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Get More Library Marketing Reach on Social Media

Every library marketer I know is fighting a battle for the attention of cardholders on social media. Platforms don’t make it easy for us, do they? The kind of organic reach we enjoyed even five years ago is a nearly unattainable now. Plus, we’re all stretched for time. Social media can feel like an endless treadmill or a giant monster that needs constant feeding.

But there one thing you can do to stretch your library marketing efforts further each day on social. It’s called re-purposing. Basically, you take original content created by you or content created by your fans. You reshape it, then share it on different platforms. It’s easy and it’s fun. It saves time. And it helps you get the most effective library marketing messages in front of more eyes.

Now, I want to say that I don’t recommend full cross posting… in other words, copy and pasting a post on one social media platform automatically onto another one. Always think about whether your audience really wants to see the same content on each platform. The answer is usually no. Different platforms have different audiences with different needs.

But you can take a post on one platform and re-craft it to work on a second or third social media platform. For instance, an Instagram story shot at a super-fun teen program probably won’t work on your library’s LinkedIn page but it could be re-purposed on Snapchat. You can also make minor changes to single posts to make them work on different platforms. Change the text or the captions of the posts, add or remove hashtags, and or use a different photo.

Here are some tips for spotting social media posts that can be re-purposed. First, make a daily habit of social listening. Essentially, that means you monitor mentions of your library on all social media platforms every day. It’s easiest to do when you use social media scheduling software. At our library, we use Sprout Social. We can see mentions of our library on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, which are the big three platforms where we spend most of our social media energy. For my personal blog promotion, I have a free version of Tweetdeck. I can add columns and get notices when readers mention me by name or through the hashtag #librarymarketing on Twitter, where I do my main promotion.

When you monitor and share mentions of your library, you are nurturing the relationship with people who are already fans of the library. By giving them some exposure on your social media channels, you’ll be generating exposure for them and creating more loyalty. However you decide to do social listening, set aside time every day to go through the platforms and look for mentions of your library. The complimentary ones can be turned into posts on other platforms. They can be shared directly with your followers in retweets.

Ask for testimonials from your cardholders through social media. Then share those posts in your print publications, on your website, in videos, and across other social media channels. My social media specialist likes to take mentions and turn them into testimonial graphics in Canva. Then she shares those posts on select platforms. Bonus tip: I also asked for testimonials using our email marketing list recently. I sent an email to the most active adult cardholders at all our branches and asked them to tell us why they loved their library. The email linked to a specific email address. I even populated the subject line. All the cardholder had to do was type a few sentences about why they love the library. I got back more than 400 responses… a gold mine of future content for all our platforms!

You can also turn all questions sent to you on social into re-purposed content. Cardholders will often choose social media to communicate with libraries. There’s a great book with lots of tips of social customer care. I interviewed the author earlier this year and you can read that post. You’ll learn lots of ways to make social media customer care work for your library. The trick again is to set aside time every work day to go through each platform. And to keep track of the platforms where your library is mentioned.

And now, I’m going to share a social media fail I suffered recently. I forget that Google Business existed! My boss checked our account and found dozens of questions posted on Google Business sites for our 41 library locations. Now, I go through the messages my library gets each day. With 41 locations, we get about five messages a day on that platform. Some are questions about things like branch hours or services. I try to answer all questions within 24 hours if possible. Many posts are people leaving specific reviews of branches. Those people are thanked by me with a personal message. The whole process takes maybe 10 minutes a day. But the quick interaction will leave cardholders who take the time to write to you feeling like they were really heard, and that’s extremely important. And now, I can take the best of those Google reviews and re-share them on other platforms. They work great because they often mention specific branches and staff members. They feel more personal to the people who live in those neighborhoods because they know that branch and staff.

Re-purposing content is a great way to stretch your library marketing reach. It’s relatively easy and it’s fun and it’s free. And here’s the big thing: many for-profit brands are not doing a good job of re-purposing content. That’s our advantage. Our cardholders love us, and they love to hear other fans rave about our work. So set aside a tiny block of time in every day to search for content that can be re-purposed.

