Super Library Marketing: All kinds of marketing ideas for all kinds of libraries.

YouTube Fundamentals to Guarantee Library Marketing Results

Now that you understand the importance of video marketing for your library and you know how to create a video that will be interesting, suspenseful, and drive cardholders back to your channel for more content, let’s spend some time talking about the pros and cons of putting everything on YouTube–and what you can do to make your YouTube channel the best it can be for you and your cardholders.

This post is full of tips I learned from Jonathan Stanley, who is the creative manager of online video content and production for Lowe’s. I attended a session led by Jonathan at Content Marketing World and I left with pages of notes!

YouTube is a great option for posting and sharing library marketing videos. Jonathan says it’s the #2 search engine in the world (wow!) and it has billions of users. You can put your library marketing videos on your website but, according to Jonathan, the reality is that you also need to post your videos on YouTube. That’s because YouTube is the home of next generation of influencers, including that elusive and coveted demographic–teenagers! It’s where people go to watch videos these days (myself included). So your library must have a strong presence there.

To make your YouTube channel the best it can possibly be, your first task is to clean it up. Do not let your YouTube channel become a video dumping ground. Check all the videos on the channel right now and get rid of the videos that contain out-of-date information or that promote programs and services your library no longer provides. For the remaining videos, go in and do some editing to optimize the ability of users to find and watch those videos. You can do that by renaming the videos, rewriting the video descriptions, and updating the keywords.

Once you’ve cleaned up your channel, it’s time to start adding new videos. Jonathan says the production value of your library marketing videos doesn’t matter all that much. Consumer distrust of companies is at an all-time high. Most YouTube viewers equate slick video production with an advertisement, and they really hate ads. So Jonathan encourages you not to worry so much about every aspect of video production and instead focus on the quality of the storytelling because that will strike viewers as authentic and valuable, and they’ll be more likely to watch.

As an example, Jonathan shared a video Lowe’s created about the correct way to use a tape measure. It’s slick and well-produced.

To date, this video has gotten more than 50,000 views and 152 likes. However, Lowe’s noticed their video is out-performed by this homemade video, shot in a workshop.

It has bad lighting and varying audio levels. But it has been viewed more than 17 million times and has more than 29,000 likes! Why? It’s more authentic. So don’t worry too much about the look of your video. Instead, make sure the content is so good that people can’t help but watch it.

Next, Jonathan says you should create a schedule so that you post consistently and map out a plan to publicize your videos. His example comes from a series called “How to Cake It.” The creator, Yolanda Gampp, posts a new video every Tuesday.

The thing Jonathan wants you to focus on here is the way Yolanda sets a cadence. She’s built her audience by creating a sense of anticipation for her videos and by delivering on that anticipation. You could set your cadence at any level you can support on a consistent basis but you should tell your audience when to expect a new video and then deliver on it. You should also create a publicity schedule so that audiences on other channels will head to your YouTube channel to check it out.

Finally, Jonathan says you should always be testing! Experiment with different content types, formulas, and talent. You might fail right away, and that’s okay. The things that are not working for your audience will become clear pretty fast and you can pivot away from those failing ideas just as quickly. You also don’t need to spend years scripting your video. Write it, shoot it, put it out there, and see how it works. Then adjust your strategy for the next video.

Jonathan suggests you start using the YouTube Creator Academy. It’s a series of free courses designed to help you make better videos and use the YouTube platform to your advantage.

Read part two of this series here.

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


What a Firecracker and a Watermelon Have to Do with Library Video Marketing

I am so excited that the focus of marketing in the current era is video. I’m positively giddy at the prospect of how this medium will help us transform the popular view of libraries. The power of video is mind-blowing. It’s easier than ever to create a video. The hard part is compelling your viewers to watch it and to keep coming back for more.

