Social media can be a powerful tool for libraries when it comes to marketing their establishment. From connecting with their communities to promoting their services, social media gives librarians a unique opportunity to connect with their visitors directly. Building a presence online can help build your library’s brand and how people perceive your space even before they visit.
Before we get started, it’s important to choose the social media platforms that are most relevant to your library and your community. Some popular platforms for libraries include Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and yes, even TikTok. Each platform has its own unique features and audience, so it’s worth taking the time to consider which ones will be the most effective for your needs.
In this blog, we’ll show you 4 ways that librarians can use social media to stay connected with their visitors and, in turn, build more readers in your space.
1. Update and Inform Library Patrons with Social Posts:
One of the main benefits of social media for libraries is that it allows you to share updates, information, and resources with your patrons in real-time. This can be especially useful for promoting events, such as book clubs, author talks, and workshops, as well as for sharing news about new acquisitions, services, and programs.
You may have useful information and resources that you know would help benefit your patrons. By using social media, you’re able to share that information or supply a link to the blog that holds the information. This helps bring more traffic to your website and further show that the library is a source of knowledge – both online and offline.
The day of waiting for the library to open and speaking on the phone for information is behind us. Nowadays, your visitors can directly message you on your social platform for inquiries about your libraries. This helps your space feel more connected and speeds up the process when helping your community. Your patrons will feel appreciated knowing that they can connect with their local library in seconds.
Some ideas for types of content that libraries can share on social media include:
- Announcements about upcoming events and programs
- Previews of new books, movies, and other materials
- Book “unboxings” showing new deliveries to the library
- Links to online resources, such as databases and e-books
- Tips and tricks for using library services, such as borrowing materials or accessing online resources
- Inspiring quotes or interesting facts related to books and reading
2. Build Engagement with Your Online Community:
Librarians can use social media to engage with their community, making their relationships with their visitors stronger. By creating content and posting online, you are opening an online door for your followers to comment, like, and share what their local library is doing. Doing this shows that your library is active, even when your visitors are away physically.
Take Advantage of Existing Communities
Join the #BookTok community, a subcommunity on the app TikTok which is focused on books and literature, to get your posts global engagement. From book reviews to writing tips, plot reenactments of popular novels and more, #BookTok is a delightful corner of TikTok that encourages followers to enjoy literature. The #BookTokChallenge might be one of the few TikTok challenges that are actually wholesome and inspiring to viewers.
User Generated Content
User-generated content is content that is created by customers and posted to social media. UGC comes in many forms, including images, videos, or testimonials. One particularly effective way to engage with your patrons and create user-generated content is to set up a photo op in the library. This can be as simple as setting up a backdrop or props related to a particular theme, and then inviting patrons to take photos and share them on social media using a designated hashtag.
Create hashtags specific to your library’s photo op area that people can use when posting their photos online (e.g., #LibraryNamePhotoOp, #lovemylibraryname). You can also run contests where people who post using these hashtags can win prizes such as books or gift cards! This will not only increase engagement with your existing patrons but also draw in new ones who might otherwise never have heard of your library before!
Your followers are gateways to more visitors to your library. By having your followers share your posts and events, it gives your library new potential visitors that can come through your door.
What’s great about social media is that it becomes a two-way street. Online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter give you the ability for your patrons to message and respond to your questions.
Consider asking your audience what events they would like to see from their library, or what genres of books the library should bring in. Maybe you want to learn about what new improvements your visitors want from your library, social media allows you to get that information in an instant.
Giving your visitors a platform to speak will show that you are actively trying to better your establishment for its community.
In addition to sharing your own content, it’s also important to engage with your patrons and encourage them to participate.
Great engagement activities include:
- Asking for feedback or suggestions from patrons about what they’d like to see at the library
- Responding to comments and questions from patrons in a timely manner
- Encouraging patrons to share their own photos, reviews, and experiences at the library using a designated hashtag
- Running social media contests or challenges, such as a “book spine poetry” contest or a “shelfie” challenge (a photo of someone’s bookshelf)
3. Reach a Larger Audience and Build a Community:
Having an online presence grows your ability to build your library’s community by helping you reach a larger audience than traditional advertising methods.
Through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and even Tiktok, you are able to see your visitors and how they interact with your space, both online and offline.
Consider hosting a hashtag for your library so that you can stay up-to-date and see the latest posts happening at your location. Reposting these posts can show that you’re actively engaged with your community and care about what your patrons are doing.
By reposting your community’s content, you actively build your library’s ‘User-Generated Content.’ This content, created by your community, showcases the vibrancy of your location. Sharing, tagging, and reposting your visitor’s posts can have your patrons feel noticed, and part of a bigger community.
This especially works if your library’s decor is unique and different from your typical library, which leads to our next point…
4. Show Your Library’s Personality on Social Media:
In today’s society, younger generations such as Millennials and Gen Z place a strong emphasis on values and beliefs when they interact with businesses. As a result, it is crucial for businesses to not only provide high-quality products or services but also have a brand identity and mission that aligns with their target audience. This is where effective marketing comes in.
In the case of libraries, social media can help showcase the library’s personality and create a unique brand identity. By sharing stories and experiences, libraries can build a sense of community around their brand, connecting with followers who share similar values and beliefs. This approach can help libraries attract a younger audience and establish a stronger relationship with their current patrons.
Show off your people and their personalities.
Having a social media platform allows your library to have its very own spotlight. This allows librarians to show all the details that make your library special and unique compared to others. This is especially important because it gives your space personality and further grows the atmosphere that you’ve worked so hard to build in person – online.
Put a spotlight on your building and the amenities it has to support people in your community.
If making your library more unique and appealing is one of your priorities, consider looking into custom theming to have your library stand out. Theming creates a welcoming and safe space for children to come and explore literature, showing you care about the comfort of families in your community. Theming is an easy way to convey how the atmosphere or your library should feel and look the moment a visitor comes in. Your library theming can range anything from contemporary minimalistic styles to fun and whimsical and appeal to your younger audiences and families.
Social Media Can Help Promote Your Library
Whether it be to share information, build engagement, build your community, or show the well-deserved spotlight to your library, social media can be a powerful tool to help all of that and more.
By being on social media, you are not only growing your potential reach, but you are also showing your involvement with your community. Who knows? Maybe your post will become a new member one day!
By using social media effectively, you can strengthen your relationship with your patrons and attract new ones to your library.
Check out these related resources for making your library an exciting place to learn:
Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your library into a place that captures everyone’s attention!