Twitter and Facebook are two of the most popular social networking sites out there; they can be used separately or together to reach out to a vast population. Many businesses use both sites to connect with their customers; the same can be done by libraries to connect with patrons.
Tweet Your Heart Out
Twitter posts can only be 140 characters long; once you get the hang of it, though, a lot can be said in 140 characters. Following other Twitter users, whether patrons, other libraries, local businesses or news stations, keeps you informed of what’s going on around you so you can retweet to the community.
Here is a list of some of the most popular library Twitter pages, according to the website techsoupforlibraries.org. I also posted a widget on the side of this blog to one of my favorite Twitter feeds, Nat History Whale, the whale that’s hanging inside the Natural History Museum in New York City. I really love this page because it’s written from the perspective of the whale and is funny and creative.
The Power of Facebook
Most people know about Facebook; it currently has more than 845 million users, at least according to Wikipedia. It’s used by businesses, charities, non-profit organizations, for social interaction, networking purposes…Facebook does it all, and it’s time your library got in on the action!
You can post contests, videos, book readings, current events, favorite quotes and more on Facebook. You can ask a question of the day, or ask what people are dying to read or are currently reading; broadcast a live event or show footage of a past event that’s coming up again soon. You can link to your Twitter account, your online card catalog, your YouTube account, and your website from Facebook. It really does do it all and can be a great tool for promoting your library and engaging your users if done correctly. The widget I posted features the Kansas City Public Library, which does a great job of getting involvement from its users.
Again, you must remember to stay active and keep posting and responding to other people’s comments. Be witty and real, because that’s what going to get your users to stay interested in your page.
The Hidden Powers of Goodreads and Pinterest
Goodreads and Pinterest are two websites that aren’t as well known as those mentioned above, but they definitely deserve a spot on this blog because of the ways they can help spark interest from patrons and draw new members in.
Goodreads is, honestly, a book lover’s dream. This website was made for sharing, comparing, and reviewing books, whether from friends or strangers. You can create a page for your library and provide different bookshelves for people to browse through. The bookshelf possibilities are endless; you can have shelves for new books available in the library, genres such as mysteries, shelves created by different staff members, popular children’s books, graphic novels…the list is endless! You can write reviews on the books on your shelf and patrons can share books of their own once they become your friend on the site. I’ve included a widget of my personal Goodreads page as an example of how it can look on your site, whether a Facebook page or any other website you may have.
Pinterest is basically an online bulletin board that can be used to share various interests with people all over the world, from home decorating ideas to weddings to favorite dessert recipes. Libraries can use Pinterest to share their interests with patrons, as well as other libraries. Once a board is created people can comment on different pictures that are posted and can even edit your board if you choose to allow it. This site can be linked to both a Facebook and Twitter account, or can be used on its own. The blog youngupstarts.com posted a list of 20 ways libraries can use Pinterest, both for promotion and to encourage interaction from users. Check out the post, available here, for great ideas on how to connect with your users.