I want to encourage you by sharing tips I learned from an extraordinary marketing expert.  Andrew Davis is CEO of Monumental Shift and author of the book Brandscaping. He is a former journalist and producer for The Muppets and Charles Kuralt. He’s a brilliant storyteller and a gifted speaker. He spoke at Content Marketing World this year about the power of video marketing and how to make sure your videos are working at their fullest potential–engaging viewers, building compelling stories, and getting your whole message through to your target audience. His talk was energizing and I want to spread some of his enthusiasm around!

Davis says we need to change the way we think about engagement. Most libraries declare engagement victory when we get a certain amount of views, impressions, shares, or likes. But the social media landscape is so saturated that those numbers really have no meaning anymore. We need to shift our definition of engagement to audience retention.

Audience retention is, simply put, the amount of time our cardholders spend viewing our content. This translates to watch time on YouTube and Facebook and page time on Google Analytics. A compelling video will persuade people returning to those platforms to view your content over and over. Davis says we must stop blaming our viewers for having the attention span of a goldfish. It isn’t that our viewers can’t pay attention to what we are saying. The problem is that what we are saying is boring.

Create videos that your cardholders really want to watch. To do this, you’ll need to get inside the mind of your viewer. Start by creating a series of “how to” videos, which have high audience retention. How-to videos are low-hanging fruit for a library. Your librarians can be your guide–ask them to name the questions they are asked most often by cardholders and then help you create a simple video to explain the answers. To prove the power of the how-to video, Davis played this video, which is one of the most watched how-to videos on YouTube.

Davis says your next video marketing challenge is to create suspense by raising the stakes. The best way to explain this concept is with this video from the Slo-Mo guys.They inserted a firecracker into a watermelon. It takes 18 seconds from start to finish for it to blow up. I admit it’s kind of exciting.  But it’s over in less than half a minute–not the greatest way to create audience retention!

Davis says there is a better way to do that video–and the example comes from Buzzfeed. They did a Facebook live where they burst a watermelon with rubber bands. It took forever to make the watermelon explode but tons of people were watching when it finally blew up. At the 20 minute mark, they had 375,000 viewers. By 40 minutes, they had 800,000 viewers. In all, more than 11 million watched it on demand after the fact. So the lesson is… DON’T INSERT A FIRECRACKER INTO A WATERMELON.

Next, Davis says, teach your audience to chase answers. The pursuit of the answers builds momentum. Your videos need to occupy your audience’s desire to know more over time. Davis says you need to stop worrying about how long a video is. Rather, ask yourself if your entire video worth watching. When someone says your video is too long, what they’re really saying is “I have no more questions.” Make sure there are questions that need answering and keep the audience constantly asking what’s next.

Remember that building suspense isn’t just part of the story line of your video. The title and the thumbnail you choose is part of the equation–don’t give it all away in those two elements. To demonstrate, Davis shared this video from the ancestry research company 23 and Me. Honestly, if you just read the title and look at the thumbnail, you will already know what’s going to happen. There’s no suspense and that translates into no real reason to watch.

A more compelling example of building suspense through the title and use of video is this Dove Choose Beautiful spot.

Finally, Davis says when you are creating drama with your videos, it is important to remember to pay it off. Make sure you deliver a catharsis or an emotional release our audience craves. If you don’t, you risk alienating your viewers. For example, Billy Gene The Wolf of Advertising made the following video. Watch it and see if you can guess why it was widely criticized.

There is no resolution! You must resolve every question you raise by the end of the video. Be sure to provide answers to all the questions in your video, so you avoid frustrating your audience. A frustrated audience will not come back to watch more of your content.

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

Manipulating Cardholder Feelings to Get Results

A cardholder recently leveled an accusation against my marketing department for making her feel all the feels.

Here’s the brief story: our library is trying to raise money for a facilities plan. We have several Carnegie-era branches that are not yet accessible to those with disabilities. So we’ve started a content marketing campaign to educate our cardholders and the residents of our service area about the problem, as we will be asking them for money to fund the facilities plan. In our first video portion of the campaign, we interviewed a veteran who cannot get into the library branch in his neighborhood.

