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?
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