Photo courtesy Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library

Erica Freudenberger really, really loves her job.

“I have the best job in the world!”

For the past six years, she’s been the outreach, engagement, and marketing consultant at the Southern Adirondack Library System. Erica works with 34 member libraries in four counties, as well as two correctional facilities and four county jails.

Like many of you, she is responsible for providing high-quality library services.

“My position allows me to do a wide range of things, from onboarding new directors to working with community partners to install Narcan Emergency Kits for public use in our libraries to curating a personal history of the pandemic through our Leaving Our Fingerprints on History Project,” explained Erica.

So, it’s a wonder that she has any time at all left for library marketing. But Erica is responsible for the system’s monthly newsletter and social media promotion.

And her work on social is drawing praise from fellow library marketers. On the Libraries and Social Media Facebook page, one fellow marketer said, “I am here for the brilliance of the social media team/individual at Southern Adirondack. Amazing curation and writing and quantity. It’s been fun watching their reach and followers grow over the year.”

“My philosophy in all things, not just social media, is to build relationships and community,” explained Erica. “Social media is where people go to be entertained and learn something.”

“But the focus can’t be just pushing out content. We must give people a reason to visit our page, so they check in regularly.”

“One of the things that makes me happiest is when I see our followers interacting with each other – finding common interests or challenging someone’s take on things. There’s a conversation that we’re convening.”

As you can imagine, Erica has a limited about of time to dedicate to social media. So, she chooses to post to the platform with her library system’s most prominent established audience: Facebook.

“When I was a library director, I found out how long it took to develop a robust social media presence,” said Erica. “When you lead small, rural public libraries, you do all the things and don’t have much time to focus on something like social media.”

“Since most of our libraries are small and rural, I use our Facebook account to aggregate content they can use on their social media accounts as filler – in between the posts about their programs and services.”

“We don’t want to push content but invite people in to build community. I focus on finding a library or literary memes, or what I consider library-adjacent posts (cats and dogs!), or things that are nerdy and fun. It’s about creating a community of people who enjoy our page, so when we post advocacy messages, we’re reaching a much bigger audience that trusts us.”

Erica says social media is a vital part of the formula for success for libraries.

“We live in a chaotic, information-saturated world,” said Erica. “It can take a lot of work to get your message out, and part of any advocacy strategy has to include social media.”

“I think libraries are getting better at marketing, but we tend to hide our light under a bushel rather than share the great work we’re doing. And in our neck of the woods, local newspapers are few and far between, so the best way to reach people is where they’re already spending time, which tends to be social media.”

Even with her expertise in social media, Erica continues to look for ways to improve her reach and drive more connections for her member libraries. “I would love more time to strategize and devise an evil plan to dominate social media,” shared Erica.  “In the best of all possible worlds, I’d create a social media calendar and be more intentional in our content and posting.”

For Erica, it’s easy to find libraries that inspire her. “There are a ton of libraries doing great stuff,” said Erica. “I love what the Stillwater Library does – they take historical items from their collection or community and ask people to respond to what it is with wrong answers only. And they do a lot of great puns.”

“ I steal stuff from our member libraries, including the Bolton Free Library, Argyle Free Library, and the Caldwell-Lake George Library (to name a few) regularly. I love Waikato District Libraries, Dexter District LibraryFriends of the Barbara Rose Johns Farmville/Prince Edward Community Library, Librarian Memes – any library page I come across. There are so many doing incredible, creative work!”

And Erica wants to share a piece of advice for anyone working in social media library marketing. It’s something she learned from a presentation by a marketing librarian from the Portsmouth Public Library in New Hampshire, “Be the social media you want to see in the world. That’s what I live by. Be silly, have fun, and help spread the word about the vital work public libraries do each day.”

More Advice

There’s New Advice for Libraries About Posting to Social Media but… Should You Actually Take It?

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