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Super Library Marketing: All kinds of marketing ideas for all kinds of libraries.

Get Your Instagram in Shape for the New Year!

This post is part of a series on revamping and re-evaluating your library’s social media platforms. At least once a year, you should look at your library’s LinkedInFacebook and Twitter accounts and do the following:

Clarify your library’s social media goals.

Audit the current status of your library’s social media accounts.

Set new social media goals to move your library’s overall strategy forward.

Improve your library’s social media profile

Let’s talk about Instagram. The platform has 800 million users worldwide, likely including thousands of your cardholders. Time spent on the platform is up 80 percent this year! And most of the users are under the age of 30. That’s the demographic most libraries are desperately trying to reach.

So if your library is not on Instagram, it should be. And if your library is on the platform, it’s time to plan for how you’ll put it to better use next year. My library recently laid out our plans for Instagram for 2018. Here are some of the ideas we’ll be implementing next year, based on expert advice and current trends.

Start using stories. START USING STORIES. This is the most important point I’m going to make in this post and I really cannot emphasize this enough. Stories are the key to making your Instagram account successful and if you merely post photos and don’t do stories, you might as well not post on Instagram at all. Plus stories are now available on the desktop version of Instagram so your followers can watch literally from any device. What are you waiting for?

Make a commitment to post once a day. Consistency is the key to making it work. The more consistently you post, the more your posts will show up in the feed of your followers, and the more your followers will engage. It’s that simple.

Photos are still king on Instagram. Social Media Today says photos get 36 percent more engagement than videos on Instagram. That’s not to say that you should never post videos. Videos are great if your subject is a moving object or visually engaging. My recommendation is to try a ratio of three photos to one video in Instagram posts. Video adds variety and keeps your followers interested in what you are posting on the platform. But if you haven’t ventured onto Instagram yet because you’re worried you can’t shoot quality videos, don’t be. Do photos. There are plenty of beautiful pics happening in your workplace every day and your cardholders will like and comment on them on Instagram. And on that note…

Imagery is key. We work in a building full of beautiful images-shelving, stacks of books, interesting works of art, and more. I’m not a visual artist but I can still see there is tons of imagery in the library and social media experts say posts with striking visual imagery will be popular on Instagram in 2018. Libraries are ripe with fantastic images… a person reading a book against a sunlit window, a messy stack of books in the book drop waiting to be checked in each morning, a shot from the drive-thru window looking out on a busy street. Take a moment to admire the beauty of your building, your co-workers, and your job… and then capture it on your smart phone and share it with your fans!

Try branded hashtags. They’ll help you keep track of your post engagement and they’re a way to give your post some visibility in the feed. Plus, working your library’s name into a hashtag and using that on every post drives home your brand image in the mind of your followers over time.

Post with a location tag. Using the location tag is easy and the latest statistics from Social Media Today show a location tag increases user engagement by 71 percent.

Further reading:

Instagram statistics to keep in mind for 2018

Three secrets to delight your Instagram followers

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

 

 

 

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Get Your Library’s LinkedIn in Shape for the New Year!

This post is part of a series on revamping and re-evaluating your library’s social media platforms. At least once a year, you should look at your library’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and do the following:

Clarify your library’s social media goals.

Audit the current status of your library’s social media accounts.

Set new social media goals to move your library’s overall strategy forward.

Improve your library’s social media profiles.

There are not enough libraries-particularly in the public and academic sectors-using LinkedIn to reach cardholders. This particular social media platform has a lot of potential for great content marketing. It’s also a great place for personal connections with your cardholders because the audience is smaller and more focused on specific wants and needs like job improvement, workplace issues, self-help ideas, and personal growth. So here are some easy ways to improve your library’s presence on LinkedIn. And if your library is not yet using LinkedIn, try these easy ideas to develop a presence there.

Think about the kind of cardholders who will connect with you on LinkedIn and make your profile all about serving them. Don’t use your library’s LinkedIn to brag about your library. Your LinkedIn followers will want to see ways that your library can help them to better their careers. So give them information about books, classes, and events geared toward improving their professional lives.

Use relevant keywords in your profile summary and your posts to make your page easier to find in search. Words like library, career help, career classes, career books, self-help books, job hunt, shared workspace, and the like will help people find and follow your page. LinkedIn has a robust search engine–put it to work for you!

