David Lee King: Social Media time-savers for the small library
In a smaller library, there's not always a lot of library staff to go around. You end up wearing lots of hats, and sometimes you do "all the things."
David Lee King
David Lee King is the Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, where he plans, implements, and experiments with emerging technology trends.
He speaks internationally about emerging trends, website management, digital experience, and social media, and has been published in many library-related journals. David is a Library Journal Mover and Shaker.
His newest book is Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections.
David blogs at http://www.davidleeking.com
Read David's other articles…
- What has your Smartphone Replaced?
- Thinking about privacy
- The complete library lives online
- Digital inclusion at the library
- Work/Life balance, finding time, and priorities
In that type of setting, how do you adequately post updates to a website or to social media channels?
Here are some tips to get you started.
Schedule your posts
Most likely, your website's Content Management System (CMS) allows you to schedule posts in the future, instead of having posts automatically publish when you finish writing them. For example, my library uses WordPress as a CMS. WordPress has the option to immediately publish or to select "Schedule". Selecting "Schedule" allows you to publish blog posts in the future. For example, if you plan to be on vacation next week but also need to post something? No problem – you can schedule your post to be published next week.
You can do the same thing with some social media tools. A Facebook page provides post scheduling. Twitter does too, in a slightly convoluted way. First, sign up for Twitter Ads (but you don't necessarily have to make any ads). Once you have signed up, you have access to analytics, which is awesome. And you also have access to creating scheduled posts. The downside? You have to enter a credit card number to set up ads. You don't have to actually pay for anything, but still.
Schedule your time
You can also schedule yourself! Use your favourite calendar or daytimer, and add in 10-15 minutes a day for checking on social media. You can use that time to create and schedule posts for your library's social media channels. You can also answer questions and respond to comments during that time. Your customers will appreciate your new-found consistency, too.
Keep a camera with you
Want to post photos more often? The easiest way to capture engaging images is to always have a camera with you. Then you can quickly capture what's going on in the library. When you are back at your desk, using that 15 minutes you set aside (see above), you can post those images.
Use your smartphone
Even better than a camera is to simply connect your smartphone to the library's social media channels. Then use your smartphone to take images, short videos, and to answer questions via social media.
Depending on what social media channels you want to connect to, it's very easy to do. Instagram lets you log into multiple accounts using their app. Facebook has a Facebook Pages app for your library's Facebook presence. Some Twitter apps let you log into multiple twitter accounts (I use TweetBot on my iPhone to do this).
Create a content calendar
Now that you have some easy ways to post to social media and your website … how do you come up with topics and content? An easy way to do this is to plan out a monthly content calendar.
A content calendar is simply an outline of what you plan to post in the future. You can plan this out monthly and put it on an actual calendar (that's what we do). You can also use a spreadsheet.
Either way, plan out at least a month at a time. Then when a particular day rolls around, you will know what the major stories are, and can plan social media pushes accordingly. Combine this with scheduling blog posts and updating static Web pages on your website, and you'll quickly get your website in shape.
Share the workload
Most likely, you aren't a library with one employee. If you have a small staff of more than one, share your social media posting workload. That way, it's half the work for each of you, and you let more people in on the experience of interacting with online customers.
If you start scheduling posts and time, keep a camera or your smartphone with you more often, and use a content calendar to plan ahead, you will quickly get ahead of the game. Now get posting!