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.


Advertising Library Services

Being a librarian, you need to wear a number of different hats. For the IM reference service we have now implemented I needed to do some promotion. I came up with a few advertising ideas including: flyers posted where the students are (i.e. dorms, commons), bookmarks with the URL on them, and screen savers or backgrounds on the library computers promoting the service. The web services librarian and I teamed up on designing the logo:


Advertising takes a lot of thought beforehand in order for your ads to be successful. Here are a few tips that I learned while I was creating an advertising campaign:

  • Keep it simple (people have little time to read a bunch of text)
  • Make it catchy (have something that gets the intended audiences attention)
  • Keep your audience in mind
  • Advertise where your audience is going to be (e.g. for students, put ads in common areas)

A good place to begin online with library advertising is Library Media and PR. They have a number of free logos and excellent tips to get your message out there.