By Nancy Dowd:
This is the fourth in a series of articles in which Nancy Dowd will examine the results of an exclusive survey of library professionals from more than 400 public libraries across the U.S. on public library marketing. The survey was sponsored by the NoveList division of EBSCO Publishing
"If there are over 1 billion people on Facebook and the Twitterverse can help topple governments, then it only makes sense that libraries would also be using these two social media channels to connect with their communities, right? Well yes and no.
Libraries are using social media, that’s clear. According to Library Journal’s Survey on Public Library Marketing Methods and Best Practices, 86 percent of libraries said they were using social media. The top two social media platforms used by libraries were Facebook (99 percent) and Twitter (56 percent). Pinterest is making some gains, with 30 percent of libraries reporting that they are pinning. The problem is that 48 percent of libraries surveyed said they weren’t measuring their efforts at all. While the survey didn’t ask if libraries are getting fans to interact with them, most libraries I have spoken with lately have said they were still struggling with that."
Social media is not going away. As new platforms emerge, libraries will need to choose the channels that work for their communities. But whatever platforms they choose, they must have some kind of plan that outlines their goals and embrace philosophies that support interactivity with their communities. I think Bizzle summed it up best, “Successful libraries will determine what platforms most effectively reach their target audience and aggressively build sustainable presences there.”