When we released the video, one of the viewers sent us a message. She said, “How dare you  manipulate my emotions and try to make me feel sorry for this guy.” I think this person was trying to make us feel guilty for marketing to her.

Sorry, not sorry.

Emotional marketing is effective. We have seen it work time and again for our library and other libraries. You may remember the story of the Leeds Library campaign, which used story-driven emotional marketing to change that community’s perception of the modern library and its value. Leeds won an award for their campaign, and one judge commented, “We loved the application of real-life, personal journeys to draw on the emotions, capture the imagination and change the perceptions of the audience.”

Effective marketing appeals to emotions, not logic, reason, or even facts. This is particularly effective in the world now, where social media algorithms are cutting into our organic reach. If we want better unpaid reach, we need to constantly engage our audience. To constantly engage our audience, we need them to take an action on every post. To get them to take action, we need to motivate them through emotion.

Research from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, published in Current Biology, says humans really feel just four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. The kind of messages that get us engagement are all based on these basic emotions. When you feel happy or angry, you want to share that emotion with others in your social network. When you feel sad, you empathize with the subject your sadness and feel a motivation to help ease their suffering. When you are afraid, you want to take action to ease your fear.

Your most loyal cardholders are likely already emotionally connected to your brand, particularly if you work in a school or public library. The people who already use your library on a regular basis know it’s value. I bet you have superfans, and you know who they are. So what do you do with all that emotion? How do you make it work in your library’s marketing?

Ask loyal customers to share their stories with you. Conduct interviews with those passionate customers by email or on video and use those answers in many ways. Video marketing is the best way to capture emotion. There is no substitute for talking to someone on camera, for hearing their voice and seeing their facial expressions as they talk about your library. You don’t need fancy equipment. Pull out your cell phone, have them stand facing a window or head outside for a few minutes to take advantage of the natural light, and then ask them some emotionally charged questions about their library experience.

What is your favorite library memory?

Tell me about how the library has changed your life.

How would you feel if the library suddenly closed tomorrow?

If a  neighbor asked you to describe how you feel about the library, what would you say?

Ask your staff to share their stories with you. The next time you’re at an all-managers meeting, visiting another branch, or enjoying lunch with a fellow employee, ask them about life in their branch. Ask them to describe their customers. Inevitably, they’ll have one or two specific examples of people who have an unbridled enthusiasm for their location, or whom the branch staff has helped with a specific problem. Once again, pull out your phone, find some good lighting, and ask open-ended questions like:

How did that request by that cardholder make you feel?

Tell me how the situation was resolved.

Did you worry about how you would handle that request?

What is your relationship with the customer now?

And for good measure, I always ask, What compelled you to look for work in a library?

You can post these emotional marketing videos as a whole edited piece or in sections. You can turn the quotes into a printed piece for your newsletter or email list. You can create digital slides or posters in your branches using the quotes. My library used this tactic last year for a series of videos we called Customer Impact stories. We posted them on YouTube and on Facebook and is was one of our first pieces of video content marketing. The audience and our staff LOVED them. We broke them down and used them in our Library Links publication and in other ways, and they prompted more customers and staff to come forward with more amazing stories. It wasn’t hard and it didn’t take a long time to put together. It was effective. Score!

Adding emotional marketing to your regular promotional schedule keeps your cardholders engaged and feeling all the feels whenever they think of your library. It’s not something to apologize for. It’s something to be proud of.

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


Inspiring Advice From An Expert Blogger

A few months ago, I asked readers whether their library had a blog. 61 percent of respondents said no. I have to include myself in that statistic. And the more I think about it, the more that bothers me.

Blog-less libraries are missing a HUGE opportunity. A blog has a number of promotional advantages that simply cannot be replicated with any other type of tactic. And to make my case, I am going to share insights with you from a session at Content Marketing World–one that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about in the months since the conference.

