Archive for October, 2012

Using Social Media in Your Library: Evaluation and Maintenance

For previous posts on Using Social Media in Your Library see this directory.

You’ve now gone through the steps of making your social media a reality, but you aren’t quite done.   To make sure your social media is as effective, you will periodically need to engage in evaluation.  How often you do so depends on your particular needs, but it’s best to do so at least once a year.  There are many ways to do so, depending on the type of platform you chose, but a few approaches will work across the board.

The first and most important is to listen to your followers.  Check both their expressed wishes (complaints about the site, requests for certain features, etc.) and the information you can gain from their interactions.  If a particular type of post is garnering more comments than others, consider why that is and try to implement that information into your other posts.  You can even go so far as to creating  a small survey to evaluate the media.  Ask followers what they like and dislike and for suggestions.  It never hurts to give a voice to those you are trying to reach.

Review the the cost versus the return.  Consider how much money, time, and effort you are putting into the media and whether the results are worth it.  For example, if you are paying a great deal to host your own blog, but that blog is receiving very few hits, it might be time to consider migrating to a free site until your follower count is up.  Social media is a wonderful addition to your organization, but only if you are receiving positive results from your output.

Review your social media policy to make sure it still fits in with your organizations goals and community needs.  The needs of communities and the libraries that serve them are fluid; the social media policy should reflect that. After the policy has been reviewed,  the type and frequency of the posts you are making should also be assessed in regards to the policy.

After the review and evaluation has been conducted, you can make any necessary changes in your media and plan.  This will give you the best opportunity to ensure your social media is as possible until the next evaluation.

This concludes this series on Using Social Media in Your Library.  Thank you for following along!

Using Social Media in Your Library: Creation of the Media

For previous posts on Using Social Media in Your Library see this directory.

We’ve reached the part in the process where you finally get to create the social media. Whether you will be doing the creation yourself or outsourcing to a design professional, here is the part where you get to have a little fun.   You’ve already chosen your platform, so now you will design the look of the site. Depending on what platform you chose, you may have quite  a bit or very little control over the details.  If you are using a blog, you could potentially create a layout completely from scratch.  On the other hand, if you are using a video channel, you might only have control over a color scheme or background image.

Some knowledge of HTML or CSS is helpful at this point, though not necessarily mandatory.   For example, the blog site Blogger has premade templates that even individuals with little or no design experience can customize.  However, for those who would be designing the media themselves and like to learn more about HTML and CSS, there are a few great places on the web to do so:

20 Websites to Help You Master CSS
CSS Basics
30 Days to Learn HTML & CSS
HTML.net Tutorials
Learn HTML in 20 Minutes
Learning HTML

When creating the design, there are a few things to consider. Do you want it to match or coordinate with your current website?  In my previous work in graphic design, I always tended to recommend coordinating all marketing materials to maintain a cohesive brand; however, this isn’t an absolute necessity if you would prefer a different look. What age range will be targeted by the media? For a younger audience, brighter colors and bold graphics are attractive. For older individuals, a more mature or sedate color pallet might be more appropriate.  What is the subject matter or nature of the media? You can match your design to your subject matter.  A site discussing library technology might look more utilitarian, while a page for your genealogy department could have a more vintage look.  Be sure to not get too carried away when designing the site.  Flashy graphics and fun fonts might seem like a great idea, but overuse can make your site overwhelming to view or make it seem dated.  You want the design to complement the content, not distract from it.

Creation of the media also includes creation of the content.  Before launching the site to the public, you’ll want to have some content already created.  At a minimum, this should include an introductory post or video, an about section, and a contact area (generally linking back to the main library site).  A few other posts or videos would be a great idea, if you have them created.

Next time, we’ll discuss the final step, Maintenance and Evaluation.