And now, I have a favor to ask. If you didn’t see last week’s post, can you take three minutes to fill out my tiny little survey? It’ll help make this blog better in 2019. Thank you!

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button in the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. I talk about library marketing on all those platforms!

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Introducing the Nine Blogs That Will Make You a Better Library Marketer

(Read time: 2 minutes, 28 seconds)

I am a fan of blogs. God bless the internet, it’s the best way to keep up to date on everything–food, fashion, the news, and the changes in library marketing. And, as much as I am also a fan of books of all kinds, I am not a fan of marketing books! The landscape of this profession changes fast. Unless it’s a philosophical take on marketing, most marketing books feel out of date within a year or two of publication.

Instead, I get my advice from blogs. So I’ve listed the nine blogs I recommend you read to stay on abreast of all the news in marketing. For the best use of your time, sign up for the email newsletters offered by these sites. Most will let you choose which topics you like to hear about and will send you content at the frequency that’s best for you. Set aside time on your calendar every day to read the content shared by these blogs. It’ll be time well spent. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order.

The Content Strategist

This blog features interesting articles broken into categories like storytelling, strategy, and ROI. They also post inspirational articles, which I love to save and read on days when I feel like my work is not having the impact it could or should.

Content Marketing Institute

At first glance, you might be intimidated. This blog is aimed at C-Suite or executive level marketers. But it’s good to read this advice even when you’re a little guy! There are always pieces of their strategy and bits of advice you can pick up and mold to work for your library. And the writers of this blog always seem to see the trends in consumer and business marketing before any other experts. Also, when you sign up for this newsletter you’ll get notifications about CMI’s free webinars. They have the most helpful webinars of any company in the marketing space.

Coschedule

I found this blog after using their online tool for writing better headlines. It’s among my favorites. Coschedule creates a lot of useful templates and writes easy-to-read, concise instructions on how to use them and how to improve your marketing.

The Daily Carnage

I read this one for laughs, good advice, and a lesson on how to write with humor and still be taken seriously.

Hubspot

Hubspot also gives away a lot of free templates and online courses that have tremendous value. Their blog posts cover a range of topics and are fun and insightful.

Mashable Marketing

One of my favorites by far. Their content is easy to read and interesting. They cover topics from social media to graphic elements to equipment to how pop culture affects marketing. It’s also written very, very well. This website is daily appointment reading for me!

PR Daily

If you sign up or bookmark just one blog from this post, this should be it. It’s essential for library marketing. This blog contains everything you need to know about public relations and the media. You have my permission to stop reading and subscribe to this one now. Then come back. Please.

Social Media Examiner

When I interview candidates for a social media position, I asked them where they get their news about social media. If they name this blog, they get a big A+ from me. Read it AND listen to Michael Stelzner’s podcast to get the best advice on social media from the industry’s best minds.

Spin Sucks

This blog offers a lot of helpful PR advice with a mix of fun posts designed to stretch your creative brain and general marketing advice. I really look forward to their daily email newsletter. I always learn something!

What is your favorite marketing blog? Please share the name in the comments so I can read it too!

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.

 

Unlock the Truth About LinkedIn and Library Marketing

Whenever my staff and I talk about increasing our library marketing reach in the community through social media, one particular staff member always says, “What are we doing on LinkedIn?” For a long time, we all had a little laugh and moved on. We ignored LinkedIn, though this staff member kept telling us it was a platform we needed to pay attention to. But we had a lot to do. Facebook was where most of our cardholders were connecting with us and we struggled to keep up with the demands of creating content for that platform. Plus, we all thought LinkedIn was just for job seekers. We didn’t really view it as a social media platform of the same caliber as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. We posted on LinkedIn sporadically; maybe twice per week at the most.

