How To Track Your Library’s Social Media Stats

Your library keeps reference stats, right? Your library has a gate count, correct? Why do you keep these statistics? The reason is because you want to measure how much your services are getting used.  The numbers you get back can be used for things like reevaluating your effectiveness or demonstrating your awesomeness to people who make money decisions.

Social media is no different. Your success needs to be measured just like anything else, so you can either improve what you’re doing or reveal that your efforts are paying off. Social media is a little difficult to measure, but there are still things you can track, such as fans and followers or interactions.

Tracking Twitter

Twitter Counter – The best tool I’ve found to easily track your Twitter follower count is Twitter Counter. It graphs your followers each day going back three months. You can track back even further if you pay for a Pro account. This is great for seeing is specific marketing initiatives are working. If you put up fliers and your follower count shoots up around the time you do so, there might be a relationship between the two.


TweetStatsTweetStats allows you to see your information about how you’re posting. It gives you information about the frequency of your posts, what times you most often post, and even what tools you use. It’s another helpful tool to understand how you’re using Twitter.


Tracking Facebook

Facebook makes it easier on their fan pages. They give you all the stats you can handle on their “Insights” page. They show you how many comments, wall posts, and “likes” you’re getting on your content, giving you a good understanding of how people are interacting with your page. They also measure your fans. They give you a graph over time and also a demographic breakdown by gender, age, or location.


When you look at these statistics over time a picture begins to emerge. You can examine weeks when you had a lot of interactions and see what sort of posts received the most attention. This will improve your post quality and ultimately help you develop a better relationship and understanding of your audience.

What other tracking tools do you use to understand the effectiveness of your social media efforts?


How To Grow Your Library’s Social Media Presence

Social Media Marketing

So you’ve already figured out good things to post to your social media of choice and you have great content up there. Now where is everybody? A friend asked me a couple weeks ago “How do you market your web presence? Basically – how do you gain fans and followers?” I’ve been thinking about that a lot myself lately, so I figured I would share the strategies that I came up with.

  • Link everywhere you can -  Have a link to your social media pages on your library homepage. If you’re on multiple social networks mention one on the other. Put links to them in your email signature. Links are good. Use them generously.
  • Print advertising – Post fliers around your library, community or school, especially next to computers (see above picture). You could even take out an ad in your local or school newspaper. There’s still a place for print.
  • Instruction sessions – When you’re in the classroom feel free to mention your social media presence to students. Let them know that you’re trying to make it as easy as possible to connect with the library. They just might appreciate it.
  • Talk to people – Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, so mention it to friends, people at the reference desk, and people in your community. If you tell two friends, and they tell two friends…
  • Build a contingent of friends – There are probably people already in your community who you are friends with on a social network. On Facebook you can “suggest a page to friends.” Ask people who are your friends to follow/fan the library. They want to help you out because they’re your friend, and they’re getting interesting content and conversation as a bonus.
  • Follow and be followed in return - This one is simply the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Find people in your community and start following them. Chances are, most of them will follow you back. I like this one a lot because the goal of social media is not simply to gain followers (that’s the goal of cults). Social media is about sharing, learning, conversations and giving.
  • Web Ads – I haven’t tried this one yet, but I hear that targeted ads on Facebook are pretty inexpensive and can be effective. Stanford library has utilized ads in the past and they may be the most popular college library Facebook page out there.
  • Give it time – Set small goals for yourself and meet them. Then set larger goals. This post is called “Grow Your Library’s Social Media Presence” not “Explode Your Library’s Social Media Presence.” That’s what it takes. It’s like a garden that needs nurturing. Give every user interaction proper attention. Eventually with care and diligence you’ll have a blossoming and fruitful social media presence.

Has anyone been trying other ways of promoting their social networks? Any great successes in getting the word out? I’d really love to hear about them.