Post several days a week. That’s right, your library doesn’t have to post every day. But having a strategy to post two to three times a week is important. LinkedIn works on an algorithm and keeping up regular posts ensures that what you say will show up regularly in the feed of your connections.

Share news that is job and career-related that doesn’t come from your library. Like other social media platforms, curated content is important on LinkedIn. It’s perfectly acceptable for one or two of your posts each week to be non-promotional. In fact, your cardholders will begin to see your library as a true source of career and job information if you curate and share content.

Profile your workers. This tactic has been successful for our library. Once a week, we do a Worker Wednesday profile where we highlight someone working in the library–from the janitors all the way up to senior leadership. We get the most engagement from these posts and they’re easy to do. All you need is a photo and two lines–we usually ask staff to tell us why they like working at the library and what they’re reading now.

Post library jobs on LinkedIn. That’s right, you can use the platform to help drive qualified candidates to your Human Resources department! Users of LinkedIn are engaged in their careers, so what better audience?

More resources to help!

Why LinkedIn is a Hot Social Network

Important Stats about LinkedIn Use

How to Create a Company Page and Best Practices

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

 

Get Your Facebook Page in Shape for the New Year!

This post is part of a series on revamping and re-evaluating your library’s social media platforms. At least once a year, you should look at your library’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and do the following:

Clarify your library’s social media goals.

Audit the current status of your library’s social media accounts.

Set new social media goals to move your library’s overall strategy forward.

Improve your library’s social media profiles.

Let’s focus on Facebook. The social media platform is likely the flagship of your library’s strategy. Most of us have a large following and spend most of our social media promotional energy on Facebook, so we want it to be as effective as possible. As you look forward to the next 12 months, consider these ideas for increasing your Facebook effectiveness.

Schedule regular page audits to make sure every feature on your Facebook page is in your brand voice AND is working to move your library’s overall strategy forward. Remember, everything you do in library marketing should be part of a commitment to work toward the overall goals of your library. So every part of your page needs to be within your library’s character and voice as much as possible. You want people to recognize your library as your library, even when they are not in your building or on your website. The wording, visuals, and terminology are important. Check to make sure everything matches your overall tone and character.

When Facebook gives you the option to customize, take it! Update your “about” section. Check the call to action button on your page to see if it’s working for you or if there’s another option that will be better for your library. My library uses “Contact Us.” New York Public Library uses “Donate.” Columbus Public Library says “Sign Up.” Boone County, KY public library says “Learn More.” Choose whichever works best for your library’s strategy.

Change your cover photo or create a cover video to add extra visual flair to your page. I create a schedule to change the cover photo to match major system-wide library initiatives. You can use Canva or other graphics editing software to help you create beautiful and inviting cover photos. Or you can shoot a video and post that as your cover photo to increase engagement.

Edit your sidebar options so that the most important calls to action are toward the top.

Check your photo arrangement to make sure you are showcasing photos that really help your library. Facebook’s default position is “most recent content” but even when that option is checked, it may still show some older post photos (this was the case for my library–silly algorithm!) I prefer to select “featured content” and then “change featured photos” so I can select which photos show on the page. Pick shots which are timeless and interesting.

You can make a similar choice to show certain videos on your page. There’s no “featured content” option on videos so choose “most recent.”

Set up auto responses so any cardholder who sends you a message gets an immediate response. If your library gets a lot of Facebook messages during off-hours, this can be very helpful. There’s nothing more frustrating to a cardholder than sending a help message and getting no response for hours or days. Our library’s auto message says, “Hi! Our Facebook page is staffed Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. We’ll respond ASAP during this time. If you’ve contacted us outside these hours, try our 24/7 online chat! It’s available on our website at CincinnatiLibrary.org. Thank you!” Create a similar message to direct people to places where they might find an immediate answer to their question and will help improve your responsiveness without committing more staff and time.