My social media specialist went on a well-deserved vacation and I took charge of LinkedIn while he was gone. I decided to experiment by posting on the site every weekday. I picked things I thought would resonate with the LinkedIn audience–professionals looking to network, find new jobs, and build connections that will help them advance in their careers.

One day I posted a promotion for an upcoming seminar on small business grants, with a  graphic I created for free on Canva. On another day, I chose to promote a self-help book from our new arrivals feed. We were already posting a “Worker Wednesday” profile each week, highlighting one of our branch staff on our other social media platforms and I posted that on LinkedIn. I also promoted a niche business magazine from our eBranch and a vintage photo of librarians at one of our branches.

The result is that engagement doubled over the course of two weeks and we decided, right then and there, to adjust our strategy and post more often on LinkedIn. Our little experiment showed there was clearly an audience for those messages.

LinkedIn is an important social media platform for libraries. I’ve said this for a while. And any library that’s not posting on LinkedIn is missing a huge opportunity, particularly in light of the recent algorithm changes and the data breach at Facebook and the toxic atmosphere of Twitter.

Here are the top five reasons why our library posts on LinkedIn and why I think your library should too!

It’s professional and polite. There are lots of people posting daily on LinkedIn about all kinds of ideas surrounding work life and yet, somehow, none of the comments on the platform have spiraled into hate-mongering that you might see on other social networks. This is due to the nature of LinkedIn–almost everyone on the site is aware that future employers are always looking at what they say and how they react. They put their best face and ideas forward. And that makes it a great place for libraries to interact with cardholders. You won’t get pulled down into messy and unproductive conversations and the audience is, by nature, receptive to your posts. There are no trolls! And speaking of which…

Less fake accounts, more organic reach. On LinkedIn, you won’t be targeted by fake accounts trying to prod you for likes, comments, and shares or following you simply to get a follow back. Imagine a world where there are no porn accounts masquerading as real people! The people interacting on LinkedIn are all real. And that makes for more genuine, organic interactions with your audience.

You can find great ideas for program and service promotion centered on career development. If you are looking for a place where you can gather ideas to create programs and services that will help grow the professional lives of your users, you should be on LinkedIn every day. Follow major companies and professional coaches to learn more about how career development is growing, spot trends, and find ways to showcase the resources your library can provide to help people looking for a new job or looking to advance their careers.

It’s a great place to share the story of your library. If you need a place to publish articles about your library, you should do that on LinkedIn. Top performing articles on the platform, according to Newswhip, include posts that help the reader add a positive or remove a negative from their life, job advice, and articles centered on how CEO’s best lead their team. In my personal experience, sharing books about career advancement and profiles of regular library staff members work well with the LinkedIn audience.

It’s a good platform to try something unexpected. I want to share a surprising discovery we made on our library’s own LinkedIn page. Our job and career-related posts generally do well. We get hundreds and sometimes thousands of impressions and dozens to hundreds of link clicks. But in the last few months, we found that posts about exhibits on display at the Main Library are also interesting to the LinkedIn audience! For example, in February, we did a small but cute display of cheesy vintage romantic novels to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We did a simple promotional post on LinkedIn and got more than 1100 impressions. Not bad! RIght now, our Main Library is housing a display of artwork from kids in the Cincinnati City School District and our promotional post about that display is getting even better engagement! So try unconventional posts too. Your LinkedIn followers may respond to something that you can’t predict, like news about an art exhibit!

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 Most Exciting Library Marketing Lessons from Content Marketing World

The future of content marketing at your library is stories, videos, and making personal connections between your cardholders and your libraries. That’s the big takeaway for me from the year’s Content Marketing World, a giant marketing conference in Cleveland. I’ve just returned with a head full of ideas and heart full of energy. Rubbing elbows with 4,000 marketers bursting with love for the profession will do that to you.

At #CMWorld, I attended 15 sessions and learned a ton of new information which I will flesh out here over the course of the next several months. Some tips can be put into action immediately and some will need time for processing in my brain, as I work to figure out how to make them doable for libraries of all sizes, shapes, and missions.

