If you have any involvement with social media in your library, be sure to check out Nancy Dowd’s post Social Media: Libraries are posting, but is anyone listening?
Some of the points that resonated with me:
1. The importance of having a plan “Without direction, social media content creators can be at risk of working in silos without any strategy to communicate their brand, connect to services, or drive people to the library or its website”
2. Think visually and mix in a little fun with “real” content
3. When it comes to who looks after social media “select people with the right skill set, then provide them with a framework of principles and goals, then let them have fun”
At the moment I am reading the excellent Bite-sized marketing: realistic solutions for the overworked librarian by Nancy Dowd, Mary Evangeliste and Jonathan Silberman. The book’s focus is on word-of-mouth-marketing and it is perfect for dipping in and out of.
Do you know anyone who needs to move on from the idea that marketing is some sort of grubby commercial activity? Ask them to consider this:
Marketing traditionally has been thought of a deceitful or overly corporate, but in actuality it is about communicating your values to your customers. Marketing for libraries is a powerful way for libraries to accomplish our goals and stay relevant. In her phenomenal book Robin Hood Marketing: How to steal corporate savvy to sell just causes, Katya Andersen says: “There is no nobility in preaching to an audience of one. Those of us working for the public good have an ethical responsibility to be effective and efficient in reaching as many people as possible.” As Andersen points out so eloquently, we have to see marketing as an ethical responsibility. If we know that the services and resources that we provide for people make their lives better, we can step away from our commercialized view of marketing and move on to creating marketing programs that we can be proud of and fully invest ourselves in.
There’s another library marketing book in the pipeline. Nancy Dowd is currently working on a book that seeks to bridge the gap between marketing theory and how librarians put in into practice. As she says (the bold text is my emphasis):
Marketing is still viewed by many libraries as an afterthought. Many departments purpose is to create posters and write press releases rather than help a library know their customers and help to create relevant programs, products and services.
Kathy [Dempsey] began an important conversation in her book, The Accidental Marketer, when she outlined and defined each step of true marketing (see image here). Mary Evangeliste, Jonathan Silberman and I wrote our book about ways you could break those steps into Bite-Sized pieces. But even with those two books on the shelves, there is still a disconnect between theory and reality.
Nancy is seeking contributions to make the book as relevant as possible to “enact the changes needed for libraries to take advantage of marketing and help them make the changes needed that will position them as essential organizations to fund”.
You can read more about her ideas for the book and how you can contribute over at The M World – Marketing Libraries blog.