Post 360 photos and videos to boost engagement. Instead of using two-dimensional photos or standard videos of things you wish to promote,  use 360-degree photos and videos to create an in-person experience. This feature is a lot of fun if you have an architectural space that is visually appealing, like an atrium, an auditorium, or even the stacks. It doesn’t take much effort or fancy equipment. Just use your smart phone, a 360-degree camera or 360-degree photo app to take your photo. Follow the same conventional process for posting a two-dimensional photo. Facebook will convert your photo, making it a 360-degree experience for cardholders. Cool, right?

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Get Your Twitter in Shape for the New Year!

This post is part of a series on revamping and re-evaluating your library’s social media platforms. At least once a year, you should:

Clarify your library’s social media goals.

Audit the current status of your library’s social media accounts.

Set new social media goals to move your library’s overall strategy forward.

Improve your library’s social media profiles.

Let’s focus on Twitter. The social media platform has made some major changes over the course of the last year and recently increased its character limit from 140 to 280. No matter what you think about that controversial change, it serves as a jumping off point for improving the work you do on Twitter. When a big change like that happens, it’s a good time to re-evaluate how effective a social media platform is in helping you to communicate with your audience. Take a long, hard look at what you’re posting on the platform and consider these points.

280 characters is an opportunity to tell more of your story, incorporate more links, tag followers, and use more hashtags. Twitter feels very impersonal unless you make the effort to reach out to your followers. The longer character count can help you do that. Telling more of your story in a creative way makes your library more interesting to your followers. Adding links can give your followers options about which information they want to pursue–and in turn, gives you more insight into what your followers are really looking for when they read a Tweet. Tag specific followers in Tweets as a way to personally interact and start conversations with your followers. Add hashtags to make sure your Tweets are seen by more people.

Figure out what kind of Tweets get the most interaction and set a goal to create similar Tweets more often. If your followers are keen on curated content like booklists, author interviews, or memes, give them more of that kind of content. Many libraries feel their Twitter feeds are exclusively a way to promote their own library and its services but you risk losing the trust of your followers if you self-promote too much. Remember the rule of thumb for posts is three pieces of curated, valuable content which are not necessarily generated by your library for every one Tweet directly promoting a library service or event. We want to drive home the point that your library is an information hub, not just a place to find books.

Vary your visuals. If you have used photos or graphics in your Tweets (and you should, as they are proven to improve Tweet performance), try adding in GIFs and videos for increased variety. Your followers will take notice and interact!

Take advantage of trending hashtags. Make it part of your library’s Twitter social media strategy to regularly check for trending hashtags and to find a literary way to use them. For instance, you can start easy with #WednesdayWisdom, #TBT (Throwback Thursday), and #FridayFeeling. Of course, I hardly think I need to warn you to stay away from political or potentially controversial trending hashtags. Use the fun or informative trending Tweets and leave the heated hashtags for the rest of Twitter to fight over.

Tweet important stuff more than once. I’ve found this point is the most difficult to convey to people who don’t spend a lot of time on Twitter but here’s why repeat Tweets should be part of your strategy. When you tweet about an event or service just once, it’s like writing your promotion on a balloon and releasing it into the air. You hope someone sees it, but most people aren’t constantly scanning the sky for floating objects. But if you released a bunch of balloons with your promotion written on them, the chances your audience would see it would increase. If you’re promoting something really important, you should Tweet it multiple times at varying times of day and on varying days of the week to make sure the message is seen.

Here are some more resources to increase the effectiveness of your library’s Twitter account.

Simple guide to using Twitter analytics.

More ideas for the 280-character Tweet format.

A free template for creating a social media strategy.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

The Top Five Ultimate Library Marketing Holiday Ideas

During the lead-up to any holiday, your inbox is likely flooded with a host of email from companies offering discounts and other promotions tied to the season. I’m sometimes jealous of these for-profit brands: it would be fun to think of exciting ways to tie sales into a holiday. On the other hand, thank goodness we don’t really have to sell anything!

Our customers don’t groan when we market to them–they love us and our products. And we can find fun and interesting ways to engage with our cardholders during holidays. In fact, it behooves us to go beyond beautiful in-branch book displays and bulletin boards to market our collection and best programs while our cardholders are in the spirit of whatever season they’re celebrating.

Here are my tried and true tips for taking advantage of any holiday season to remind your cardholders of your presence and all that you offer and to capture their attention!

