Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Opportunity knocks

Image by whyswomen, flickr
Marketing is a tricky thing, especially as most people link it with advertising.  You have to get your message across to a diverse group of users who all have different needs.  The social media business card article by Illinois Libraries made a good point when they said that one of the strengths of librarians is their personal relationship with their readers - added value to the service, if you like.   Social media allows you to "build" up this relationship with those people making use of your services but not actually entering the physical space.  It is also informal in many ways which may suit sections of your customers more than others.

Libraries definitely need to promote their services more - even core ones that seem obvious to us but not the users.  I think social media may help here as it is quick to distribute updates and links to anything from a new book to a training event.   When your message is not getting across you need to try a different method and with the rapid changes in social media it is an opportunity to try something new.  If it doesn't work you haven't invested alot of money just some time (always precious though).

I know this is about marketing and not advertising but I think more of that should go on in the libraryworld.  I remember when 118 118 started advertising a service where you could call (for money) and get the answer to anything.  Great you might think and then I thought but what about the Peope's network Enquire which doesn't cost anything and is available 24 hours a day as when the UK libraries are closed other libraries round the world are on call - someone is always in the daytime.  This is a free service but how many people know about it or can find it. 

As for a strategy in my library.  I would like to create some delicious groups and make further use of the facebook page.  I am not sure that we have enough activity for a twitter feed but then reading some of the articles on marketing and I realised you can put out any daily stuff going on - doesn't always have to be a major event.  Our faculty has a twitter account and it may be possible to start by feeding some library related information via that route and see what takes off.

image by drhenkenstein, flickr


  1. Wow - I'd never heard of the people's network. The 'find a library' feature looks very useful, and the enquiry service is just what modern libraries should be all about. But has *anyone* heard of it? I note that it's created by the MLA, so it will presumably stop existing when it does, and probably explains why it's not as well know as it should be (don't get me started on the MLA...).

  2. I went to a talk 4 or 5 years ago when the person who started it was speaking. They had start up funding but now I think libraries fund it. I wasn't sure if it was still going so checked. But as you say if no-one knows about it no-one uses it and then it gets closed as not considered necessary!