, socials, author signings, and anything else organized by the library. Always take pictures to share on SoMe, and if appropriate, tag the photo. This is a very important part of broadening engagement because the person tagged is likely to share the post with more people, which in turn will help to grow the library’s following.
-Keep visitors informed about any new information regarding the library. For example, the opening hours have changed or there are new members of staff.
-Be sure to also highlight cutting-edge resources at your library such as a 3D printer, or an innovative new printing solution which allows fast and easy printing from personal devices including integrated electronic payment such as our printing solution. To learn more about our Princh Printing Solution click here.
-HASHTAGS are crucial in the Social Media World! Placing the # symbol in front of a word, such as ‘’#library’’ will produce a higher rate of interactions. Using hashtags improves profile discovery and helps to generate more followers, thus increasing the library’s visibility online.
-Promote a creative book display or your library’s physical space which will be a great visual for an Instagram post. Write brief but relevant text below or add a short literary quote to make it even more interesting.
-Re-arrange the books by color to create some positive attention and generate more interest and curiosity from the patron’s side.
When libraries troll their patrons. pic.twitter.com/Hn8a96f8je
— Bart Leib (@Metafrantic) February 4, 2018
The library has a role to play in bringing the community together and the best way to achieve this is by using social media to build the community online. Improving communication with visitors can also improve the level of engagement and lay the foundations for a stronger relationship in the future.
Using Social Media to interact with visitors, will benefit the library by helping to create the needed awareness. Timely promotion is the key to planning a successful event, talk about it and provide daily reminders about what’s about to come. Remember to be active on social media by posting interesting facts, promoting events and sharing the good vibes.
In conclusion, hopefully this blog has provided some insights about Instagram and how can it be harnessed to grow and enhance the library’s presence within the community.
Lia is a content writer for the Princh Library Blog. Princh, which is a printing solution designed specifically for and with public libraries, makes a consistent effort to provide advocacy for libraries and library professionals. The Princh blog discusses library specific topics that inform their readers of library trends, insights, technologies and more.