Amanda Todorovich is the Director of Content Marketing at the Cleveland Clinic. She’s the 2016 winner of the Content Marketer of the Year from the Content Marketing Institute and she runs the most visited hospital blog in the United States, Health Essentials. Her session was all about the Cleveland Clinic blog and its success. And her story made me want a blog for my library.

Amanda says a blog is the best promotional tool because it creates brand awareness and relationships with current and potential customers. The goal of the Cleveland Clinic blog is to create a space in which the hospital is top of mind all the time with people looking for health information. Think about this: the hospital cannot create demand for their services. So they aim to provide credible health information at all times so that, in the unfortunate moment when someone is sick or injured, the first place they think of is the Cleveland Clinic.

That principle applies to libraries as well. There are times when a library cardholder may not need their library, but we want to stay top of mind with them so that they’ll turn to us when they do need books, or help with a struggling reader in their home, a passport, a voter registration form, help to create a resume, or whatever problem they might have. Libraries are not just about programs and books and there is a lot of value to offer your cardholders beyond those two basic services.

But Amanda also says in order for your blog to work, you have to stand strong. Your blog cannot be all things to all people. You’ll have to decide on your mission, write it down, and stick to it. This doesn’t mean that you are ignoring certain cardholders. It means that your blog has one focus, one mission and that everything you write–no matter the audience–drives at completing that mission. For example, Health Essentials mission is to engage users in daily conversation using health, wellness and clinical content that is unique to Cleveland Clinic. They’re not ignoring anyone. Rather, they are focusing all their energy on delivering on that mission to all of their potential patients and patient families. See the difference?

Blogs have a value beyond pure promotion. Using the right keywords and paying attention to metadata, tags, and links will help boost your position in search traffic. That means people will be able to find you first during a search. Some big brands pay big money for great search results placement. Can you imagine what would happen if; every time someone searches Google for a book, a DVD, or information that they land on your library’s blog? The impact would be mind-blowing.

Some library marketers are already taking this advice to heart, including Brook Savoie, who works for Lafourche Public Library in Thibodaux, Louisiana. She told me, “Our librarians take turns writing a post weekly. The purpose is to just bring more awareness to things that we do! It works well for me for social media, because I can share these blog posts weekly with our audiences without having to create any content myself.”

So, step one is convincing you, your staff, and your administration, to launch a blog. It’s worth it. You can do it. Here are Amanda’s other tips for blog success.

Focus on creating better posts, not more posts. You don’t have to post every day. Just pick a CONSISTENT schedule. Create a list of topics and then write. That’s what I do with this blog. I spend roughly three hours a week on this blog and that’s really only because I am my own editor. If I could just write and revise a draft and then hand it off to another person to edit, it wouldn’t take much time at all. I spend about ten minutes crafting and testing headlines. I spend about ten minutes making the graphic. I spend about ten minutes scheduling all the distribution. I write on the weekend and it feels like it doesn’t take much time at all.

Be willing to say no. Amanda says she doesn’t have a lot of friends outside her team because she says no to a lot of requests by other departments for blog posts. The hospital blog is focused on the needs of their readers, not on the needs of the organization and that’s why it works. When your customers are the center of your universe, you are providing them with value and they’ll keep coming back to you. You are beholden to your cardholders, and they should be your only concern.

Measure and test and test again. Never be content with the results, even when they seem good. Ask “what if” all the time–it could lead you to an extraordinary idea that takes your blog to the next level. Testing actually keeps blog writing interesting and keeps life exciting (I AGREE).

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


Facebook Does It Again! What the New Algorithm Changes Mean for Your Library

This week, Facebook announced it is making another change in the way the social media platform chooses to show content to its users. The big shift, as you likely know by now, is that Facebook will prioritize posts from friends and family in its news feed over public content from pages, like that of your library. In particular, the Facebook team will give top priority to posts that drive conversation between friends and family.

