Social Media for the WIN! (Reflective Blogging #3)

I was immediately inspired when I saw the Invercargill Library of New Zealand’s meme titled “Keeping Up with the Librarian’s”. Invercargill Library has succeeded in exploiting social media to bring patrons to the library social media site. I love the idea of leaning into social media in this way and using pop culture to relate to patrons and for outreach. I looked at the Invercargill’s presentation on how to set up a true social media strategy and I really wanted to be sitting in the audience hearing how this library harnessed social media. The Invercargill Library embraced social media, used data to drive future decisions, and developed a whole range of media skills that opens up new relevant programming opportunities.

Embrace change in a way that makes sense for the library. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, peardeck, google classroom – the list of new technologies can be frankly overwhelming and it is easy to feel pressure to learn all of these new technologies. But, what is so important is to take a step back and identify where new technologies can be used to further the library’s mission. 

Start with strategy. Libraries are just like any other business in that the library should have clear business goals and be working strategically to meet those goals. The Invercargill presentation showed how they used creative postings along with the metrics from those postings to drive their decisions. The librarians were not just throwing things out into the dark of social media but instead used the data on how many patrons their post had reached to alter their choices over time.

A side benefit I envision the Invercargill Library achieved was that in actively using social media, encountering problems, and working to find solutions the staff learned a whole new set of media related skills. These are skills that the patrons of the library would find super relevant and the staff now have an entirely new programming opportunity. 

All images from the Invercargill Library presentation.

  1. Yes, @mettlsa! I saw this image on Twitter and loved it. They clearly have fun with ways to advertise libraries and grab attention. I particularly liked what you said here: “But, what is so important is to take a step back and identify where new technologies can be used to further the library‚Äôs mission.”

    If they only do these fun posts without any firm strategy for what to do for their patrons once they get their attention, it doesn’t help the library. It must all link to a strategy of connecting with patrons and finding ways to help them through the library.

  2. When I first came across the Keeping up with the Librarians campaign, I was really taken with it. I want to work with those people!!! They know how to have fun, but they also know how to be professional and use marketing and social media to their advantage. Thank you for your post, @mettlsa, and also for your comment, @jrblibrarian, which bring home to me the fact that slick use of social media isn’t an end in itself. I’m encouraged to see that Invercargill values its talented library staff, and isn’t afraid to shine a spotlight on them. While some library staff may not feel comfortable letting library users know their names, I agree with @michael that it’s a real shame when that happens. We lose the opportunity to build meaningful (while still professional) relationships with library users, which would likely lead us to a better understanding of user needs.

    1. @kayzdaze2020. You bring up a very good point that I need to think about more – how to engage with patrons over social media in a professional way so that our personal lives and opinions do not become the topic. I do think as we have seen social media grow we have seen many bloggers and influencers put everything out there and then pull back. It is such a tight rope to walk between making things personal and also maintaining that privacy.

      I will have to look for a guide – I am sure someone has written about it.

  3. OMG, this strategy is brilliant…just awesome! What a way to try to reach out to patrons using something their familiar with. I also like their strategy for planning, especially the constant analyzing approach. Thanks for sharing!

  4. It is a tight rope. I am still of the mind that librarians should share their names but I think I’ve pulled back about about how much we put out there.

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