Our blog has discussed various aspects of social media marketing in a library context. We’ve covered different platforms and highlighted some real-life examples; we’ve explored the ways in which a library is both similar and dissimilar to a business; we’ve discussed some of the potential drawbacks of using social media; and we’ve examined different ways that libraries can provide interactive library activities in a social networking environment. And now we want to know what you think after reading our posts: what’s the value of social media in a library setting? Everything requires resources and libraries have to make choices about where to expend them. Do you think that a library should make sacrifices in other areas in order to free up the resources for a social networking strategy? And if so, what areas should they make those sacrifices in? We hope you’ll take a moment to fill out our poll. And thanks for reading!


5 responses »

  1. Connie Harrison says:

    Social networking is a popularity contest as far as I’m concerned, but still a very useful marketing communication tool that can’t be ignored. For a business or non-profit organization, social networking is simply a cost-effective way of reaching endusers, benefactors, donors and potential patrons/customers. It’s no different than having a print advertising relationship in news or magazine, except that the results can be measured nearly in real time as far as user activity and it’s far less expensive.

    The best results typically come from posts that contain an object such as a photo, video, link or other interactive that ask a question or create an entry to a content. Engagement is important and to do so regularly also gives a better reach. Anybody including libraries using Facebook can use it to display and advertise community events, book reading club, training, etc. My library doesn’t actively participate in social media, but I wish it would so I could identify the newest additions of eBooks or new arrivals.

    What makes social networking so powerful is that more users especially the youth, are reached via mobile communications than wired computers joined to the internet. Casual activity on mobile phones makes social networking vital; that became apparent during the 2008 Presidential election in which Obama generated more “groundswell support of …the Facebook generation”. (http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2008/11/19/barack-obama-and-the-facebook-election).

    • herrinan says:

      Hey Connie, thanks for your comments! I am surprised to hear that your library does not participate in social media. In my research for this blog, I found that it is very popular among libraries: most are on multiple social media platforms. Is there any particular reason your library chooses not to participate in this?

      • Connie Harrison says:

        My public library supports a small rural town of 7k people and it’s losing population as a local manufacturing plant closed. My guess is that they have little of the right resources to even maintain their website notwithstanding create social media strategy. My library does connect me to other local libraries in the region who do have social media presence though.

    • Stephanie says:

      What makes social networking so powerful is that more users especially the youth, are reached via mobile communications than wired computers joined to the internet.

      Great point, Connie, and this will only be more relevant as mobile devices become more widespread (it won’t be long before more people are accessing the internet via a mobile device than via a desktop, given the growth rates of both markets).

      And I definitely agree that social media a tool like any other and that there’s really very little reason not to use it these days. I think caution is warranted for many of the reasons Anne touched on in her posts, but refusing to use it altogether is just shooting yourself in the foot.

  2. Richard A. says:

    I live in a small town myself which has suffered from the loss of a major factory. It is interesting to see the library continue to struggle against the obvious economic situation. Yet, it seems to be doing well. I feel that libraries should have a clear list of services they should not sacrifice ever. What belongs on that list could be debated, but I think that too often organizations respond to challenges by watering down all of their services, rather than focusing on a few.
    This is a great article that examines that same question in regards to special libraries, which I think might have even less flexibility than small public libraries:

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