Libraries, the universe and everything

Social media for everyone and every library at #SLA2014
July 26, 2014, 11:03
Filed under: Events | Tags: ,

Cheryl Yanek gave a lively and engaging presentation which ranged across a wide variety of social media platforms, looking at their demographics and giving a few pointers about how to make the best use of each of them. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it all – her slides are available at – but rather just record a few of the over-arching points which she made at the outset.

Using multiple social media platforms enables you to get your message out to all kinds of different people, and also ensures a degree of continuity if one platform fails. However, you need to be aware of the audience and tone of each platform, and adjust your message accordingly. Strategic exploration is required – just because a platform exists doesn’t mean you should be there too. Check out what your competitors are doing, and engage with influencers in your field.

It’s worth taking time to explore ongoing conversations – check out existing hashtags to see if a topic is already being discussed before diving in and trying to create momentum for something entirely new, it’s more effective to contribute to something people are already engaged with rather than reinventing the wheel.

People notice posts even if they don’t like, share or comment on them. Ideally you’re aiming to create a community, and engage in an authentic relationship with it – can be a lot of work but potentially worth it, if you’re doing so in the right place. Remember to listen too – aim for conversation, not just transmitting.

Be funny, plan to fail, don’t be afraid to take risks as long as you learn from them. Be controversial, pick a side and stick with it – annoying people is a form of engagement too (though obviously keep it ethical & based on your principles, don’t just pick fights!). Pay attention to your critics, be mindful of what they say. Keep an eye on yelp and wikipedia too. Embed pictures. Consider using different languages &/or scheduling to engage in different timezones.

Remember the mantra “what gets measured gets done” – capture and analyze data to build insights for improving what you’re doing. Things like topics, sentiments and tone should be considered as well as more numerical data (number of hits/follows/likes/RTs/whatever).

Involve your team – not only good for sharing workload, different voices and perspectives can bring vitality to a corporate account, as long as agreed tone is maintained. You may need to experiment personally first to put together business case for convincing others, especially senior managers/leadership.


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[…] Social media for everyone and every library: how to use new apps and tools in innovative ways Cheryl […]


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