Archive for the ‘ Social Media ’ Category

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.

Using Social Media in Your Library: Delegating Responsibilities

I apologize for the delay in posting.  I’m currently in the middle of moving, and things are a bit hectic right now.

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

Previously, we’ve discussed considering your audience and purpose and choosing a platform.  Today we’re going to talk about delegating responsibilities.  This is the time when you will decide who will be in charge of creating and maintaining your social media.

Delegating a specific person or people to maintain the social media is important to ensure that the media is updated regularly and any comments are answered.  There is nothing less useful to your social media plan the a platform that is left without updating for weeks or even months.

The person or people you choose to be in charge of your social media will depend on the audience, the type of media, and how often you will want to update.  Choose those in charge very carefully.  The person or people will need to be familiar with the platform and educated in any necessary technology, clear as to the purpose of the social media to ensure updates are appropriate, able to express themselves clearly and without error, and willing to do so without begrudging the task.

Once you have delegated this responsibility, it’s important to make sure the person or people have been adequately trained on how to update, when to update, and what is appropriate for updating.  Making a schedule and brainstorming ideas at this point can help the individuals get started and remain on task while they are becoming familiar with the platform.  It also might be a good idea to create a social media policy if you do not already have one.  Some examples are available here.

Now that you’ve chosen your platform, stay tuned for next time when we’ll discuss the Creation of the Media.

Using Social Media in Your Library: Choosing a Platform

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

Last time, we discussed audience and purpose.  Today we’re going to talk about platforms.  A platform is the social media service you will use.  Some examples include Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, or Vimeo. Each platform serves a different purpose and includes different pros and cons.

The first step to choosing your platform is to decide what type of social media you will be using.  Do you want a profile where you can friend people such as Facebook?  Do you want a blog – either traditional or microblogging?  Maybe you’d like to post videos or pictures.  Part of choosing the type of social media will relate back to your audience and purpose.  Each platform is more suited to a specific audience and for a specific use.

Next, you need to figure out a budget for your social media.  Will you be able to use a paid service or do you need a free one?  If you can pay, how much?  Remember, just because something is expensive does not mean it is better.  I’ve had great luck using many free services.  In fact, in some cases, I actually prefer the free offerings.

Once you’ve decided which type you’d like and your budget, you then need to research the various platforms available.  I’ve included a list here of a few examples for each.  This list is not exhaustive, however.  With a little searching of your own, you can find any platform to meet your needs.

Profiles:

Facebook
Google+
Myspace

 Blogging Services:

I recently created a LibGuide on libraries and blogging.  I listed several services there. 

MicroBlogging:

Twitter
Tumblr

Videos:

Vimeo
YouTube
Video Bam

Photos:

Flickr
Photobucket
Pinterest

Bookshelves:

Goodreads
Shelfari
LibraryThing

 

Now that you’ve chosen your platform, stay tuned for next time when we’ll discuss Delegating Responsibilities.

 

Using Social Media in Your Library: Consider Your Audience and Purpose

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

Today we’re going to talk about the issues of audience and purpose in social media.  This should be your first step when considering social media.  It might seem as if you should start by picking your platform, but I would argue that audience should be first.  Your audience determines your purpose, direction, and platform.    While a blog, Facebook page, or other platform can be a valuable asset to a library system, without specific focus they do little good and, in fact, can be detrimental.  We’ve all seen those blogs or profiles that seem to have very little purpose or direction.  Not only are those not very helpful to your audience, but they can make the library seem lacking in the necessary skills to keep up with the technological needs of patrons. In order to avoid this, you should carefully consider how you want to use your platform.

The first step is to ask yourself who you’re trying to reach.  Will your platform be directed towards your entire user community?  Or will it be more specific, such as a page just for the teen services or just for job seekers?  Which audience you choose will determine which platform you will use, as certain platforms are better directed at certain age or interest groups.  It will also determine the type of language and phrasing you use, your specific purpose, your frequency of updating, and many other facets of your use.  When deciding on your audience, also consider whether social media is the best way to reach them.  For some audiences (the homeless, for example) social media wouldn’t be appropriate.  For others (teens or college students), if would be one of the better ways.

After determining your audience, you must then decide on a purpose.  Will your platform contain information about programming or general library services?  Will it focus on book reviews?  Will it include resources?  Or, perhaps, all three?  Make sure that your purpose matches your audience.  If the audience you chose includes unemployed, job seeking adults, having a blog that reviews new fiction wouldn’t be very useful.  You also want a purpose that will be sustainable.  You want to be able to update your media in a fairly regular manner and continue to do so for some time.

Now that you’ve thought about Audience and Purpose, stay tuned for next time when we’ll discuss Choosing a Platform.