Part 2: Hints and tips for public libraries – promoting your e-resources by social media

Welcome to the second blog post in our public libraries series on promoting your e-resources.

With the current financial climate, ensuring library members know about a library's online resources and e-book collections is more important than ever.

But how do you do this on a limited budget and with limited resources?

If you don’t already use social media, it can be a very effective way to promote your e-resources – and it’s free. There are many social media platforms that you could utilise but this blog focuses on two of the most highly used, Facebook and Twitter. Here are just a few ideas that we’ve learned along the way that may be of help.

How often should I post?

  • Keep your accounts active with daily updates – try to post at least three times a day on Twitter, and once a day on Facebook.

  • To save time you can schedule tweets using the free tool Hootsuite meaning you could spend just 10-15 minutes in the morning scheduling your tweets for the rest of the day. You can also schedule Facebook posts by choosing the schedule option when posting.

What type of content should I post?

  • See what other libraries are up to – follow their accounts and monitor the kind of content they share to see what is successful for them. You can then ‘borrow’ successful approaches.

  • Tweets and Facebook posts with pictures or videos often get more engagement so try including screenshots of resources, videos, logos and images.

  • Share snappy hints and tips for using online resources, in tweets and Facebook posts.

  • Tweet about your resources, from online dictionaries and encyclopedias to family history and newspaper archives. 

  • Tweet about new content or tools and about what your resources can do for library members eg “Interested in discovering your family history? Then visit us for access to Findmypast.”

  • Feedback –  maybe a library member has discovered an interesting ancestor on Findmypast or a student used World Book and got a great mark on a school project, if you have received some positive feedback or you have a good story about a library members' use of e-resources, share it!

  • Try asking your followers questions about their use of e-resources, ask them to tweet back to you or comment on your posts with their thoughts

  • Run competitions – do you have any prizes lurking in the library? If so you could run a social media competition, create your own hashtag and ask people to include the hashtag and your Twitter handle when they respond.
  • Monitor the web for interesting content to share, by setting up Google Alerts. Choose topics that you would like to receive news about (ie. digital literacy, e-resources, online learning, family history etc) and you will get emails each day with news stories related to your chosen subject. You can then share interesting stories on your accounts.
  • Remember to keep your tone light, conversational and friendly.

How do I get more followers on social media?

  • Sharing interesting content by using the tips above!

  • Use hashtags to join in with Twitter discussions, people are then more likely to come across your account and give you a follow. You will find hashtag trends tailored to your account on the right-hand side of your Twitter profile.

  • Word of mouth and in-library promotion – talk to your library members about your social media and ask them to follow you. Include your Twitter handle and Facebook url on any library leaflets and posters, maybe even print out a small social media slips or a bookmark that you could start handing out when members borrow books. You can also include links to your social media accounts on any emails you send out to your members (for more information about promoting your resources via email see our previous blog here.)

  • Follow other accounts – if you follow other relevant accounts they might follow you back too. Start with other libraries, local services and schools, local people of interest and go from there.

  • Remember it’s the quality of your followers, not quantity that counts when it comes to social media. It is best to have a small number of current and potential library members as followers rather than a large number of unrelated accounts.

Top tip! People expect quick responses on social media. If you receive tweets or posts on your Facebook wall that expect answers make sure to reply to them as soon as possible. On Facebook, users can see how responsive and the normal wait time your page has for private messages. This is why it is important for your social media to be checked every day.  

For more ideas on great content to post, make sure to follow JCS on Twitter and Facebook.

Has your library worked out an effective way to promote its e-resources? Got any good tips to share? Please do let us know so we can help other libraries successfully promote their resources.