To Tweet or Not To Tweet

…Better yet, WHAT to Tweet, that’s the question.

I think it’s safe to assume that libraries must have a presence on social media. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Tumbr or Pinterest or some combination of those (or ones that I didn’t mention) the benefits from being active on these digital mediums are too great to ignore. Most libraries have come to terms with the inevitability of using one or more of the aforementioned platforms. So the question remains, how to use it?

I’m sure there are better blogs than this that have delved into this arena, not to mention newspaper articles and professional journals. So my point here isn’t to try to reinvent the wheel but rather to give you some examples of how we’re trying to use Twitter and Facebook. We don’t have it figured out and are constantly adjusting but here are a couple of times we were particularly successful.

Firstly- Ride on Coattails

Back in October, the incomparable Neil Gaiman sponsored something called All Hallows ReadSo we did a wee bit o’name dropping, used his Twitter ID, the hashtag, and a link to the page.

Up until that point we were topping out in the high 300s in regards to our Twitter Impressions. An Impression is defined at as “The number of times users saw this Tweet on Twitter”. (The actual math is a little more convoluted than I’d like to get into here, but you can go to the link above to read more.) But my point in laying that baseline is to tell you that while we were previously maxing out at 300 some-odd users seeing our tweets, the All Hallows Read Tweet garnered us 56,858 impressions.

Lessons Learned:

      • Name drop someone famous
      • Use Hashtags popular on Twitter
      • Use Links

Secondly- Stay Current

If you’ve ever spent time in Buffalo in December you know they can handle copious amounts of snow. But “copious” does not include 7′ of snow in a day. So I tweeted out a link to an article with more information about what was the happy haps up there. I included a hashtag I saw the Buffalo Library itself use, and name dropped the library’s twitter account. That got us 1061 impressions.

Lesson Learned:

  • Stay up to date with what’s going on in the world and show solidarity towards a library in the area.

One Final Word

You may have noticed a glaring omission that could have given us more impressions than ever: Ferguson. That’s intentional. It’s so politically charged that there is a serious risk of getting in over our heads. That’s not to say I won’t get us involved but anytime you dip your toes in political waters, make sure you make like Gotham City and expect the unexpected.

I’ll have a conversation with my director and the other social media mavens around here before I do anything. Because the entire library would be susceptible to the ramifications and I want to make sure everyone is prepared. before I do anything.

So those are a couple of things I did. If you have any social media storied you’d like to share, please leave a comment!


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