This little acrostic perfectly sums up the key to ALL social media managing. If you use this as your mantra and teach it to the library employs I guarantee that people will be way less likely to unfollow/friend you because you’re wasting their precious social media time. Because that’s what it comes down to these days. People spend a lot of time on social media now and because of that they don’t want it gummed up with random comments about what someone ate for breakfast (although if you are interested in that, check out foodspotting.com), or whether a dog just bit you. This kind of social media sharing is reserved for people, and believe me, their friends and family probably don’t want to hear about that crap either.
A business, even a library, that is trying to leverage social media to increase awareness of their mission should always keep these principles in mind when posting things to share. That old adage, think before you speak also applies here. So THINK before you post, tweet, blog, share, etc. I’ll go through each letter and elaborate on these best social media practices to keep in mind.
T – is it True? Make sure if you post something about news whether its the town hall or a new book just released, make sure you have a good source. Because if you post something untrue on social media, people will find out and they will rip you a new one. Perfect example was the recent Ashton Kutcher debacle where he tweeted about the football couch who got fired for awful reason but he didn’t really know the whole situation. He got so much backlash for his stupidity that he had to make a public statement about it. My mom always told me growing up, once you put something on the internet, it’s nearly impossible to take it back.
H – is it Helpful? If you’re a business, your followers want something out of the deal. Coupons, information, etc. So posting things that are helpful to your audience will keep them coming back every time. People aren’t going to follow you just for the hell of it unless you’re their personal friend or a celebrity. So give your patrons special information, keep them up to date with the community or the publishing world, etc.
I – is it Inspiring? I would also say Interesting could work here too. But the basic idea is the make what you post more likely to become viral. Inspiring stories are highly shareable, especially if it relates to someone’s local community or their passion for reading. Because you don’t just want to keep people following you, you want them to then turn around and share your content with other people which will grow your online presence in turn leading to more patrons and exposure.
N – is it Necessary? This is where those random, I just ate an apple or I just went to the bathroom, kinds of content fall. Make sure you’re not going crazy and sharing things that aren’t necessary because people will unfriend/follow/whatever you in a heart beat! Because libraries aren’t trying like crazy to get more money, they can be more leisurely about their social media content and more choosy about what they do post. That will be the key to keeping your social media audience around.
K – is it Kind? I think this one is pretty self-explanatory and librarians tend to be a pretty moral bunch. But especially because you’re representing whatever your host organization is (either a university, a local community, etc.) you want to make sure nothing could reflect badly back on your brand. That’s what social media marketing is all about really, creating awareness of your brand and sharing it with the world.
Whether your brand is a product, a person, or a library, if you THINK before you share on social media, then you too can become a social media guru!
Does anybody have other suggestions for tips to keep in mind if your library is using social media? Whether its how to keep followers or gain a wider audience, please share your thoughts!