Collection-based marketing. This is my favorite tactic. I enlist the help of my librarians to curate lists of new holiday-themed books for adults and kids. In my experience, the lists that generate the most holds and check-outs contain 10-12 new books and are mostly fiction, with a few exceptions: decorating, entertaining, and cookbooks. Start planning these lists at least two months before the corresponding holiday so you have time to make sure the list is complete and all your promotional pieces are in place. Then, pick a date about two to three weeks before the holiday and begin promoting the lists to the corresponding audience. Watch the holds and check-outs fly in as your cardholders get into the mood of the season with new titles!

Promote the best of your library events.  At least two months before the holiday, begin to scan the program calendar regularly for any program that’s fun and interesting. You want to target programs that can’t really be found at any other place in your community and are highly tease-able. Again, promote these programs to the corresponding audience about 2-3 weeks before the event for best results.

Inspire your readers. Post ideas for holiday gifts, recipes, and more–especially if they are literary-themed–on your social media accounts, especially Pinterest. If you don’t have a Pinterest account at your library, starting one during any holiday season is a great opportunity to showcase your library as a place where ideas and information are found. You are an information hub, not just a book peddler!

Do contrasting marketing to rival Amazon and your local bookstore. Start checking your competitors’ website and ads as soon as they begin their holiday marketing. Figure out what their offers are and how you can counteract those offers with free stuff! For example, we know that, as we approach Black Friday, stores will begin to promote their sales heavily. We can create similar marketing campaigns that emphasize our free products and services in contrast to the big-name stores. You can also host a mobile device or gadget petting zoo, where you have several models of tablets and smartphones available for cardholders to test and examine before they make their big purchases. The event can be a great way to promote your digital offerings to an audience that is clearly interested in going mobile. Or set up a call center or event where you can take questions from cardholders who need help picking out a gift, cooking a big meal, or figuring out etiquette questions like which fork to use!

Don’t forget holidays that are uniquely library-oriented. We can celebrate fun days like Take Your Child to the Library Day and eBook Day in ways that stores cannot. Use the ideas above and add that library-themed angle to your marketing of these days for fun that your cardholders will appreciate. Last year, for Take Your Child to the Library Day, my library did a gift card giveaway for parents who brought their kids to a branch.

Have you done something fun and successful to market your library during a holiday? Please share your successes in the comments!

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Library Marketing Secrets You Can Steal From General Electric

The woman who manages marketing at one of the biggest companies in the United States–and perhaps the world–made a huge impression on me at Content Marketing World. Linda Boff is Chief Marketing Officer at General Electric. You might think a huge brand like GE would be mired in traditional marketing practices and have nothing to teach us about agility and experimentation. You would be wrong.

Boff has led the company into a new realm of marketing, using tactics that libraries have access to, like podcasts and Facebook Live. Her focus is storytelling–finding the stories within your company and sharing them with your audience. She insists you don’t need a big budget to do what she’s doing. She’s a dynamic speaker and her presentation was one of the more memorable moments in the two-day conference because I ended up coming away with so many ideas for my library marketing. I left the room excited and energized!

Boff says there are five reasons to tell your library’s story: To sell (library translation: improve circulation, visits, and attendance), to inspire, to explain strategy, to reach audiences, and to educate. She told the audience that the success of GE with storytelling relies on a simple formula: Be first on platforms + activate unlikely audiences + find the human in the digital times. She laid out exactly what she means in her main brand storytelling tips.

Know who you are. GE embraces its nerd identity. The company produced a series of videos showcasing its nerd employees. They are professionally produced but you can do the same thing using your iPhone. Remember, it’s the story that’s important–not the production value of your video. In fact, our library produced a similar series of videos back in April for National Library Workers Week. We shot everything on a DSLR camera and edited it using free software available on the internet. Our fans–and our employees–loved the videos.

Identify your secret sauce. What is your tone? How do you come to life? Every brand has to figure out what this means to them. This next part is going to sound really familiar. GE has had to fight to be relevant, contemporary, relatable, and modern. Everyone knows who GE was in the company’s past. Everyone is familiar with GE’s legacy. Boff said one of her marketing goals is to teach people what GE is in the present.  To do this, Boff recommends you need to “show up as a person”–in other words, use real and personal stories about your workers to put a face to your company’s name. GE went to its employee’s children to ask them what their parents do. They told stories and drew pictures explaining their parent’s work. Then GE took those pieces and used them internally and externally. You can see some of those stories here.

