I’m glad I have a teenager. I worry about keeping up with the times. Technology changes so quickly, I fear I will miss the next big curve and my work will suffer for it. My teen is a sounding board for what’s new and next. She helps me think of innovative ways to reach her ad-savvy, marketing averse friends. Also, I needed someone to explain to me what it means to be “on fleek”.

Two years ago, we bought our teen an iPhone. I was particularly psyched that I would be able to find her anytime, anywhere using the text feature! It went smoothly–until a few months ago when she stopped answering my texts. I got mad. I confronted her. “Mom,” she said calmly, “No one texts anymore. We Snapchat.”

Her friends’ jump to the photo sharing app led me to a marketing epiphany–a new mantra that changed the way I approached every aspect of my job.

You must go where your audience is.

This might be one of the most important things to remember as you develop your social media strategy. Before you decide where to focus your efforts, take a good, hard look at where your audience is hanging out. If you’re not getting any engagement on Facebook, it might be time to close shop or at least drastically reduce the amount of effort you put into the platform. If your avid readers are flocking to Pinterest where they create boards of book lists, you will do well to start creating book list content on a Pinterest board. If your future customers are engaging on Instagram several times a day, it’s time to focus some energy there. The principle also applies to print marketing items. If you’ve been making posters and bookmarks for your programs and no one is showing up, it’s time to figure out another, more productive way to reach your customers.

It’s important to meet your customers where they are, engage with them on their level, and converse in their universe. Library marketing is about serving your customers needs. That means we marketers have to let go of our ideas about where we think communication should be happening and what it should look like. We must be customer-focused. What do they want? What do they need? Where do they need us to deliver it? Library marketing is not about us–it’s about them!

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By the way, I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to figure out how to leverage Snapchat for our Library. There are publishers doing a great job, like People Magazine and the Washington Post, which solicited reader photos of a recent snowstorm via Snapchat. They even published a handy guide to explain how the app works. I’d love to figure out whether a similar push by our library would be worth the effort. If you’ve got a great idea for using Snapchat for library content marketing, share it with me in the comments!

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Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

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