This week in my library science class, we’ve been discussing different ways to use social media to promote a library. Public libraries have amazing resources, but what good are they if no one realizes they are there? For most of their history, libraries have just been places to store books. Now they are hubs of digital information, as well as centers for social, educational, and creative growth. Librarians need to use the digital resources at their disposal to reach out to the community.
The articles we read this week focused on big social media platforms, such as FaceBook, YouTube, and Pinterest. Instagram, as well, is another popular site that organizations can use to promote themselves. These sites have millions of users from all over the world. But their very size can also be their downside. One small local library’s message can get drowned out by the sheer volume of information. This is why one has to keep social media posts focused and connected. Gregg Dodd, Marketing Director for the Columbus Metropolitan Library, shares some ideas I find worth emulating. One page exists on each site for the library, with posts from every staff member run through one person before they go live, to ensure a consistent message. Posts should reflect current trending topics: “We make posts that focus on what is trending overall in social media across industries, sharing content that results in high user engagement – lists, graphics, videos and quotes” (Paraschiv, p.1). For example, during an election week, a library posts covers of the latest political non-fiction. If the British Royal Family makes the news (again), post reading lists of popular British fiction. Gaining and keeping digital attention is so important to library promotion, the Columbus Metropolitan Library even allocates money to buy digital advertising.
I have no qualms about a library using social media to promote itself—again, how can people use library resources they don’t know about? I doubt any library I end up working at full-time will have much of an advertising budget. I could certainly overcome that weakness with my knowledge and experience with using the social media platforms mentioned above, and, more importantly, my knowledge of how to synch posts together across platforms to put out a unified message.
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Paraschiv, Petra. “How to Use Social Media to Attract More Users to the Library.” Princh.com, June 13, 2017. Retrieved from https://princh.com/how-to-use-social-media-to-attract-users-to-libraries-columbus-metropolitan-library-insights/#, 3/18/2021.