Social Medium: Communicating from the Other Side (Of the Screen)

Picture accessed from: Illustration by Eric Rebosio/The Collegian
Picture accessed from:
Illustration by Eric Rebosio/The Collegian

Social media has invaded our world in the form of Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, Snapchat…the list goes on and on. While first designed for a community of individual users, many social media platforms have been embraced by businesses and organizations as an additional way to engage internet users and build a base of online consumers. This holds true for libraries, many of whom now rely on the services to transmit important messages to patrons.

As part of the social media content team in my library system, I am always looking for ways to make my posts more exciting, more interesting…and more widely read. I was given the opportunity last Friday to attend a one day training session on social media and the library. I went into the training with hopes of finding better ways of posting material, discovering the target audiences for different platforms, and of learning how to capture that ever elusive group of non-library users. I wasn’t able to fulfill all of my wishes for the class, but I did learn some tips and tricks which I’ve listed here for quick and easy reading. (I hope!)

(Some of these may seem somewhat straight forward, so you have any successful tips or tricks I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to comment below!)

*Original content posts will only get you so far in the social media world. Social media is all about sharing and connecting, so in order to build a successful and visible page you must share content created by other users. A successful social media page runs on social capital. Each time you ask something of your users you draw from your ‘social resources.’ In order to refund your supply you must share their work, comment, interact, and engage with users!

*Don’t just market materials on your page.  My favorite post I wrote, and the most well received, was an ironic conversation I overheard at the Info desk:

‘Librarian 1:  It is so cold out there!  I couldn’t believe it!
Librarian 2: I know! The weatherman was saying it felt like it was in the teens with the wind chill!
Librarian 1 (To patron): Hello, how can we help you today?
Patron: Could you help me in the lab? My computer is frozen.’

*Many times libraries use social media to advertise their own programming and information about resources. Be sure to give a reason as to ‘why’ that program or resource is important to the person on the other side of the screen. Every. Single. Time. Simply posting something like, “The best books will be discussed tonight at the library! Join us for our Monthly Book Club program at 8:00!” doesn’t tell the person very much at all as to why they would want to journey out at night and is not engaging. Motivate and inspire action with your posts! The ‘why’ is vital!

*A post that has multiple pictures is more likely to attract a wider audience and to get more shares and likes than a post with no pictures or only one image. This is especially true for Facebook users.

*The ‘best times’ for posting to different platforms. (Please note these change on a rather frequent basis.)

Facebook: Weekdays 6-8 am and 2-5pm.
Pinterest: Weekdays 2-4 pm and weekends.
Blogs: Morning posts get more views.
Instagram: 7-9 am, 11-2 pm, 5-7 pm.

Sharing on social platforms is currently at its highest levels on Thursdays…for whatever reason!

*Always respond as quickly as possible. 24 hours is the absolute longest a comment should go without a response.

*Be aware of what your competition is doing. (And know that everyone has competition) Follow them! 🙂

*Be creative with your posts…your audience will thank you. Don’t be so afraid of mistakes that your posts are always strictly factual.

I hope I have been able to share something new here with you. I would really like to hear your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and social media successes! After all, social media is all about sharing and community! 🙂