This is the third in a series of posts with tips for making social media work for your library in 2020. Visit this page to read the first installment, which will help you set up your strategy and give you a framework for creating a workflow on any platform. And visit this page to read the second installment with lots of tips about how to get the best results out of Facebook and Instagram.
LinkedIn could be your secret weapon.
There are a lot of reasons why libraries should be using LinkedIn for marketing. In a report released by the platform’s owner Microsoft, the company reported that engagement grew 24 percent in the third quarter of 2019. That’s huge.
LinkedIn is a great place for libraries to post content because competition for attention on the platform is small. Most libraries, educational institutions, and government agencies only post job openings on their LinkedIn page. But the platform is the number one choice for content among professionals. If you start posting today, you can grow your followers, create brand awareness, tailor targeted messages, and connect with cardholders without much competition from anyone else.
It’s also a largely positive place. There’s no toxic talk. Users comment in courteous and supportive way. I’m on LinkedIn several times a day and there are zero trolls.
LinkedIn also has a unique analytics tool. Unlike other platforms that give you limited demographic data on your followers, LinkedIn will tell you their industry and seniority level. You can even see their company size.
Their analytics also tells you how many people click on your links. And there is a new feature, just released in the past week, that lets you notify all the employees of your library on LinkedIn that you’ve posted an update. This is a gentle nudge to staff to share your LinkedIn content with their followers.
Plus, if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for LinkedIn content, the platform will actually give you suggestions based on the makeup of your followers! That’s available in the analytics tool.
My library posts at least once a day during the week (Monday-Friday) on LinkedIn. We share a variety of content from our own events and collection as well as curated content from other sources.
Unlike other platforms, our promotions do well on LinkedIn because the platform is hungry for content and the audience is right.
Promote more than jobs on LinkedIn.
Here are some of the post types that are working well for libraries on LinkedIn.
Share collection items, services, and events that focus on self-help, career advancement, personal wellness, diversity, literacy, architecture, and entrepreneurship.
Post original articles by thought leaders at your library and partner organizations.
Profile library staff and give your followers an inside look at what it’s like to work in a library. My library likes to ask the highlighted worker what their favorite Library service or collection item is and then link to it. It gives us a chance to promote something with the added gravitas of a recommendation from staff.
Search trending articles about libraries and related industries. Pick your favorite, add a few lines that talk about how the topic affects your community or library, and re-share the article.
Upload your videos to LinkedIn natively. Like Facebook, LinkedIn wants you to upload your produced videos to their site rather than share a YouTube or website link. Their followers also love live video, so if you have the opportunity to do so, try a live reader recommendation session, a live storytime, or craft session, or an interview with an upcoming program presenter.
This is an important point: your LinkedIn content should not be a replication of posts on other platforms but a unique space for your cardholders to get information about you!
Pinterest is the best way to market your collection on social media.
My library gets a tremendous benefit using Pinterest as a promotional tool for the collection. We mostly share new books to our collection and content related to STEM programming.
With this strategy, our library’s following on Pinterest has grown by 400 percent since we first started using the platform in 2013. On average each month, Pinterest drives between 20 and 60 percent of the traffic we get to our catalog.
Pin new books from your collection. Every. Single. Day.
Pinterest users love to find out about new books and libraries are perfectly positioned to give that information. That’s because Pinterest is sort of a mash-up between a search engine and a social media platform. People go to Pinterest to find ideas and information on specific topics including books!
Every day at my library, we go through the new arrivals feed on our website and find the books that already have a holds lists. We believe that’s a sign that there is a demand for that books. We Pin those in-demand books onto our New Books board.
One note: make sure the images you Pin are as big as possible. If you have Overdrive, you can use their website to find large covers images for most books. The bigger the cover, the more successful the Pin will be.
Audit your current boards and optimize for search.
Pinterest is a search engine and it works on an algorithm, like most social media platforms. So, you’ll want to make sure all your Pins and boards are optimized for search so users can find you.
Clever board names are fun, but they hurt you in your Pinterest search rankings. Change your board names to more closely match keywords that book lovers and readers might search. My library’s boards have boring names like “Book Lists,” “Popular Books,” “Music,” and “Educational Activities for Kids.”
Check the description of each board to make sure there are searchable keywords. In the early days, my library used literary quotes related to the board topic as our board description. And while that’s clever, it doesn’t help people to find us. We changed our board descriptions to be more searchable and saw our traffic flow increase.
Use the “sections” option on boards to make your Pins easier to find.
You can create genres for boards (fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, cookbooks, etc.) which will help Pins get found and users find what they want more easily. And those sections also serve as keywords, which help users find your content.
Hashtags are a very big part of Pinterest marketing for 2020 and most brands aren’t using them yet. That means this is an opportunity for your library to get ahead and get more traffic, because competition is small.
Just like Twitter and Instagram, Pinterest will use your hashtags to suss out the details of your Pin and determine who sees it in their algorithm. On Pinterest, the general rule is to use between two and five hashtags and to be as specific as possible. #Cozyholidaymystery is better than #mystery when describing a genre. You should also hashtag the title of the book and the author.
Audit your Pinterest boards routinely.
Make it a habit to schedule an audit of your Pinterest boards every six months. Delete any Pins with dead links. Replace the URL’s of the remaining Pins to drive traffic to your website, when applicable.
For example, if you have re-pinned a book from someone else’s feed, replace the URL with a link to the book in your collection, so that anyone interested in the book can place a hold from your Pin.
For each Pin, re-think the description section and make sure you are using keywords to make sure your Pins are seen by the right users.
Eliminate Pins and boards that aren’t driving traffic.
Pinterest does penalize users who have Pins and boards that aren’t shared. They want to reward “popular” Pins and boards. So, you’ll need to do some weeding.
We’ve been doing this for two years at my library. I like to do this at the end of my workday, when my brain is dead. If a Pin has gotten less than five shares or repins, I delete it. Traffic to our website from Pinterest increases and our remaining Pins are getting more traffic.
When I presented this at #LMCC19, there were some in the audience who disagreed with me on this point. I wanted to share some articles from other social media marketers who also delete Pins and have seen the same results I do.
And I wouldn’t ever share advice with you that I hadn’t tried myself first. When my library deletes Pins that are not driving traffic, engagement rises.
There is no downside to deleting “unpopular” Pins.
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