Here are the main takeaways I received from 15 sessions with links so you can check out more of the speaker’s work and get started on transforming your own library marketing.

Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer at General Electric:  Stories are everywhere, right under your nose. Find and embrace them.

Jay Acunzo, host of the podcast Unthinkable:  Content marketing is about inspiring your true believers, not coercing the skeptics. (This was an ah-ha moment for me!)

Drew Davis, a former marketer, best-selling author, and speaker:  Audience retention is the true definition of video engagement. Stop trying to just get views and get audiences to watch your whole video!

Doug Kessler, creative director and co-founder of Velocity Partners: It’s our job as marketers to expose the hidden marketing conventions and turn them on their heads. In other words, conventional thinking will get you nowhere. Now is the time to be creative.

Ian Cleary, founder of Razorsocial: Be smart when you publish your content because if no one sees it, what’s the point? Use smart keywords, collaborate with influencers, and promote yourself. During this session, I realized I know nothing about web optimization!

Amanda Todorovich, Content Marketing Director at the Cleveland Clinic: Never be content. Measure and test and test again. Ask “what if” all the time.

Casey Neistat, YouTube star: Do what you can’t. Make it count. Follow your gut. Cut through the bullshit. Yes, I put that all in bold because IT’S IMPORTANT.

Colson Whitehead, author of The Underground Railroad and a bunch of other books, Pulitzer Price Winner, National Book Award Winner, etc., etc., etc. You know him, you work at a library: If you have ideas and you’re not sure you can pull them off, it’s ok to wait until you are actually ready. I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I agree with this but I’m going to think about it for a while.

Amy Schmittauer Landino, vlogger, author, and speaker: The secret to great video is asking yourself…would you share it?? Really?? Not just because you think everything you do is fantastic, but because what you do is actually fantastic.

Arnie Kuen, CEO of Vertical Measures: There is only a two percent chance your followers will see your organic post. (YIKES!)

Scott Stratten, author, speaker, blogger, podcaster, promoter of unconventional marketing. This was a session on public speaking: Tell a personal story but only if it makes a point. Respect the audience’s time.

Tamsen Webster, speaker, and producer of TEDx Cambridge, during the same session on public speaking: Go ask for the stage you deserve. The way to speak more is… to speak more.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, actor and creator of hitRECord, an online collaboration and creation website for video, graphics, music, and more: Community, fair compensation, and collaboration are the future of content creation.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Jonathan Stanley, Executive Producer for Lowe’s: Test all the time on YouTube. Fail fast and learn fast. Don’t spend years scripting.

Michelle Park Lazette, Content Marketer for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland: Deliver different! Try your best to produce the “okra breakfasts” of content. Okra breakfasts are content that is unexpected but delicious and filling!

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.

 

The Best Ways to Find the Right Keywords For Your Library Marketing

The internet is a giant swirling vortex of blog posts, featured articles, and videos. Social media feeds are packed with all kinds of content on every topic imaginable. We know that when you write for your library website, blog, or other content site, you should always be focused on the needs of your cardholders and potential library customers. But how do you make sure your words reach the people who need it most? How does your library cut through the noise and get noticed?

Keywords are the key.

Libraries have a tendency to release content that is not keyword friendly. Libraries are institutions of precision. Library staff believes in using the correct words in the correct context, even if it’s clunky or uncommon. Library staff creates lots of terms and phrases to help us to track down information for our customers. But we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how those terms and phrases might be confusing to cardholders who are not standing with a library staff member.  When a cardholder is online, trying to find the source that will help them to write a research paper, add branches to their family tree, or make a decision about whether to purchase a car, they need us to speak their language.

That’s where keywords come into play. Using the right keywords makes it more likely that the content you write, in whatever format it is in, will end up on the computer screen in front of the person who needs it most.

There are three tools library marketing experts can use to help find keywords to weave into your content. I use the three sites when I write for this blog and they’re reliable and efficient. And all the search engines in this post are free!

