8 August 2010

Marketing thoughts

The Cam23 programme had been great for introducing us to a wide range of Web 2.0 applications. The question is how will we use them in the future in our libraries, especially with reference to marketing? I think the critical points are addressed in the Slideshare presentation on marketing library services. Plan what you intend to do. Find the particular needs of your users. Decide what you are hoping to achieve, and then choose the application that best fits those needs. I also think it is important not to think of social media in isolation, but as part of a wider marketing strategy.

I loved the social media card idea in theory - though I confess I would feel a little wary of mixing work with
personal account information - I feel there is a danger of blurring the line between being friendly, and potentially being seen as unprofessional. The other examples seemed more practical. To me the critical factor that has attracted me to the Twitter accounts/ blogs/ Facebook pages set up by various libraries has been that they are informal, friendly and informative. Each application has a place in marketing our libraries.

Twitter is great for short sharp, immediate communication - maybe the best for opening up a channel of communication? Assuming someone already has a Twitter account, having a "Join us on Twitter" button on your website (as well as details on printed literature), requires little effort on their part. Added to this they don't have to actively decide to look for you, click on your page, or visit your blog. I think this would be ideal for more sporadic information. With the ability to use Twitpic and links, one can plug events, show new acquisitions and so forth. In this way one can still get a fair amount of information across (and there is something irresistible to having a small amount of information, with the promise of more if you just click here....!!!)

Blogs and Facebook pages are also good marketing tools IF they are well maintained. It could have a negative effect however if you have a Facebook page, or blog that is never updated. Having said that, a well maintained Facebook page can be a useful addition to a library - as long as one remembers that it is their choice to go to it (or not), so it has to be enticing enough, and/or informative enough for them to want to come back. Blogs perhaps work better in bigger libraries, as they rely on having enough material to make it worthwhile for a user to come and look at it. If it is little more than the basic information already on the website then why would they use that instead? (One can however imbed a blog in a website fairly easily )

The source code for putting this blog into a website!!

As to what we would do in our library, I am not in a position to make that decision. Whatever route we take, the first priority has to be to consider in greater depth what we are intending to achieve, and how we will do so. After that talking to other libraries who have used Twitter, Facebook and Blogs  would a good next step. Personally I would think that Twitter might be the gentlest introduction to using social media for marketing…but I am open to ideas… and advice :)

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