Since joining in April 2009, University of Texas Libraries has published 5,658 tweets and garnered a following of 1,903 twitter users. Cal State Northridge Oviatt Library has earned 2,556 likes on Facebook and uploaded 39 YouTube videos. Eighteen hours ago The University of Kansas Libraries posted a link to a throwback Thursday blog post featuring the Easter Bunny from the 1953 relay parade.
In 2013, LibraryScienceList.com evaluated 422 college and university library social media accounts and published an article of the 100 Most Social Media Friendly College & University Libraries. UT, Cal State Northridge, and the University of Kansas ranked first, second, and third respectively. In the grand scheme of the twitter-verse where a Kardashian selfie is worth 651K+ likes these numbers are a microscopic blip amidst the 500 million tweets sent out daily.
Burclaff and Johnson (2014) suggest that in order for a library to gain success upon adopting social media the library must remain dedicated to representing both its culture and value under a unified voice.
“To personify your library’s brand, consider what your library, if it was a person, would look like, talk about, wear, etc. This exercise may help you articulate your library’s culture, values, and purpose in a way that can be translated on social media.” (p. 368)
Kardashian and her ilk (and their well-compensated publicists) are experts at crafting luxury one Mercedes G-class Instagram at a time (MSRP @ $115,000+ – or a two-year salary for a full time librarian). Although libraries are pushing paperbacks instead of Prada, what additional steps can libraries take to ensure social media success while simultaneously establishing brand identity?
According to Potter’s Ten Golden Rules it is important to tweet multimedia (pictures, videos, slideshows), use hashtags— but don’t go overboard, and broadcast your twitter handle everywhere. These are only three of the ten suggestions, the rest of which can be read here. Shulman (2015) notes that it is important to analyze followers in order to tailor tweets — “an analysis of an account’s followers can provide valuable insight into the accounts that receive library information.” (p.179)
Further, Gunton and Davis (2012) suggest using twitter beyond the usual marketing tactics. Considering librarianship is a service oriented profession they propose that the spirit of customer service should extend beyond the reference desk. Would you ever consider tweeting a reference question to your library’s twitter account?
At the present moment Wayne State Library (@waynestatelib) has 662 twitter followers and 688 total tweets — nearly one tweet per follower! Sadly they did not make the Top 100 list mentioned earlier but nevertheless WSU can tweak their twitter to make the 2015 cut. What have been your experiences with libraries on twitter and other social media? Are you following WSU or your local public library?
Burclaff, N., & Johnson, C. (2014). Developing a social media strategy. College & Research Libraries News, 75(7), 366-369.
Gunton, L., Davis, K., (2012) “Beyond broadcasting: Customer service, community and information experience in the Twittersphere”, Reference Services Review, Vol. 40 Iss: 2, pp.224 – 227
Kardashian, K. (2015, March 31). Retrieved from https://instagram.com/kimkardashian/
Potter, N. (2013, August 27). 10 Golden Rules To Take Your Library’s Twitter Account to the Next Level. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/08/marketing/10-golden-rules-to-take-your-librarys-twitter-account-to-the-next-level/#_
Shulman, J. j., Yep, J., & Tomé, D. (2015). Leveraging the Power of a Twitter Network for Library Promotion. Journal Of Academic Librarianship, 41(2), 178-185.
Yep, J. j., & Shulman, J. j. (2014). Analyzing the library’s Twitter network. College & Research Libraries News, 75(4), 177-186.