The announcement is causing consternation for many libraries, which rely heavily on organic, unpaid traffic for their promotional efforts. I honestly don’t know what the end effect will be. I have the same worries as most of my library colleagues. We’ve adjusted well since the last major algorithm change in 2015. So will we have to start over? In the wake of this announcement, I’ve wondered if the chicken comes before the egg. In other words, do our well-performing posts get more interaction because, prior to this week, Facebook has shown them to people in anticipation of interaction… or do they perform well because people are interacting with them? (Deep thoughts!!)

In the Facebook group, Libraries and Social Media, I asked social media marketers at libraries to comment on the change. Caleb Sheaffer of Shreve Memorial Library in Shreveport, LA said, “I never know what to expect until it actually happens. Right now, all the posts that perform well for our library are ones that have the most interaction anyway.”

Jennifer Redford from Boise, Idaho added, “I think that we’ll just need to focus more on writing and sharing great content. We’ve also started using events more and I wonder how that will be affected by the change.”

Finally, Molly Wetta, manager of the Santa Barbara Public Library, told me, “These announcements are pushing me to move forward more quickly with an idea I’ve had for a while. We’re experimenting with linked groups – I started one for youth services specific content, and we may also try one for smaller communities and branches within our system if this one is successful. The goals are to work more to create community connections in addition to marketing our events/services. I do love the events feature, and the notifications will hopefully be helpful but not intrusive. We’ll be sharing book recommendations and answering book-related questions, sharing early literacy tips and activities, and hopefully answering questions.”

The bottom line is that your library’s page may see your overall statistics drop. Your reach and referral traffic, your shares, and your comments may drop. MAY is the key word there. My overall impression of this change is that it will force library marketers to work smarter when using Facebook. All of the pointers in this recent article on Facebook still apply.

And now, more than ever, you must make sure your posts are really good. Share content from other sources related to books and literature–don’t just promote your own stuff, particularly on posts. Use events to promote your events. Ask questions. Create polls. And most importantly, shoot video. As we know, Facebook users respond in a big way to video. Facebook says live videos often lead to discussion among viewers and live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos. So video marketing must be part of your plan.

You can also explain to your followers what is happening and ask them to choose to see your posts. People who want to see more posts from your library page can select See First in News Feed Preferences. You can also do what Molly’s library is doing and experiment with groups. One of my favorite Facebook pages did that this weekend and they put a little money behind it to make sure all their followers know about the move.

Finally, don’t bait people to interact with your posts. In this week’s announcement, Facebook made it very clear that they will penalize pages which use engagement bait, like. Use real questions and conversation starters. Read this article to see how to avoid engagement bait.

Here’s the thing to remember: posting content on Facebook is like building your house on rented land. It doesn’t belong to you and as much as it pains your library system when changes are made, there is little we can do about it. The big lesson is that we need to start relying on our own platforms and websites for promoting our programs and services. That means we should be building our own audience with blogs, podcasts, and other content delivery systems. We should be developing email subscriber lists so we can target and market to our specific library cardholders and give them the content they really want.

Facebook is great, but they’re not the only way to reach customers. Let’s make a concerted effort to start moving to other content delivery platforms where we have more control. Our fans are loyal and they’ll respond when we deliver content specifically targeted to them.

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

The Best Library Customer Service Advice from an Expert

There is an undeniable connection between customer service and successful marketing and to ignore the role that a personal, caring interaction with a customer can have for your library is dangerous. Don’t take your customers for granted. Help them solve their problems–even when the problem is your library–and keep them loyal for a lifetime.

I started to really think about the role customer service plays in my library when I stumbled across a podcast a few years ago called Focus on Customer Service. Host Dan Gingiss interviewed marketers from brands which are known for outstanding customer service in the social media area. Those conversations are enlightening and, although the podcast is no longer in production, I would suggest you go back and listen to the archives. They’re really worth your time.

Meanwhile, Dan has gone on to write a new book, Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media. It is the best marketing book I’ve read recently. I reached out to Dan to ask him some specific advice about libraries and customer service and he was kind enough to give his advice.

