Our Social Media competency task asks us to create an additional page for our blog containing a list of our favourite social media tools that could be used in a library. We also need to create another page containing a list of at least six resources that might be useful to library staff, considering social media functionality from their library’s website.
Halfway through writing I realised I was covering the content from both pages in just the one post. These things really overlap a lot! So here I’m sharing my favourite social media tools, discussing how they could be used by a library, and am considering how well they integrate with a website.
I touched on how important social media is for libraries in one of my earliest blog posts, and as we draw close to the end of the unit I believe more than ever that social media is an essential tool for the promotion, development and delivery of library services.
Facebook and Twitter are the most popular platforms, but visual platforms like YouTube and Pinterest are gaining in popularity. They’re also my top picks for libraries, so let’s take a closer look at them now:
Facebook: Facebook is the world’s most popular online social networking service. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, but businesses and corporations also use the platform to advertise and spread brand awareness. Many libraries have a Facebook page to engage and communicate with people on a more personal level. By using Facebook libraries can inform their users about programs, services, opening times and resources. They can also share relevant articles, photos and links.
Facebook is a very interactive platform and the quality of that interaction is extremely important. A library Facebook page won’t be successful if the organisation does not have the time to plan a content schedule or maximise patron engagement.
Facebook can be very easily integrated into a website with plug-ins such as like and sharing buttons, activity feeds and commenting.
Pinterest: Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool used to discover, share and save content. Pinterest can be used to create visually appealing reading lists and digital repositories, collect ideas and inspiration for displays and programs, and showcase acquisitions and archives.
While Pinterest provides a great avenue for sharing and promotion, it does have its limits. While members can re-pin items and leave comments, it is not conducive to in-depth discussion. It’s also not suitable for sharing non-visual information, such as opening hours and services.
Pinterest can be very easily integrated into a website with links, widgets or the “Pin This” button. There’s also a browser plug-in for Chrome.
YouTube and Vimeo: YouTube is a video sharing website that was Launched in May 2005 and it acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers. Vimeo is a smaller video sharing website, but it has a reputation for hosting higher quality content and is more brand focused. Bigger is not always better, as a niche audience can be an advantage.
YouTube and Vimeo are useful for hosting educational, instructional and outreach videos. It does take a lot of time and expense to produce original video content, so video sharing platforms are not suitable for all libraries.
YouTube and Vimeo videos are both very easily embedded into websites and have a number of features to help you share videos on different social media platforms.
Twitter: Twitter is a popular online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”. While each tweet is just a sentence or two, a carefully composed tweet can convey a lot of information without taking a lot of time to read or write. Libraries can use Twitter to share information about programs, services, opening times and resources, as well as share relevant articles and links. Tweets can link to the library’s website for more in-depth information.
While Twitter isn’t as intensely interactive as Facebook, it cannot remain static. Tweets get moved to the bottom of people’s feeds very quickly, so regular updates are essential. Despite this, it’s still a popular platform and only requires a few sentences a day to make a big impact.
Twitter can be very easily integrated into a website with plug-ins and widgets, such as buttons and timelines.
There are just my top picks, but there are so many social media platforms! Here are a few more:
Here are some tools, resources and articles that might be useful to library staff using social media: