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.

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