Reader note: This is the final blog post of 2021. I’ll be taking a break over the holidays. The next post will be a new episode of The Library Marketing Show on January 5, 2022. Thank you for sticking with me for another year. I truly appreciate all of you. Enjoy your holiday season and please be safe.
This is the final part of a series on social media best practices for libraries in 2022. These posts include best practices for the following platforms:
Twitter for libraries
In 2021, Twitter use increased for the second year in a row, up 13 percent over 2020. However, the news is not good for libraries in the United States. 75 percent of Twitter users live outside of the U.S. Twitter is more popular in Asia, the United Kingdom, and Mexico.
Here are more Twitter statistics of value to libraries from Backlinko.com.
- Twitter is most popular among people ages 25-34 years.
- 61 percent of Twitter users identify as males.
- In the United States, more than 90 percent of Tweets come from just 10 percent of users.
- In the United States, 52 percent of Twitter users say they log on daily.
- The average user spends a little more than five minutes a day on the app.
- Twitter says the top two reasons users come to the platform are to get news and to find entertainment.
- Barack Obama has the most popular Twitter account.
The Twitter algorithm for 2022
Twitter uses an algorithm to determine how your library content is served on its platform. It has a separate algorithm to recommend accounts and another to determine trending Tweets.
Let’s focus on the Home Feed. The algorithm is simple. Twitter will show your followers the top Tweets from all the accounts they follow. They’ll also show them Tweets from accounts or subjects that your followers have shown interest in previously.
They use the following ranking signals to make those decisions.
- Recency: Twitter prioritizes Tweets about new, popular topics, especially current events.
- Relevance and engagement: Twitter will show your followers Tweets based on their previous actions. That means that the quality of your followers is really important on Twitter. You want followers who engage frequently with your Tweets by liking, re-tweeting, or quote-tweeting them.
- Rich media: Twitter prioritizes Tweets that include an image, a video, a GIF, or a poll.
With those factors in mind, here are four ways to put the Twitter algorithm to work for your library.
Go all or nothing with posting.
This may sound like a crazy thing to say in a post about how to make Twitter work for your library. But it may turn out that posting to Twitter is not the best marketing strategy for your library right now.
You need to decide if your library’s overall goals for 2022 can be met by reaching your available audience on Twitter. If the answer is no, it’s okay to step away from the platform.
If you decide to step away, post a Tweet that explains which platforms your library will be posting to on social media. Then Pin that Tweet to the top of your profile and move on.
If your library decides to post on Twitter in 2022, you’ll need to commit to maintaining an active presence. That means you’ll need to post frequently and consistently. On its blog, Twitter admits that posting consistently will “boost your visibility, grow engagement, and help you build followers.”
Decide on a schedule that you can commit to. And invest in a social media scheduling platform. I use Tweetdeck. It’s free and easy, and it really helps me to post consistently without having to be on Twitter 24 hours a day.
Normally, I would advise libraries to create new content each time they post to social media. Twitter is the exception.
On Twitter, you’ll get more organic reach when you post frequently. That’s hard for many libraries. So, you can repeat posts.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice that I create two distinctive Tweets to promote each blog post. For the first week after a blog publishes, I post a promotional Tweet once a day in different time segments. After that, I randomly schedule these posts once a month for three to four months.
Twitter’s algorithm gives priority to newly published Tweets. Re-posting Tweets on different days and at different times of the day will get your content repeated organic boosts. It’s worked for me, and I know it will work for your library.
Switch to a Professional account.
Twitter created this new category to help brands build trust with users. Whenever a social media platform launches a new feature like this, you can bet they’ll be giving accounts that take advantage of the feature some extra love in the form of organic reach.
Switching to a Professional account is very easy. The platform gives Professional accounts some new ways to format, including modules that allow you to showcase key information about your library, like your hours and location, and options for quickly boosting or promoting a Tweet.
When you switch, you get to choose a category for your account. Nonprofit or educational makes sense for most libraries. But you can edit your profile if you decide to switch categories. You can also easily switch your library back to a personal account.
Make note of your analytics before and after the switch. I bet you’ll see more engagement with your Tweets after you switch to a Professional account.
Experiment with Twitter Spaces.
Twitter Spaces are virtual rooms where you can have live, real-time audio conversations with your followers. This new feature is designed to help people connect on the platform. And it may be a new way to deliver virtual library events to your community.
There are lots of potential uses for libraries.
- Virtual readers’ advisory: Give people reading recommendations in a conversation format.
- Question and answer session with your reference staff.
- Informal focus group: Ask followers how they feel about your library or what services they need most.
- Podcast experimentation: Experiment with interviewing guests and determining format before you get into the production studio.
If your library uses Spaces, you can control who talks and when. Spaces let you mute, remove, report, or block participants. More information on Spaces can be found on the Twitter blog.
You can bet that, like Professional accounts, Twitter will give extra love in the form of organic reach to libraries who use Spaces in 2022.
When to post on Twitter
The latest data suggests the best time to post is Monday through Friday anytime during the workday.
I would recommend that you check your own analytics, however, to see when your audience is most active on the platform. Let that data guide your decisions about when to post.
You may find your audience is active later in the day or early in the morning. It’s okay to Tweet when your library is closed, especially if you notice that’s when your audience is on Twitter.
How much text should be in a Twitter post?
Keep your text to between 70 and 100 characters or less if possible. This allows your followers enough space to retweet and add their own comments.
And be sure to include a hashtag, but not more than two hashtags. Tweets with hashtags receive twice the engagement but engagement goes down if you use more than two hashtags.
Make one hashtag specific to your library, community, or marketing campaign and the other can be something that will get the widest appeal for your tweet. And keep your hashtags as short and clear as possible.
Twitter image best practices
Tweets with images have an engagement rate that’s twice those without images. In addition, GIFs appear to be the best kind of image to include in your Tweet!
The recommended upload size for a static image on Twitter is 1200 x 675 pixels. If you work in aspect ratios, that’s 16:9.
Measuring success on Twitter
To see your data, log in to your Twitter account and go to analytics.twitter.com.
Twitter supplies a month-by-month summary of your profile and shows you how your library’s Twitter account has performed in terms of profile visits, follower growth, tweet impressions, and mentions. It also gives you an analysis of the impressions your tweets are getting, as well as details on retweets, mentions, favorites, and clicks.
Clicking on the “View Tweet Activity” buttons will give you a complete breakdown of the engagement on the tweet, including clicks on URLs, clicks on your username, clicks on images, and expanded details.
You can export all the data.
Some libraries to follow for inspiration on Twitter
- Prince George’s County Memorial Library
- Centre County Library
- Thomas G. Carpenter Library at the University of North Florida
- Steely Library at Northern Kentucky University
- Okotoks Library
- Cincinnati Library
- Leeds Libraries
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