 Find unexpected audiences. At South by Southwest, GE created a BBQ incubation area. They set up a BBQ smoker and had data scientists on hand to smoke the meat with exact precision so it came out right every time. They also had their scientists use data to make BBQ sauce, and they let people taste the sauce while hooked up to a scanner so they could see what their brain responded to via scan. Then took the super smoker to college campuses, so instead of the tent and handouts, they had this cool interactive centerpiece. I think that idea could translate for libraries too. Instead of just having a table at events, let’s bring MakerSpace equipment and traveling library collections so people can interact with our “products.”

Experiment early, experiment often. When a new social media platform or technology emerges, don’t hesitate–jump on board quickly and learn all you can about it, says Boff. The cost barrier to entry is always very low at the beginning of any new trend and the audience has no expectations about what you can or should produce. Boff says it’s important to be on the playing field and really skin your knees; you can’t just read about new trends. I really took this point to heart. We now have permission to move forward on new trends–let’s embrace it!

Good content speaks for itself. Boff and her team created GE Podcast Theater. They create long-form, lightly branded podcasts that are full content marketing platforms. GE’s “The Message” podcast was named as one of the New York Times 11 Fiction Podcasts Worth Listening To and was in the #1 spot on iTunes after its release.  Boff says if you are putting great stories out into the world, they’ll do their own marketing with their amazing content.

Stories are right under your nose: The hardest thing is finding stories to tell. GE works had to find stories reach customers, investors, thought leaders, media, AND employees. I’ve talked about finding stories in the library on this blog before in this article and this article. We should always be looking to connect with narratives that inspire all of those audiences. I really loved how Boff emphasized storytelling as a way to grow employee pride. At GE they do this through a YouTube series called In the Wild. It’s entertaining and engaging. Libraries could imitate that on a smaller scale. In fact, my library did that using a GoPro camera! We did time-lapse videos of various jobs and departments in the library and posted them on our YouTube channel. Those videos had more than a thousand views total and continue to draw new people to our YouTube content.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Boost Attendance at Library Programs–How to Start a Revolution

On my first day at the library where I now work, I was handed a calendar of library events. “Here is everything that happens during the library year. You’ll learn what to expect pretty quickly and how to plan to market each of these events as they rotate in the library calendar.” The first thought I had was, “Holy cow, that’s a lot of stuff. There’s an event happening nearly every day of the year.” The second thought was, “I have never attended a library program in my life. How do I convince someone else to go?”

I am NOT saying that library programs are not important. Far from it. In fact, I don’t think we spend enough time or money on library programs and that’s why we are seeing our attendance numbers decline.  So I’m proposing a library program revolution. It basically comes down to this idea: More smart research, fewer programs overall. Get rid of the program quota!

My library is battling declining attendance for programs and I bet yours is too, whether you work at a public, private, school, or university library. It’s a universal truth rarely acknowledged. I am asked to market a lot of crafting programs–knitting, soap-making, cupcake decorating, and a lot of lecture series. I can understand the allure for library staff. These programs are fun, easy to plan, inexpensive, and they fill the dreaded program quota. But my library has tried literally every marketing trick possible to attract attention to these programs for more than four years and our attendance numbers are down. I think the cardholders have spoken–they are just not interested in those programs, even if we (library staff) are.

Here’s the good and bad news. The Pew Research Institute found in its latest study on library use that 27 percent of library users have attended classes, programs, or lectures at libraries in the last year. The good news is that’s a 10-point increase from 2015. The bad news is that the majority of library cardholders are not attending programs.

Honestly, part of the problem is feedback from cardholders. Our loyal patrons love us so much that, when asked, they give positive answers, saying the library is a vital part of the community, they plan to use the library more in the future, and that their library is doing a great job. And that’s wonderful… but it doesn’t bear out in actual attendance numbers. I appreciate their vocal support, but I also want to get bodies through the door.

Money for library program attendance is tight for every library system I can think of. So, I propose we STOP doing a ton of programs. More is not the answer. Instead, I propose that libraries back way down on the number of programs that they do and instead, spend more money and more time planning quality programs which are unique to their community and that their users really want. Here are some specifics of my proposed library program revolution!

