This is the "Home" page of the "Social Media Hacks: Tips & Conversation for Enhancing Social Media Use in Libraries" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Social Media Hacks: Tips & Conversation for Enhancing Social Media Use in Libraries  

NCLA Pre-conference Workshop
Last Updated: Oct 21, 2015 URL: Print Guide
Home Print Page

Attendees' Social Media

We'll post links to attendees' institutional social media accounts here after the workshop.


Workshop Notes

Don't forget that you can find the Prezi at

Practical Tips and Tricks

  • Content
  • Clients (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc)
  • Control
  • Coordination

People discussed that they spend a lot of time watching and viewing other people's posts, in an attempt to learn some best practices. One issue that came up repeatedly throughout the discussion was the idea of visibility. The basic guide for visibility and interaction is to ask questions in your social media. Maybe you won't get answers, but you definitely won't get answers if you don't ask. Other visibility suggestions included posting quizzes and giving away prizes and using local archive photos to post with questions and asking for input.

Since interaction and engagement boosts visibility, we also discussed making lists in your twitter client of people customers bases who you follow (students, if you work at a college or university, for example) so you can see immediately what they are tweeting about and reply (as opposed to digging through the rest of your feed). If you see a student tweeting about needing access to the Wall Street Journal, you can reply with information about access through the library.

This led to a discussion on customer service on Twitter and through other social media. One thing we sometimes forget is that social media can be a customer service desk for people. If you have a particularly strong local archive, you might also get genealogy questions on social media. One librarian got renewal and fines questions through her personal Facebook account and we discussed the usefulness of a strong social media policy (one that says those sorts of things are not allowed through a personal account) would be helpful to librarians in that case.

When you are looking for engagement and to see who is tweeting about you, don't forget to search for your organization's name (eg: Durham County Library), not just the handle (eg: @durhamcountylib).

Social Media Policy

  • Archiving
  • Account set-up
  • Personal social media of staff
  • Content
  • Contenuity (which we didn't talk about, but should have)

The overarching conversation about social media policy revolved around most people not knowing if their library or organization had such a policy and, if so, who they could contact to learn about the policy. Some suggestions:

  • IT Department
  • HR
  • The employee handbook (which would have some guidelines for employees when they are representing the organization, even if not specifically about social media)
  • A public information office or communications officer
  • It might just exist alone in the library without being housed in a department outside of and/or greater to the library

Basically, the advice was to check everywhere.

One of the other points of discussion was at academic libraries: if the university/college has a social media policy, does it change for the library versus the athletic department, groups which would be posting about different things. If this applies to you, you are encouraged to have a conversation with the person/committee/department who created the policu.

One librarian mentioned that her university has a social media coordinator, who is both in charge of the policy (and enforcing it) and also a great resource for growing visibility and interaction


  • Adverstising
  • Hashtags
  • @replies
  • Who's in your community and are you interacting with them?


  • Numbers versus engagement
  • Klout
  • Analytic soursces like twitter Analytics, Google analytics, etc

Visibility and analysis were discussed together, since the only way you know you are getting the visibility you want is to establish your goal for social media and then measure how well you are achieving it.  Understanding your social media goals (increase circulation, increase customer base, brand awareness, etc) would then lead to what social media you are using and why, what success looks like, and how you measure.

Your goals will guide what you post.

The group also discussed not being afraid to use social media outlets for advertising in addition to print media outlets. One advantage of the social media outlets is that you can see exactly what you are spending your money on and what visibility you gain from it, in terms of engagement, views, clicks, etc. There was general caution not to leave print entirely. There are some highly effective methods of advertising in print and customer bases both don't seem to want us to leave print entirely, especially for those customer basis that don't use social media much at all.

Social Media Sites and Tools

  • Meetup
  • Instagram
  • Storify
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube

Other social media we discussed not listed in the Prezi included:

  • Pintrest
  • Goodreads, where one university librarian has had success building an online book club that has translated into in person meetings
  • Tagboard, which none of the presenters had used, but which seems to be a Storify-like social media on Pintrest-like boards.


Helpful social media links dicussed during the workshop.



Stephanie Willen Brown
Director, Park Library
UNC-Chapel Hill

Matthew Clobridge
Durham County Library

Jennifer Lohmann
Adult Services Manager
Durham County Library


Loading  Loading...