I have some homework for you.

Sometime in the next seven days, I want you to go to the New York Public Library’s Facebook page and watch some of the video marketing they’ve done over the past few months. Specifically, I want you to check out their live book recommendations with Lynn and Gwen (Gwen also co-hosts the NYPL Podcast The Librarian is In which is a MUST LISTEN for library marketers.) About once a month for half an hour, these two librarians from NYPL get on Facebook live and give book recommendations to people who give them information via the comments. It’s genius. And it’s free. And you should be doing this–or something like it–too!

Most library marketers are afraid to try video marketing. (I will be looking at the results of the poll at the beginning of this post to gauge if I’m right about that!) I can understand that fear. But I come from a TV background, so video marketing and live video isn’t as foreign to me as it might be to you. So this post is all about lifting the veil, so to speak. I’ve got a secret for you. Video is not as hard as you think. I hope I can give you the confidence to do video marketing!

Video, whether live or recorded and edited, is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to market your library. But the most important point I want to make is that IT IS NOW NECESSARY TO PRODUCE VIDEO FOR YOUR LIBRARY. There is data to prove that but, rather than list it here, I’ll give you this beautiful infographic with statistics on video marketing for 2017 from Hubspot.

The social media platform with the most power to amplify and engage library users is Facebook. And Facebook is rewarding and boosting posts that include video. If you want to reach more people with whatever message your library is trying to send, you must use video.

But many libraries still think video marketing is only something for large libraries with a huge staff. Let me show you why you can do it, no matter your size or budget.

It’s no longer expensive. In the past, producing video was expensive and difficult.  The “barrier to entry” was high. You needed a ton of heavy and complicated equipment. But that is no longer the case. My library produces videos using our regular DSLR camera, which we also use to take still photos of library events. We have two wired lavalier microphones which we purchased for about $75 each. We have a set of lights donated to us by a former TV news photographer. And we have a Go Pro camera purchased several years ago. But you don’t even need any of this equipment to do your videos. We have also shot video on our iPhones! And that has worked perfectly well. Your library likely has an Adobe Creative Suite license already, which will allow you to edit. You can also use iMovie or a host of other online editing software pieces, many of which are free. Here’s a great list.

You can learn how to shoot and edit online. If you’ve never worked with video before, Lynda.com has a host of video production courses which you can take at your desk for free if your library has a Lynda.com subscription! You can also subscribe to this YouTube channel by Amy Schmittauer. She’s got all kinds of tips about video marketing using all kinds of equipment, including a DSLR camera and smartphones, plus tips on how to set up a background for your video and how to “act” on camera! She’s just fun to watch and really down to Earth.

You have the tools to distribute your videos. You no longer have to send your produced videos to a television station and pay top dollar to have them broadcast. Social media has changed all that. Upload your video to Facebook. Upload your video to YouTube. Upload your video to your website. Then promote it and watch your message get across to new people.

Perfection is no longer required. Honestly, I think this is the biggest reason many libraries are hesitant to get started with video marketing. We all have this idea that the video has to be narrated by the perfect person with the perfect hair in front of the perfect background. That’s old school TV thinking and it’s no longer necessary. In fact, the best videos are the ones that show your authentic self. You don’t have to be scripted. If you’re doing a live video, it’s okay to pause and look something up when someone asks you a question. It’s good to show that you’re human and those human moments make videos more interesting and exciting. So please don’t worry about getting every little hair to lie in place, having the right clothes, or always saying the right thing. You’re talking to real people, even if they are on the other end of a video screen. And they’ll forgive you–and love you–if you aren’t robotic. Everyone loves a librarian and you will find fans just for being you!

To see some of the work my library has done with video, here’s a link to our YouTube channel. Have you seen great instances of video marketing by libraries? Please share with me in the comments so I can check them out!

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, Slideshare, Instagram and Pinterest. Views in this post are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

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