Dan’s 20-year career has consistently focused on delighting customers, spanning multiple disciplines including social media, customer service, marketing, and digital customer experience. Dan has hands-on experience as an executive at multiple Fortune 300 companies, including as the Senior Director of Global Social Media at McDonald’s Corporation, the Head of Digital Marketing at Humana and the Head of Digital Customer Experience & Social Media at Discover Card. A frequent conference speaker, Dan holds a B.A. in psychology and communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A. in marketing and strategy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. You can find him on Twitter at @dgingiss.

Libraries often do things by committees and many have a long and bureaucratic approvals process for everything, including responses to customer service issues. Can you tell us why libraries should consider empowering their employees to surprise and delight customers by resolving issues in a more expedient way?

What libraries — and all organizations — need to remember is that customers are comparing you to every other customer experience they have with companies. You’re not being compared to another library; rather, you are being compared with Amazon, Wendy’s, Zappo’s, and any other brand with which the customer has engaged recently. Customer expectations are higher than ever, and a speedy response has become table stakes to competing with other superior experiences.

Libraries have such meager budgets, and many focus solely on getting the most product (books) to customers as possible. They don’t want to spend any money on providing good customer service. There are a lot of products out there that can make it easier for libraries to enhance their customer service. If you had to pick one thing that libraries should spend money on to improve their customer service, what would it be (software? More agents? )

Self-service capabilities. Most customers are willing to pursue self-service solutions if they are available, and many even prefer it. In the case of libraries, this could be used both in person at computer terminals and online, where like other industries much of the customer interaction is now taking place. Considering that libraries are still physical structures and much of the experience is still enjoyed in person, it’s also critical that they hire friendly and helpful staff who are willing and able to help readers who have no idea how to navigate the archaic Dewey Decimal System, for example. (Think about how people search for things today; it certainly does not involve decimals!)

Training for customer care, particularly in social media, is not always a strong suit for libraries. They train mostly for front-line customer service. Can you explain the difference between training for front-line interactions with customers and online customer care, and why there is a value in providing specific training for online care?

First of all, it’s critical to remember that social media is still the “front line”. It’s just another channel in which your customers have chosen to engage. So just as you wouldn’t leave a Help Desk unattended or let the phone ring and ring, you also shouldn’t make people wait for answers on social media either. That said, there are some key training differences (explained in Chapter 7 of my book) between online and offline Customer Service agents. The two most notable are writing ability and social media platform knowledge. Agents must have good spelling and grammar, as mistakes cast a poor light on the organization, and they must have at least a working knowledge of each individual social media platform so they understand the culture, norms, and limitations.

I think community building is a good strategy for libraries to engage with cardholders and offer customer care. Based on your book, I assume you agree. Can you explain how building an online community might benefit an organization like a library which is looking to improve customer service?

Online communities are especially helpful in answering questions that are likely to recur over time. For example, I recently learned that libraries often have passes to local museums but that they are reserved quickly. I wanted to know the process of obtaining such a pass from my local library. While calling the library worked just fine, an online community could have provided the same answer without leveraging paid library staff. In addition, I’d point out that books, by their very nature, are community-building in that people love talking about their similar interests and experiences. So I think an online community hosted by a library could be very successful on several fronts.

What do you think the future looks like for customer service? Is there anything libraries should be considering as they plan for the future, so they can stay competitive with bookstores and offer excellent service to cardholders?

Libraries have a huge advantage over bookstores because they provide the product for free! If they were also to provide a consistently superior customer experience, the discussion in the media might not be about Amazon undercutting brick-and-mortar bookstores, but about how libraries are experiencing a great resurgence at the expense of Amazon! Like any industry, libraries must adapt to changing technology and customer expectations. In some ways, they have, like the availability of e-books, but I’ve never found those to be either marketed effectively or easy to use. Libraries should learn from for-profit businesses to become better marketers of what is already a competitive product, to draw in new card members but also to remind existing ones why they signed up in the first place.

Bonus Secret: Go to, click on “Buy Now”, then enter the code “Winning” to get a signed copy of Dan’s book for the best available price.