Keyword Tool

I first learned about this keyword search tool about a year ago at a conference. It’s my favorite.  Type your subject or starting phrase into the box and it will tell you what terms people are using to search in Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, eBay, and the App Store. This tool is the reason I write about the subjects I do. For instance, I have learned that people who type library marketing into the search bar are looking for conferences, plans, and ideas.  So, if you are wondering, that’s why most of my posts focus on those three subjects. It works! My conference based stories are among the most popular of the blog and anytime I write about marketing plans or strategies, I get a huge response.

There is a fee-based option that allows you to look up search volume, cost per conversion, and AdWords competition but frankly, I don’t think you need them unless you are creating marketing for a huge and very expensive library campaign.

Google

Using the plain old Google search bar allows you to see what content is rising to the top of Google’s algorithm and what keywords or phrases those top-performing content pieces are using to catch the attention of readers. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery–whatever those articles are using should be what you use too! Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to see “related searches,” which I find to be extremely valuable as a source of more keywords.

Pinterest

My guess is that you hadn’t thought of using Pinterest as a keyword tool. But I typed “buy a new car” into the Pinterest box and got all kinds of articles and graphics with tips and tricks for buying a new car. I could use this information to create content around how to use our free Consumer Reports Database or our Chilton Auto Repair database, but with words that I know people are using and language they’ll understand. It also helps me to decide what parts of the car-buying or car repair process my cardholders might be most concerned about.

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.

You Don’t Need to Focus on Brand Awareness!

Prepare the pitchforks. I’m about to say something unpopular.

A lot of libraries list brand awareness as one of their strategy and marketing goals. They believe their community doesn’t know the library exists.  In the past, I’ve not objected to this assertion as long as the library marketer had a defined way to measure success and a documented strategy.

I’ve changed my mind. I think libraries should abandon the idea of generalized brand awareness as a marketing goal. In fact, I think it’s kind of lazy to do overall brand awareness campaigns, unless your library has recently changed names, location, or made some other major operational change.

Libraries need to be more focused, more specific, and more concrete. Brand awareness is too broad and it’s too difficult to measure. But more importantly, recent studies show people know the library exists. In a 2016 study by Pew Research Center on public libraries, 77 percent of respondents said they felt their local library offered them the services they need. That means 77 percent of adults know the library is in the community! 48 percent of people have visited the library in person the past year.  And 27 percent have visited the library’s website.

Getting people to understand that your community has a library isn’t the problem. Your problem is more specific. That same Pew study shows 44 percent of adults think libraries should loan eBooks. A University of Maryland study found that 90 percent of libraries have an eBook loaning vendor. That disparity is one example of where your opportunity lies!

The Pew study focused on public libraries but I think most communities understand that libraries exist at schools and universities as well. And I think school and university libraries face the same problem as public libraries–your cardholders are unaware of the specific services you offer.

So here’s what your library, whether you are public, private, university, or school-based, should focus on with more targeted brand marketing.

We’re not phony. In all your marketing messages, emphasize truth and trust. “You can trust us, we mean what we say.” The core mission of all libraries is to deliver truthful information in a way that’s easy to understand. We don’t make false promises. I think it’s time for libraries to start celebrating that core mission!

Market your well-trained staff. Librarians and library staff are constantly in a state of training. This is pretty unique in any industry… only doctors and teachers get more training than librarians. Your cardholders likely don’t realize this. So we should emphasize the excellent skills of our librarians in specific areas. For example, if you have a MakerSpace, you can market it by talking about the training those staff members undergo and how they use that training to help specific customers. Same with your reference and children’s librarians, who are more like teachers than general store support staff. They know their stuff! We should be marketing their extensive subject knowledge and expertise.

