With each of these free tools for library marketing, libraries can break out of their physical space and meet young patrons in their digital space. Today’s patrons, especially that coveted Millennial demographic, expect their library experience to translate online. Libraries need to look beyond their four walls to the world of boundaryless social media to meet the needs of these young patrons. Whether it’s generating urgency for event attendance, providing an asynchronous forum for book club, or capturing fleeting attention through flash storytelling, these tools present creative opportunities for libraries to reach patrons and build community.
Going Live with Facebook
When a business or individual goes “Live” on Facebook, their video is pushed higher in feeds with notifications dispatched. Libraries can strategically harness this option to generate interest in programming, whether spontaneous or planned. This feature is especially ideal for performances, but the key way to capitalize on Live is by creating urgency. Don’t go Live only during an event; let the feed into your library in the moments before kick off. Libraries can take a page out of Beyoncé’s book by “dropping” content unannounced like the singer released her album Beyoncé to the shock and delight of fans. Consider holding back on marketing an event ahead of time. A Live video could give patrons exclusive access to an event through social media. Younger patrons might not be aware of the library’s events that fit with their schedules, much less that there is programming targeted toward them. Live can help fix this problem by popping up to highlight events designed for these patrons to help convert them into lifelong patrons who understand how the library fits their needs.
Find Your Patron Neighbors on Nextdoor
The social media site Nextdoor takes your neighborhood community online. Nextdoor verifies residency for each user, making sure the online space is for your real neighbors. Users can join the community chatter online, which is shown through a central newsfeed and is sent out in email and text notifications per user preferences. Libraries will want to take advantage of the free marketing opportunities on Nextdoor. Looking to promote your fundraiser? Libraries can create an event that shows up in the calendar and in the feed, adding pictures and contact information to flesh it out. Keeping a close eye on Nextdoor posts can give libraries an opportunity to introduce younger patrons to library services. For example, if someone is looking for a public fax machine, the library can jump in and introduce its fax service. Creative use of the poll feature gives libraries a way to find the needs of younger patrons.
Facebook Groups for Book Clubs
It can be tricky to coordinate a book club time that works for everyone. You could be losing patrons who cannot fit a discussion into their schedules. Creating a Facebook Group for your book club can take the conversation out of the library and into a space that everyone can join. Asynchronous discussion will allow patrons to participate even if they cannot make an agreed upon time. Within a Group, libraries can create polls to get patron input on book selection. Facebook Live can spark a discussion and generate interest for special events. Migrating the group to a Google Hangout for live discussions can give everyone a chance to participate. Creating a Facebook Group for book discussion groups could capture Millennial and new adult patrons by giving them an opportunity to participate when it works for them.
Tell Your Story with Instagram
Libraries are in the story business, from programming to lending out books and materials that each tell a story. Instagram Stories use pictures and video to create a clever and engaging narrative with immediacy; each Story only lasts for 24 hours. Consider these micro-stories as exclusive content for your patron audience. Push your very best content to strategically target Instagram’s 18-29 user base. Highlight new adult-geared programming, such as a Adulting 101 series, Brew and Books nights at the local bar, and Flash Cheap Craft Nights. Other potential stories for libraries could include accelerated compressed time footage of setting up a new library display or space and giving a behind-the-scenes look at the library, such as opening day book drop sorting after a holiday weekend.
These free social media marketing tools can effectively move the library out of a brick and mortar building and into the hands of today’s “born digital” generation. Understanding how to strategically create community outside the library can strengthen a library’s bond with its base, converting views and likes into lifelong patrons.