In the coming months, OverDrive will be unveiling a brand new Community Outreach training with numerous tricks and tips for online marketing. The suggestions below will only scratch the surface of the possibilities social networking offers, which will be discussed in the training. Consider this a trailer of sorts…
BREAKING NEWS: Facebook and Twitter are pretty good places for people to go to communicate. OK, so maybe it’s not breaking news; however, they are being overlooked every day. The sites are more than just places for reconnecting with high school classmates. For libraries, these sites can be the No. 1 way to keep in contact with their patrons. Did you know that there are currently 800 million users on Facebook? 800 million! I’ll let that number sink in for a second before I continue…
Welcome back. Included in that massive number is both your current and prospective patrons. And the best thing about using social networks is that they are free to get started. If your library doesn’t have a marketing budget, that’s OK! You can still stay connected with your users 24/7 online.
Obviously the first step is to create an account if you haven’t done so already. For Facebook, create a Business Page instead of a personal account. This will enable you to use some advanced features down the road that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Just click “Create a Page” and choose Local Business or Place to set up your library account. Make sure your name is easy to locate by search. This goes for Twitter, too.
Once your account is set up (or if you already are) it’s crucial to realize that social networking sites don’t exist for you to talk to your patrons but rather to talk with them. This means that while it’s important to provide updates about new content and format additions, it’s also essential to get users involved. Instead of always stating what new titles are available, ask for suggestions about what authors they’d like to see more of. Offer poll questions and discussion boards to keep the conversation going. The more opportunities you give your patrons to get involved, the more opportunities you’ll have to attract more people to your page.
This is only the beginning. For additional ideas and features, be on the lookout for the new Community Outreach training coming soon or simply contact the two of us directly at email@example.com!
Melissa Work and Adam Sockel are marketing & outreach specialists at OverDrive.
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