Use informal social media surveys to ask cardholders what kinds of programs they’d like to see. Conduct a Twitter or Facebook poll and ask your cardholders what they want to do or learn at the library. It’s not scientific but it will give you a sense of what interests the community. You could also post a graphic and ask people to use the comment section to share ideas for programs they’d like to see at their library branch.

Check related organizations in your community to see what events they’re holding to make sure your library isn’t duplicating their efforts. For instance, if your branch is near a community center that’s already hosting a bunch of knitting and crafting, then your knitting and crafting programs will be in direct competition.

Partner with local organizations and talk to leaders of community groups and schools to see where they need help in teaching people to manage certain skills and then offer those skills at your library. For the past year, my library has partnered with a local organization to teach workforce development skills to single parents in areas of the city in economic distress. It’s not a sexy or fun program to market but we get good attendance because it’s there is a need in the community and we’re filling it. We’ve also created a set of programs with an organization that teaches young girls how to do computer coding. I actually only have to do a bit of marketing for that program. As soon as I let people know it’s happening, registration fills up! And one of our branches partnered recently with a local brewery to do a program on home brewing techniques. The place was packed!

Talk to librarians at other systems with similar demographics and find out what successful programs they do and then do the same. There’s nothing wrong with stealing ideas! I give you permission to use the three examples listed above.

Shift your focus to teaching technology skills. The same study from Pew mentioned earlier in this article says 80 percent of Americans want libraries to offer programs that teach digital skills and help cardholders use new creative technologies like 3-D printers. That means library administrators have to be willing to provide the in-depth training librarians need to teach those skills. They have to invest in the equipment. And library staff have to be willing to embrace this new role as technology teachers.

Do deep research before booking an author series. Check circulation of the author’s book in your catalog–are people checking it out or placing holds? Watch YouTube videos of the author’s earlier appearances to see if they’re an engaging speaker and to check the reaction of audiences. Gauge cardholders’ interest in the author using informal surveys on social media.

More ideas for increasing library program attendance:

This One Trick Will Increase Library Program Attendance by the Swiss Army Librarian.

What I Wish I’d Known About Building Teen Library Services From Scratch by In the Library With a Lead Pipe.

How a Dutch Library Smashed Attendance Records by Cat Johnson.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Secrets For Library Videos People Will Actually Watch

 

Amy Schmittauer Landino is an expert on video and video blogging. Not surprisingly, she is all in on video marketing. She’s the Founder of SavvySexySocial.com, Vlog Boss Studios, and author of Vlog Like a Boss. I’ve watched her channel for more than a year and so I was super excited to be in the same room with her for 45 minutes at Content Marketing World, where I attended her session on how to create and repurpose video content to get more attention for my library.

And by the way, Amy led this session mere days after her wedding in Vegas. She’s a true pro and is committed to helping others.

Video marketing will be a large focus for my library in the next year, and honestly, I hope it is for you too. It’s not as intimidating as it seems. You don’t need fancy equipment to market with video successfully. In fact, what Amy says you need to focus on the parts of video marketing that don’t even involve the camera. She told us that anyone can become a talented video marketer–all you have to do is start making videos and then keep practicing. All of the technical stuff–lighting, shots, background, audio–can be perfected through practice. But there are non-technical things you can do to improve the chances your video will be watched and shared and they are just as important as having a beautiful finished product. Here are her tips.

Plan and be consistent. Plan your programming ahead of time. Think of the videos you produce as you would if you were running a station. What are you going to do for the next several months? How much time do you need to shoot, edit, and get approvals? Planning will ease stress for you and will help you to secure the interviews and shots you need. Post your videos on a consistent basis, on the same day and time if you can. Your audience will begin to expect your videos!

Make videos about things your customer wants to know–not what YOU THINK they want to know. Amy says this is mandatory for creating videos that are watched and shared. Stop focusing on what your library thinks it needs to communicate and start thinking about what your cardholders need to know.  What do they think about? What are they Googling? What questions are they asking at the reference desk or at the front door or in programs? I went to our chat service and asked them for a list of the top ten questions asked by our cardholders. That’s my video plan for next year!