Focus on connecting niche audiences and specific collection pieces or services. There are segments of your service population that are not aware that you have job and career readiness resources and who desperately need to be connected to those services. This more focused approach takes work. You have to spend time finding the target audience and figuring out where they are so you can deliver the message to them. You have to figure out ways to make your message resonate with that specific audience, paying attention to language, tone, and delivery. But more-focused marketing gives better results. Don’t limit it to one message. Do it consistently, over time. At my library, we send emails every month to our cardholders letting them know about specific new eBooks and eAudiobooks added to the collection. And we do specific, collection-based marketing for eBooks and eAudiobooks on a consistent basis on our social media platforms. Over time, this has driven circulation of those digital collections. It will work for you too!

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

My Library Doesn’t Really Have a Strategy-Now What?

When you go on a trip, you likely have a plan. You decide ahead of time where you’ll stay, and how you’ll move around the place you are visiting. You make arrangements to rent a vehicle or research public transportation. You purchase airline or train tickets and book a hotel. You pick restaurants to sample and decide which tourist attractions you’ll visit. You could just land in a city and let fates carry you where they may, but you risk missing out on seeing or experiencing the best the area has to offer.

A plan, on vacation or in the library, helps you make the most of your time. So I was shocked to learn, in a recent conversation with another library marketing professional, that there are some libraries which run without an overall strategy!

An overall library strategy is important because your marketing strategy needs to support and directly align with your library’s strategy. Otherwise, what the heck are you doing anyway? How do you market anything when you don’t know what your library’s goals are? It’s like going on vacation without a plan.

I confess it’s taken me about two months to compose this post. I’m lucky that my library has a well-defined strategy. I have had to do some serious research and soul-searching to answer this question. I’ve landed on three things you should do if your library is lacking an overall strategy.

Directly ask what your library director or board of directors what they want to accomplish. If you library doesn’t have a defined strategy, it’s imperative that you ask about the goals of the director and the board. Even basic statements like “We want to increase program attendance by 25%” or “We want to make sure every child has a library card” will give you a concrete direction for your marketing strategy. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching senior leadership, or are not allowed to do so, ask your supervisor to step in. Stress the importance of a cohesive plan for moving forward in all areas of your library. This really is the cornerstone of your work, so I am asking you to make one last effort to force your senior leadership to name their goals. If that fails, ask yourself…

What do you want to accomplish? When your leadership won’t give you a concrete direction, I give you permission to create your own. Decide what kind of marketing goals you wish to accomplish in the next year. Some examples of self-made marketing goals are: increased audience engagement on a particular social media channel, increased circulation of digital materials, increased number of holds on new materials, or increased readership of your newsletter. Decide how you will define success and then work relentlessly to achieve them. Document your data. You can use that at the end of the year to approach senior leadership to make the case for an overall library strategy. Ask them to imagine how much more you could accomplish if you knew exactly what they wanted to achieve. Learn more about creating a marketing strategy for your library.

Use content marketing to your advantage. Without an overall library strategy, you can still make considerable marketing progress using content marketing. Turn your newsletter into a quarterly publication filled with customer stories, profiles of library staff members, and author interviews. If you have a blog, schedule similar stories on a consistent schedule. Think of your blog and newsletter as more of a news service and not a program listing or announcement platform. Using the newsroom mentality, you can create lots of content that may surprise and delight your audience, increasing attendance and circulation, without any direction from senior leadership. Learn about how to use content marketing to market your library.

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

 

How to Reach Cardholders Without Emails 

I spoke recently to a fellow library marketer who faced a frustrating problem. His library does not have an email marketing strategy and he believes there are no plans to adopt one. He knows I’m a fan of email marketing. And he was wondering if I had any library marketing ideas that are as effective as emails.

In my opinion, nothing works as well as a great email marketing strategy. But there are four tactics that will give you better results than the traditional poster-flier-press release marketing strategy.  I use these in addition to emails and they are effective.

