The value of Twitter for marketing – and promoting the image of librarians

One of my colleagues (thanks Kirsty!) has pointed out an article on the value of Twitter. It includes this useful quote:

From a personal brand building and networking standpoint, the key is not to look at microblogging as individual posts, but think of the overall impressions and value that can be created over time. Each 140 character or less entry serves as a seed of an idea for an overall objective…

Rather, consider an overall objective and keep that in mind as decisions are made about what kinds of personal info, links to useful resources and promotional items are posted. Over time, you’ll build a footprint and identify within the Twitter community. Building that footprint will be far more effective if you keep overall objectives in mind, rather than random information. Unless of course, your objective is to build an identity as a scatterbox.

I’ve pretty much decided to use Twitter as part of my professional identity – although I may post some personal comments and links, my primary use of Twitter is to keep in touch with things happening in the library and wider information world. The point in the quote above about thinking of the “overall impressions and value that can be created over time” struck a cord with me. A while back when I had protected my updates (as I tried to figure out the whole online identity thing) I actually declined a couple of Auckland businesses – not being interested in their business (for locality reasons), and wondering why on earth I would be of interest to them. But it occurred to me – some of the most successful posts I’ve had on this blog have been from people looking for trend information. If a couple of businesses in Auckland want to follow me then maybe they might come across some useful trend information from me, and maybe just maybe they might realise librarians are useful people to follow 🙂 Wishful thinking- maybe? But for a profession obsessed with how we appear to others, really thinking about the impressions our tweets give could be a useful strategy.

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Two interesting books to look out for

Spotted while visiting blogs recently  …

Marketing Today’s Academic Library by Brian Mathews, which promises that as its guiding principle the idea that marketing the academic library “should focus on the lifestyle of the user, showcasing how the library fits within the daily life of the student.”

And one revisiting that ongoing favourite obsession of our profession – how we come across to others –  You Don’t Look Like a Librarian Shattering Stereotypes and Creating Positive New Images in the Internet Age by Ruth Neale.