Keywords are so very important. When you post your video, make sure you do your keyword research ahead of time so your audience will be able to find your video! Posting your video with whatever keywords come to mind is not consistent or helpful. You have to plan and use the relevant keywords in captions, the title, and the description. Amy recommends doing your keyword research on Tubebuddy.

Post, then wait. Amy posts her videos first on YouTube and then waits 48 hours so YouTube can categorize and rank her video. Once that happens she does a Facebook post and points people where she wants them to watch it–whether it’s on her YouTube channel or on her website. It’s an interesting concept if your library decides you want your cardholders to mostly watch your videos on YouTube. Right now, my library is posting our videos on our website, on Facebook, and on YouTube. I want to be convenient to my cardholders. Amy says that might not be the best strategy, as you run the risk of oversaturating your viewers with the same piece of video. If she’s right, we’ll adjust our process. Don’t be afraid to experiment and react according to the results.

Make sure your video passes the share test. Amy says you must ask yourself if your video passes the share test. Will your audience say to themselves, “I have to share this because it is that good!” If your stuff doesn’t pass that test, don’t even shoot it. Focus your energy on videos that people will share.

Does your library produce videos? Please comment or send me an email at ahursh@yahoo.com. I’ll be featuring great library marketing videos in an upcoming post and I’d love to include your library!

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Make the Most Beautiful Library Marketing Print Materials For Free!

Many of you are struggling to make all the print materials you need for your library on a tiny or nonexistent budget. You want your print materials to look professional but your background isn’t in art. I want to help.

I’m lucky to have two graphic artists on staff to help create the print materials for 41 library locations but I do understand this struggle. In my spare time, I coordinate the marketing for my church. It’s a volunteer position with no staff. I’m a writer, not an artist. I have a teeny-tiny budget, which I share with the guy who maintains the video projector in the sanctuary and those babies are always breaking. So basically, I have no money for print.

Today I’m sharing some websites I use to design print materials–posters, fliers, postcards, bookmarks, door hangers, and more–all for free. They have templates that make the design process easy and give you a finished product that looks professionally designed.

But before you dive headlong into designing your own materials, it’s important to keep a few design basics in mind.

Keep it simple. Library marketers often try to put all the information about a program or event on their printed marketing materials. This makes the piece look cluttered and less inviting to the eye. Research shows the use of white space or negative space increases reading comprehension by almost 20 percent. Use bold graphics or well-produced photos in your printed material to draw attention to the piece. Include only the basic information–the points your audience needs to know and remember about what you are marketing. Then direct users to visit your website or to ask a staff member for further details.

Keep your design consistent with your brand. That doesn’t mean you have to use the same font for every print piece but it’s a good idea to choose several fonts that you can rotate. Include your logo somewhere on the piece and make sure the wording is brand consistent.

Here are my four favorite websites for creating professional looking print marketing materials for free!

Poster My Wall: They have about a dozen library-themed templates and dozens of other templates that are super easy to customize. Downloads are free, as long as you’re cool with a tiny watermark in the corner of the poster (I think it’s pretty unobtrusive). If you have a budget but no printer, you can order printed copies of your work from this company.

Canva: I use this for the majority of my church marketing materials and I know a lot of library marketers who rely on Canva for their work. They have the widest selection of templates and the most intuitive platform for custom design. You can download files as a .png, .jpg, or PDF and they recently added the option of ordering prints of your materials, which is awesome if you want to create postcards or other collateral. I pull from my list of free stock photos, upload them to Canva, and I get tons of compliments on my work. I am not a trained designer. I could not even draw a stick figure. That’s how intuitive this platform is.

Desygner: This is a new service. Their selection of free materials is small but I wanted to mention them because they do have some beautiful designs and they’ll likely expand as more people start to use the platform.

Adobe Spark:  If you’ve already got a Creative Cloud account, you’re halfway there. Adobe is used by designers everywhere and their free Spark plan lets you create beautiful print materials (and social media graphics) with an easy-to-use template. You can change the shape, color, font, opacity, and spacing to suit your needs. The Adobe suite of products is awesome and this is no exception.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button on the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter and Snapchat–it’s where I talk about library marketing! I’m @Webmastergirl. I’m also on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

 

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