Market to your social audience. You’ve likely built an audience on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And you’re probably already using organic messages with a strategy. But in place of an email marketing initiative, you can take it a step further in social, particularly on Facebook. For as little as $20, you can create a target audience and promote posts in a specific way. I’m a huge fan of promoted posts because they’re so cheap, they get your message in front of the right audience, and they end up giving your organic posts a boost as well. You can also do a Facebook live! For 15 minutes, offer to answer any question your audience has using the comments function. When questions aren’t coming in, fill the time by talking about your collection, your services, and any big events coming up. When you do a Facebook live, all of your followers get a notification as soon as you start broadcasting. It sounds silly but that notification is really compelling–people will click on your live just to see what you are doing! Do a Facebook live on a consistent basis–at the same time every week–and you’ll build expectation in your audience like must-see TV!

Speak at events in your community. Approach civic and community groups in your area and offer to do a ten minute talk to highlight the services and collection items. Ask schools to let your librarians come in to talk about summer reading or other child-focused events. Demonstrate how to use your digital services, databases, or genealogical archives to groups. Make sure your talks target your audience. Take questions. And create a simple handout for attendees listing your website and recapping the things you’ve discussed.

Write columns in your community newspaper or blog. Many publications will be grateful for the offer of free content and your message will get in front of a new audience. Again, try to target your column to the particular audience or community the publication serves.

Start a podcast. The barrier to entry for podcasting has never been easier. I won’t go through all the steps for actually recording, uploading, and distributing the podcast. Instead, I have bookmarked this great guide that lays out how to do everything.  Once you’ve got all your technical ducks in a row, the easy part starts. Libraries already have a niche subject and audience! I would suggest making your podcast less than 20 minutes long, the average commute time for most people. You can have a host do all the talking, but it’s more interesting if you have guests. Talk about the collection. Talk about upcoming classes and events. Talk about literary news. Interview authors! Podcasts are great marketing tools because they feel personal to the listener–for 20 minutes, you are talking directly into their ear. You have their full attention. You can’t get that with any other marketing tool!

Do you have other ideas for marketing without emails? Leave a message and your Twitter handle in the comments and I’ll post it on Twitter.

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

 

 

Focus on the Content, Not the Container

My entire perspective on library marketing changed this week while listening to a 20-minute podcast episode.

Jay Acunzo’s Unthinkable podcast highlights marketers who are changing the way their companies interact with their customers for the better. He’s tired of average content marketing. Each week he finds and interviews a marketer who is doing exceptional work–work that is Unthinkable.

During the episode titled Why You Should Focus More on the Insides of Your Content, the life-altering moment came in one of those interviews. One of Jay’s guests said: Marketers need to focus more on the content and less on the container.

When I market a library service or feature, I start with my promotional calendar. I determine whether an email campaign is appropriate. I decide if I should write an article for Library Links. I ask myself:  Do we need signs? Do we need social media promotion? Do we put something on the website? I schedule everything. And then I write all the pieces. I’m totally focused on the containers–the eblast, the Links article, the website, etc.–first.

Doing it the way Jay suggests means I should figure out what I’m going to say about the promotional item and then decide which containers will deliver that message to my audience in the most effective way. Content Before Container.

But why is this approach the better way to market? When you focus first on the content, you are emphasizing the message. You put your customer first–not your own promotional needs. You’re thinking more about the insides of your message, not the way it will be delivered and that means you are likely to be more creative. You will end up delivering your message to your audience in the way that they need it to be delivered. You’re putting the message and your cardholders first and not putting your library first. And that’s how we differentiate ourselves from the competition.

It sounds so easy. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?

Here are some resources for library marketers searching for help with their content marketing.

Content Marketing Institute: My favorite content marketing website. They do free webinars about the practice. Subscribe to CCO magazine–it’s free. Attend Content Marketing World with me! Attend their #CMWorld Twitter chat every Tuesday at noon to interact with top marketing experts and get your questions personally answered. And listen to their podcasts. You’ll understand more about content marketing and how it works.

Plus these blog posts about content marketing:

What the Hell is Content Marketing and Why Should We Do It?

Amazing Content Marketing Stories about Your Library are Right Under Your Nose

How One Library is Using Content Marketing to Capture the Imagination

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

 

 

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