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Seven More Things Libraries Should Tweet

I got some good feedback on post my a couple months ago called Six Things Libraries Should Tweet, and I think it helped a lot of people. I haven’t stopped thinking about that topic though. It’s difficult to come up with fresh things to tweet everyday, as I’ve found posting to our library Twitter account. But I’ve learned a lot in the past few months, and I figured I’d share seven more things libraries should tweet:

  • Pictures – Posts can get stale if all you are giving your audience is text or links to more text. Set up an account through a Twitter enabled photo-sharing service like TwitPic or Yfrog. Services like these allow you to easily upload photos from anywhere and share them to your library’s Twitter account.
  • Retweet other people’s stuff – An easy way to make friends is to promote content that other folks are sharing. Perhaps one of your friends just shared an interesting fact or video or article. By retweeting that piece of content you’re complimenting the friend that shared it because it shows them that you think they share good things. You’re also passing on interesting information to your followers. Retweeting is win-win and really easy to do.
  • Community Info – Going along with retweeting, you can also pass along information of significance to your community. When there are events going on on campus, even if they have nothing to do with the library, I’ll post about them. Libraries are community centers and central hubs. It’s only fitting that you share information of interest to your community.
  • Encouragement – People are often trying to accomplish something at your library. Let them know that you’re on their side and ready to help. It’s important to include the personal touch when you’re tweeting.

project

goodluck

  • Announcements – Keep your followers informed of anything that comes up. If your website crashes, post a quick tweet about it letting people know you’re aware of the problem and working on it. Snowstorm? Alert people of sudden library closings. Twitter is where people go for real-time information. Make sure that they can get it.
  • Links to cool library content – You’re doing other cool things besides Twitter, right? Maybe you have an awesome Flickr stream, or perhaps you just shot a really fun video about ninjas and laptop lending. Twitter is a great way to link to and promote the other content that your library is creating.
  • Respond to criticism – I can’t stress the importance of this one enough. People are saying things about your library whether you like it or not. If they’re talking about the library online, you should definitely be addressing their concerns in a positive manner. You have power online to influence conversations about your library, and the worst thing you can do is ignore people.

Figuring out the problem of what to post as a library is easier if you think about what interests you as a consumer of social media. What kind of tweets do you read or click through? What are interesting tweets? Not all of your tweets have to be related to the library. The measure of your tweets should be, “Is this interesting or useful to my specific community?” If you think it would be, then post away.

Are there other thoughts? I’m always trying to come up with good ideas. Tell me about some of your favorite library tweets.

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Six Things Libraries Should Tweet

This is a post in response to David Lee King’s post on How Not to Tweet. He correctly pointed out some things you shouldn’t do. He also said you should think about the big picture like “What do you want to get out of it?” But people often wonder, what sort of things should our library tweet about? Here’s a list:

  • Library events – Let people know what’s going on. Having a movie night in the library? Let people know. Having a chili cookoff? Get the word out!
  • Links to articles, videos, etc. – If you come across web content that would be relevant or helpful to your patrons, tweet it. You can even tweet things marginally related if you think your patrons would respond favorably. Twitter is great for sending links. And don’t forget to use a link shortener like bit.ly or tinyurl.
  • Solicit feedback – Twitter is made for conversations, so feel free to ask questions of your followers. Ask things that you actually want to know about and that you are prepared to act upon though. Don’t ask, “should the library stay open until midnight?” unless you’re prepared to do something with their responses.
  • New additions to your collection - Got some new books? Added a database recently? Tweet it up! People might not know about your additions unless you tell them. Twitter can be helpful for informing patrons about new resources.
  • Marketing - get the word out about how great your library is! Libraries and librarians do some pretty awesome stuff, but people don’t always see it. Let people know you just created a new tutorial or that you had over 150,000 visits last year. Don’t worry about tooting your own horn a little bit, just not all the time.
  • Answer questions - in the example below I noticed someone was working on a paper and simply sent them a link, you’d be surprised how powerful that can be.

tweet

Don’t forget to be human and be social. Being human means not only sending out the same links to events or new books over and over, but sending out fun things like librarians dancing to Thriller. Don’t be an automaton. And being social means having conversations with patrons. Answer @replies, ask questions, socialize. Don’t simply broadcast like you have a megaphone. It is social networking after all.

This list is by no means comprehensive, just some ideas to get people thinking. Please leave any other ideas you have in the comments.