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

Get Your Pinterest in Shape for the New Year!

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 LinkedInFacebookTwitter, and Instagram 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 profile

There are many libraries doing a lot of things right on Pinterest! Some of my favorites are:

The Somers Library in New York.

Bellevue University Library in Nebraska.

Kansas City Public Library in Missouri.

New York Public Library, of course.

And the list goes on and on.

My library gets a tremendous benefit using Pinterest as a promotional tool. We’re very specific in our use. With a strategy to our pinning, our library’s following on Pinterest has grown by 400 percent! Each month, Pinterest drives an average between 20 and 60 percent of the traffic we get to our website. Sometimes, it’s the highest source of traffic from any social media platform we use. It’s powerful!

As you approach the next season of the social media calendar, you can tweak your current Pinterest board to improve results. Or, if your library is not on Pinterest yet, use this guide to create a profile that will drive traffic to your website, increase awareness of your library, and surprise and delight your Pinterest followers.

Audit your current boards and pins and optimize for search. Pinterest is a search engine and it works on an algorithm, like most social media platforms these days. 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 might also hurt you in your Pinterest search rankings. So consider changing board names to more closely match things that book lovers and readers might search for. For instance, a good name for a board full of recipes is Book Food, Food Inspired by Books, Literary Food, and Food to Eat While Reading.  Next, check the description of each board to make sure there are searchable keywords. For instance, before this fall, my library used literary quotes related to the board topic as our board description. And while that’s clever, it doesn’t help our followers or potential new followers to find us. So we changed our board descriptions to be more instructive about what we were pinning.

Finally, go through each Pin on every board to make sure every link works. Delete any Pins with dead links. Next, 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 right from your Pin. For each Pin, re-think the description section and make sure you are using keywords words to make sure your Pins are seen by the right users.

Eliminate Pins and boards that aren’t driving traffic. Pinterest now penalizes users who have Pins and boards that aren’t being shared. So you’ll need to do some weeding. This is time-consuming but essential. I started weeding our boards more than a month ago. I spend about two hours a week on the task and I’m still not anywhere close to being finished. But it’s already working. Traffic to our website is slowly creeping higher and our remaining Pins are getting more traffic. Do your weeding during a part of your day when you need to just do something mindless for 15 minutes or so, to give your brain a break. Before you know it, you’ll make significant progress.

Use the new Sections option on boards to make your Pins easier to find. This is an update for Pinterest and it’s pretty darn awesome. 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.

Pin NEW books from your collection. Every. Single. Day. Pinterest users love to find out about new books using the site and libraries are perfectly positioned to give that information. 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–a holds list before distribution is 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 book cover you Pin is as big as possible. If you have Overdrive, you can use their website to find large covers for most books. The bigger the cover, the more successful the Pin will be.

Keep an eye on changing demographics. Pinterest says about 60 percent of women and about one-third of millennials use Pinterest. And men are the platform’s fastest-growing follower segment. So when you are pinning content, keep this research in mind.

Here are more resources:

Best Pin sizes for Pinterest

Pinterest predicts top 100 Pin trends for 2018

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


Get Your Instagram in Shape for the New Year!

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 LinkedInFacebook 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 profile

Let’s talk about Instagram. The platform has 800 million users worldwide, likely including thousands of your cardholders. Time spent on the platform is up 80 percent this year! And most of the users are under the age of 30. That’s the demographic most libraries are desperately trying to reach.

So if your library is not on Instagram, it should be. And if your library is on the platform, it’s time to plan for how you’ll put it to better use next year. My library recently laid out our plans for Instagram for 2018. Here are some of the ideas we’ll be implementing next year, based on expert advice and current trends.

Start using stories. START USING STORIES. This is the most important point I’m going to make in this post and I really cannot emphasize this enough. Stories are the key to making your Instagram account successful and if you merely post photos and don’t do stories, you might as well not post on Instagram at all. Plus stories are now available on the desktop version of Instagram so your followers can watch literally from any device. What are you waiting for?

