Five Ways to Use Instagram to Promote Your Public Library

Photo-sharing app Instagram made headlines in the spring when Facebook acquired it for $1 billion. Since then, it has continued to grow in popularity, and one of the reasons is its simplicity. There are just four steps for using this mobile app.

  1. Take a photo with your phone.
  2. Add a filter: For example, Inkwell to create a black and white photo, or 1977 to give it that old Polaroid feel.
  3. Add a caption.
  4. Share with your friends and networks.

Instagram creates some interesting opportunities in a world where visual storytelling is the most powerful form of marketing. Public libraries can use the app to tell the story about how they are helping people learn, get jobs, and start businesses.

Here are five ideas for using Instagram in marketing your library. Some of these ideas are borrowed from a Social Media Today blog post on the subject and tweaked for the library.

  1. Show the library at work. Take photos of whats happening at your library, including events and day-to-day activities. Share photos of job seekers using computers, the childrens librarian running a story time, or art in your latest exhibit.
  2. Get behind the scenes. Be sure to get some photos of your staff at work or in meetings. This creates a personal connection between your team and the community. Whats more, sharing photos of planning sessions provides a layer of transparency.
  3. Share with your other social networks. Connect Instagram with your other social accounts such as Facebook, Tumblr, or Flickr. This helps distribute your story more widely.
  4. Use Geo-tagging. Be sure to add your photo to your Photo Map. This will promote the location of your library with each photo you share. Who doesnt want more visitors?
  5. Tell a good story. Rather than focus on what is in your library, create a story around how the library impacts people in the community. One way to do that is to take a page from Starbucks, which uses Instagram to show what people do while drinking its coffee for example, at the beach.

Tell us in the comments below how youre using Instagram to promote your public library.

About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.