3 Ways Libraries Can Increase Their Social Media Audience Without Paying for Advertising

Posted by Duncan Whitmire on 7/18/14 9:00 AM

Customer Success, Social Media, Social Media for Libraries

You can have the best content in the world, but if nobody is following your library, people won't see it (with the possible exception of NSA data-miners and the staff at Facebook). Social media is a great place for libraries to spread the word about upcoming programs, new acquisitions, valuable services and more. Last month we gave some best practices to avoid common library social media mistakes; this month we’ll get into how to build up your followers without resorting to shady follower-buys and paid advertising.*


Vintage crowd applauds future library's use of social media.

Raise Awareness: People can’t follow what they don’t know exists. Putting the Twitter and Facebook buttons on your website is a great first step, but you can also let your book group know the discussion will continue online; or let students know you post info about resources and services that will help boost their GPA! One library we spoke to said some of their most popular posts were pictures of new acquisitions before they hit the shelves. Telling patrons they posted sneak peeks to social media drove followers looking for an edge on early reserve lists.

Encourage Engagement: When someone likes, retweets, or comments on your post, it becomes visible to a part of their network, thus increasing your exposure to people who are demographically very similar to this person who already follows you. By posting funny pictures, trivia, questions (e.g. What book are you reading right now?), etc., you encourage people to engage with you, and reach a wider audience. Not sure what to post? Well,  here’s one of our blogposts of free, date-specific library content to get you started!

Host a Contest: Other than being a tween heartthrob, having a contest is the best way to amass a large group of engaged followers quickly. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram can all be used as the virtual contest venue, depending on which platform you’re hoping to grow. Check in next month when we blog about library social media contests in more detail!

*Sidenote: Here’s a great video from Veritasium, a science video blogger who had a bad experience with Facebook ads and decided to tell the world about it.

Image: Aplavz gledalcev na koncertu v Mariboru 1961.jpg, Danilo Škofič [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aplavz_gledalcev_na_koncertu_v_Mariboru_1961.jpg

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