Make a commitment to post once a day. Consistency is the key to making it work. The more consistently you post, the more your posts will show up in the feed of your followers, and the more your followers will engage. It’s that simple.

Photos are still king on Instagram. Social Media Today says photos get 36 percent more engagement than videos on Instagram. That’s not to say that you should never post videos. Videos are great if your subject is a moving object or visually engaging. My recommendation is to try a ratio of three photos to one video in Instagram posts. Video adds variety and keeps your followers interested in what you are posting on the platform. But if you haven’t ventured onto Instagram yet because you’re worried you can’t shoot quality videos, don’t be. Do photos. There are plenty of beautiful pics happening in your workplace every day and your cardholders will like and comment on them on Instagram. And on that note…

Imagery is key. We work in a building full of beautiful images-shelving, stacks of books, interesting works of art, and more. I’m not a visual artist but I can still see there is tons of imagery in the library and social media experts say posts with striking visual imagery will be popular on Instagram in 2018. Libraries are ripe with fantastic images… a person reading a book against a sunlit window, a messy stack of books in the book drop waiting to be checked in each morning, a shot from the drive-thru window looking out on a busy street. Take a moment to admire the beauty of your building, your co-workers, and your job… and then capture it on your smart phone and share it with your fans!

Try branded hashtags. They’ll help you keep track of your post engagement and they’re a way to give your post some visibility in the feed. Plus, working your library’s name into a hashtag and using that on every post drives home your brand image in the mind of your followers over time.

Post with a location tag. Using the location tag is easy and the latest statistics from Social Media Today show a location tag increases user engagement by 71 percent.

Further reading:

Instagram statistics to keep in mind for 2018

Three secrets to delight your Instagram followers

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




Get Your Library’s LinkedIn in Shape for the New Year!

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.

There are not enough libraries-particularly in the public and academic sectors-using LinkedIn to reach cardholders. This particular social media platform has a lot of potential for great content marketing. It’s also a great place for personal connections with your cardholders because the audience is smaller and more focused on specific wants and needs like job improvement, workplace issues, self-help ideas, and personal growth. So here are some easy ways to improve your library’s presence on LinkedIn. And if your library is not yet using LinkedIn, try these easy ideas to develop a presence there.

Think about the kind of cardholders who will connect with you on LinkedIn and make your profile all about serving them. Don’t use your library’s LinkedIn to brag about your library. Your LinkedIn followers will want to see ways that your library can help them to better their careers. So give them information about books, classes, and events geared toward improving their professional lives.

Use relevant keywords in your profile summary and your posts to make your page easier to find in search. Words like library, career help, career classes, career books, self-help books, job hunt, shared workspace, and the like will help people find and follow your page. LinkedIn has a robust search engine–put it to work for you!

Post several days a week. That’s right, your library doesn’t have to post every day. But having a strategy to post two to three times a week is important. LinkedIn works on an algorithm and keeping up regular posts ensures that what you say will show up regularly in the feed of your connections.

Share news that is job and career-related that doesn’t come from your library. Like other social media platforms, curated content is important on LinkedIn. It’s perfectly acceptable for one or two of your posts each week to be non-promotional. In fact, your cardholders will begin to see your library as a true source of career and job information if you curate and share content.

Profile your workers. This tactic has been successful for our library. Once a week, we do a Worker Wednesday profile where we highlight someone working in the library–from the janitors all the way up to senior leadership. We get the most engagement from these posts and they’re easy to do. All you need is a photo and two lines–we usually ask staff to tell us why they like working at the library and what they’re reading now.

Post library jobs on LinkedIn. That’s right, you can use the platform to help drive qualified candidates to your Human Resources department! Users of LinkedIn are engaged in their careers, so what better audience?

More resources to help!

Why LinkedIn is a Hot Social Network

Important Stats about LinkedIn Use

How to Create a Company Page and Best Practices

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


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