Social media can be an effective tool for building and engaging a community. By following the five principles of social media optimization, your library can become an active voice in a thriving community.
Create shareable content
Creating meaningful web content to share on social media can lead to increased website traffic and community growth. Shareable web content is defined by two key characteristics: it is published to the web at a unique URL and it is relevant to the community. Your library has likely published many forms of shareable content already, including items from your digital collection, blog posts, institutional repository items, email newsletters, videos, or website pages. staff directory.
We suggest you take inspiration from large national libraries, as they often have strong digital content that lends itself well to sharing. For example, the New York Public Library Public domain collection contains more than 180,000 digital objects and is free to access, share and reuse via social networks.
Make sharing easy
Add social media links to your web pages so that users can easily share library content with others. These links usually consist of a small icon associated with the platform. When clicked, the platform opens with pre-populated content that the user can post. These shares should include the name of your organization’s social media account, a title for the content, and a simple URL. Each social network manages the shared content in a different way. You can watch Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterestdeveloper sites for advice on customizing these buttons.
Rewarding engagement involves actively listening to your community on social media and recognizing users who interact with your library and its resources. For example, you can discover library content shared by users, such as digitized historical photographs, through Twitter Analysis. This gives you the ability to like the post, comment, and share it with your Twitter followers. By regularly monitoring crawls and responding to posts, you strengthen connections with users and show that your library is listening.
Add links to your web pages so that users can easily share library content with others.
Libraries can be the best promoters of their own materials and services by following an intentional and well-planned sharing approach. Geolocation is a useful way to promote library-related activities wherever they occur. Your library can geotag any photo it posts to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. This will provide plenty of opportunities for creativity by gamifying geolocations through geocaches or recordings, or asking users to share location-specific images related to library promotions. Anyone searching for this promoted geotag will get a broad overview of the library’s activities, and the library can identify other publications in the same location to reshare as appropriate.
Measure use, encourage reuse
You can apply web analytics along with user feedback to assess your networking activity, with success measured by community growth, community engagement, and connectivity. To measure community growth, you can record how many members like or follow you on each social network at the start of each month. You can then use this data to calculate the percentage change over time. Focus groups and online surveys are a good way to gauge connectivity, and analytics available through Google, Facebook, and Twitter are useful for measuring engagement. This data can be used to inform your social media strategy. You can also cultivate a culture of sharing by posting content marked for reuse with a Creative Commons license, as well as through interactive web apps and content promotions.
Social media optimization provides a flexible framework for creating and sharing content through social media. By following these five principles, you can build an engaged community of library users and connect those users with your collections, departments, and staff.