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Reference, Instruction, and Outreach (RIO): 03/2017 - Social Media in Libraries

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of library reference, instruction, and outreach.

Meeting Overview

Kate Moss from the College of Saint Rose Library facilitated a discussion use of social media in libraries. Discussion centered on some of the questions from a survey of NYLA members that Kate conducted and will be included in an upcoming issue of JLAMS.

Discussion focused on the following areas:

  • Social Media Platforms and Strategy Plans
    • Facebook vs. other social media platforms. Younger people are using Instagram, snapchat and twitter rather than Facebook.
    • Everyone agreed that it is necessary to have a written down plan or strategy for using social media. The public libraries have more concrete strategies than many of the academic libraries.
  • Use of Data and Ways to Capture Data
    • Administration needs to see quantitative data to determine that it is worth investing staff time.
    • Finding out how many people you are reaching is more important than the number of likes. How many of your users are taking advantage of library programs/services as a result of learning about the program on fb?
  • Use of Analytics and Other Tools
    • It is important to check out Facebook Insights and Facebook page manager to view when your users are on Facebook, audience demographics and keep track of the content that they are looking at. These tools will help libraries create more effective posts in the future and determine the best time to post.
    • Doing multiple posts a day is more effective at capturing the attention of your users
    • Use Hootsuite for posting to multiple social media sites simultaneously
    • Calendar?? Post ahead of time…schedule posts out a week…
  • Tips for Engaging Users
    • Libraries are using Facebook Live to live stream the programs that are happening in the library
    • Some academic libraries use FB messaging for reference
    • Public libraries are more successful at outreach when they use social media to connect with what is going on in the community
  • Barriers
    • Some libraries have institutional restrictions to using social media. In particular, hospital libraries have restrictions and academic libraries need to work with communication officers from outside the library
    • The lack of staff time was a common theme among both public and academic libraries. One idea was to designate a work study student to do posting. 
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