Social media is becoming an increasingly vital way for libraries to connect with their communities. Here are ideas for how to use your social accounts in ways that highlight all your branch has to offer.
The number of social media platforms at your fingertips might feel overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to start small by building up the content and engagement on one specific account. Think about social media as a tool for reaching a wider audience and amplifying the fantastic work you’re already doing. Your efforts should be scalable and not overwhelming for you or your staff.
Create a schedule
Consistency is key on social media, and having a schedule and method for planning out your content will help to ensure that every post you make is creating forward momentum. Here are tips on how to get started!
A free service like Hootsuite also allows you to schedule up to 5 posts in advance. When managing multiple platforms, you should always be looking for ways you can save yourself time and extra energy. Streamlining your process as much as possible will make it easier to consistently post across multiple platforms.
Think about accessibility
Your social media accounts should be as inclusive as possible to ensure they’re accessible to all members of your community. Many apps are working on updates (such as automatic captioning for videos), but some still require workarounds. Here’s a look at ways to make sure your accounts are up to par.
Get to know your audience
Readers are becoming more selective about which social media platforms they spend their time on, based on which ones they personally use most often. This means that your audience on Facebook might be different from your audience on Instagram. Taking note of the kinds of content and book genres that perform well on specific channels can help you to better connect with your patrons.
Share and connect
One of the main goals on your social media channels will be sharing information about your branch’s offerings and events. But the second goal should be making meaningful connections with your patrons. The best interactions are genuine and organic, and there are tons of ways for you to open the door to those conversations online. Ask patrons to share photos of their latest library hauls, set up a question box in Instagram stories where they can request book recommendations, or challenge viewers on TikTok to duet your video with one of their own (like this one!) These small moments of interaction add up and help to create a stronger connection between your branch, staff, and patrons.
Coming up with unique and engaging content consistently can be one of the biggest challenges of managing social media platforms. Below we’ve rounded up a few ideas for you, but be sure to check out what other libraries, bookstores, and readers are doing on their channels for inspiration. Take chances on new types of content or ideas—you may be surprised by what sticks. Most of all, make sure you and your team are excited about what you’re doing because then your followers will be, too!
From book club meetings to storytime to conversations with authors, your library likely hosts tons of events you want patrons to know about.
First, you’ll want your event promoted across every platform that you have. Think about promotion in three stages: the initial announcement, a reminder set halfway between the announcement and the event, and a final boost the day of (including a reminder once the event is underway). This will help to keep your event at the forefront of people’s minds, and is a great way to ensure that your audience sees your messaging.
For social media in particular, be sure to tag your guests so they’re easily able to promote the event to their own followers.
Create a graphic that’s easy to alter based on different platforms, this is because the size you’ll need to use in your Instagram story compared to Twitter will be very different. Canva is a free and excellent tool to use, and you can read our Canva tips here. A graphic should include all of the information readers need: time, date, how to attend (especially if it involves registering by email)—as well as relevant author photos or book covers. This ensures that it can be shared easily without losing any of the information potential attendees need.
If you need tips for hosting a virtual event, check out our advice here!
Show off fun displays
Sharing your displays online is an excellent way to make the most of the hard work you’re doing at your branch, and it reminds patrons of why they love to visit (when they safely can). Here’s a great display from LA County Library! You could even give your followers a virtual tour of your branch.
Think outside the pages
Social media is an excellent way to remind patrons that libraries have a vast number of services for their communities! We love this Community Cooking series from Brooklyn Public Library, and it’s the kind of virtual event that can promote everything from cookbooks to cozy mysteries with recipes to tools like cake pans that can be borrowed from your branch, classes that you host, and more.
This hashtag challenges people to take a photograph where their body lines up with the body on a book cover. It’s a fun way to show off your creativity and a book! Check out this excellent one from Chandler Library.
Share staff reads and book recommendations online
As the multitude of reader communities show, there is no shortage of ways to share book recommendations on social media. Augusta-Richmond Co. Library made this short TikTok to show off books that readers can pick up from their branch after watching Bridgerton.
Direct recommendations from librarians are always trusted, and your team undeniably loves to read, and likely enjoys offering up book recs. While some team members might be comfortable talking about books on video (such as in Instagram stories or TikTok), others might prefer to have theirs come in the form of a caption of an Instagram photo. This sort of feature is also a fantastic way to introduce your team to even more of your patrons. Sharing recommendations consistently can help readers identify which of your library staff members they have the most similar reading tastes to.
Exeter Library created this short and funny TikTok showing how to renew checked out books online. It’s a video that helps you answer patron questions in an engaging way, and is something you can refer them to time and time again.