Marketing Your Library With Facebook, Part 1
Posted by Diana Moore
I wrote a book chapter on marketing your library with Facebook, but I got bogged down with the five tons of doctoral work on top of my librarian job and being a mom job, so I didn’t get it in on time. Oops. Hey, I’m not perfect by any means, and I often procrastinate. Needless to say, this did not bode well for my chapter, so I am sharing it with you rather than let it whither away in Dropbox. Yes, Dropbox. That will be a post for another time, as I use it extensively in my research.
So Facebook… Many folks use Facebook today. I know I do. I’ve connected with many lost friends via Facebook, and I love the way I can connect with my friends, family, colleagues and pages of interest. I’m not alone, and if you walk around the computers at any college, I’m sure you’ll see many students also using Facebook. They also like connecting with friends, family and pages of interest. Do you have a Facebook Page for your library? If you don’t, you should. It could be a page of interest to your students, many of whom truly do love their academic library. You’ll see!
Why Use Facebook?
Innovations in technology have changed the world, so that today’s children grow up learning digital skills alongside reading and writing. These digital natives bring these skills with them into higher education, where despite vast technological changes the library remains central to their academic work. The academic library has evolved in many ways to accommodate these changes, providing a comfortable environment for students both physically and virtually. Students feel at home in an academic library, and so it makes sense for an academic library to market itself to students through a familiar medium such as social networking.
An increasing number of businesses and institutions are turning to Facebook as an inexpensive marketing option. According to Facebook’s website, “There are over 900 million objects that people interact with (pages, groups, events and community pages),” and the “average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events.” It is easy to see how small businesses and non-profits can benefit tremendously from Facebook as a way to reach out to the local area quickly and cheaply. Many libraries have jumped onto that bandwagon and are actively connecting with their patrons through social media, especially Facebook.
The benefits of having a Facebook presence for your library outweighs any extra work involved in the creation and maintenance of it. One or more people will need to be involved in the creation of and posting to your Facebook public profile, but the time commitment overall is minimal.
The benefits are many:
- Inside connection to students where they choose to be
- Serendipitous connections
- Ease of use
- Quick dissemination of information
- Promote new services and products quickly
- Creates a “relationship” – students can post and feel connected
Facebook Page Versus Group
Facebook Pages provide for a more dynamic interaction within Facebook. Any organization, business, icon or public figure with a Facebook Page will be able to interact with Facebook users in an easy, customizable and professional way. For all intents and purposes a Facebook Page is a professional profile in lieu of a personal profile used by individual users, such as students. A Facebook group is something totally different. It is a closed, private space for a select group of individuals with a common interest to chat, create shared documents, schedule group events, post updates and photos, etc. With a Facebook Page, your library can interact with the profiles of other people, whereas a group cannot. As the administrator of a Facebook Page, you can easily switch from your personal profile to the Page profile for easy interaction with other Facebook users. If your intention is to market your library and make its presence available in a public space where students and faculty frequent, then a Facebook Page is your best option.
Next up: How To Create Your Facebook Page!