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Finding Time to Promote Your Library Through Social Media

During our social media webinar, Facebook, Twitter and Beyond: Marketing Libraries through Social Media, we asked our public library attendees to tell us what scared them the most about using Twitter.

Surprisingly, it was not about making mistakes (10%) or responding to negative feedback (5%), but about finding the time. Of the 83 percent of attendees who responded, 74 percent said that lack of time to commit kept them away from Twitter.

This is a common theme across all social media. While its widely touted as a way to create free marketing, there is a cost. Its a time-intensive activity, and many public library directors already have full plates.

Yet, social media is evolving as one of the most important pieces of the marketing pie. Its increasingly the way people of all ages interact with government, brands, and each other, and there are long-term benefits for relationship-building and advocacy.

The good news is that there are strategies and tactics that you can use to promote your library through social media, and still have time to get through all your other responsibilities.

Here are eight ways you can succeed in social media and find the time:

  1. Plan ahead with an editorial calendar. This will allow you to write posts and updates in advance.
  2. Jot ideas for blog posts down as you get them. As someone mentioned on this weeks Twitter chat, #workschat, making notes in tools like Evernote will keep bloggers block at bay.
  3. Delegate. Find staff members who are enthused about social media and already using it. You can divide and conquer social media outreach by assigning one staff member to each channel: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.
  4. Recruit regular contributors for your blog. Board members, book club leaders, the mayor, local bloggers and others are often looking for ways to promote their own brands. Ask them to write a monthly blog post on a topic relevant to the library.
  5. Curate content from other sources. This works well with Twitter and LinkedIn. Simply set up lists on topics relevant to the library and share items that your audience would be interested in: book reviews, author pages, historical information, job tips, etc.
  6. Schedule a half hour a day to set up your posts. Tools like Hootsuite make it easy to schedule days in advance on multiple platforms.
  7. Dont forget multimedia. Sometimes its faster to take a photo or create a short video than write several hundred words of text. And studies show that people share photos and videos more often.
  8. Use a blogging platform like Tumblr, which is designed for quick updates and allows you to easily share quotes and links from around the Web. Its also one of the easiest platforms for blogging on the go from any mobile device.

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