Online Outreach – 2.0 Marketing Strategies for Libraries

October 29, 2007 at 6:11 pm (conference notes, Library 2.0)

Sarah Houghton Jan

Aaron Schmidt

bbokspace? Where do our patrons spend their time? They are more wired, we need to reach them where they’re at. Make your site two-way – people need to interact with the site, contribute, have a voice. Comment, provide content, feedback, etc. Online, everyone’s patrons are your patrons – we answer anyone who walks up to the desk or calls the library, or emails. Free software is good, and there is a lot out there for libraries to take advantage of:

Search variations of your library’s name in Google and other search engines – what is coming up? What other terms would people use to find your library? Vancouver Library, Fort Vancouver Library, branch names, look at buying an adword from Google (costs money, but…) You could have more words than just “vancouver library” like “vancouver washington travel” or something like that.

Make sure that your library is well represented on Wikipedia – not just the page for your library, but for your city, county, district, schools, multiple community entry points to your library. Any stakeholder presence on Wikipedia can become a portal to your library’s website and services.

Lots of places where you can have your library events listed, not just craigslist (but still craigslist!)

Look for local blogs and forums and groups – blogdigger has a local blog search. Search for zipcode as a tag, town name in flickr, etc. Interact as a real person with local bloggers – don’t be heavy handed about being a representative of the library. Just be yourself. Get your site linked to from other community sites – local metro and county. use the search term link:http://www.fvrl.org to see who links to our website.

yelp – social review website.

Continuously engage users – contests, questions, ways of interacting on our social networking presence sites – MySpace stuff, flickr, youtube, etc. Tap the local talent for creating and maintaining these types of sites – see if local MLS programs have grad students can get credit for doing things like this for your library.

When you send out emails to promote services, links to newsletters, etc., personalize them, tell them who you are and make the message human.

My library doesn’t have any reviews in Google Maps – can we change that? Is that ethical to write a positive review for your library in Google Maps? Or, can we encourage our savvy web users to review the library at Google Maps as part of our Internet stations? People like to comment, how can we make that more visible and findable – so instead of a piece of paper which they can’t ever see again, put the comments on the web page, and let people write in. Controls for content spam and offensive language/content in place, but post the good reviews with the bad and address concerns.

Make your a/v content findable. Well, first make some a/v content. Refer back to the podcast and videoblog posts. Make stuff. Put it out there. link to it from everywhere. Trackback to other places that link to it. Thank people for linking, watching, listening. Invite

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah Houghton-Jan (LiB) said,

    Thank you for the write-up on our session! I think it’s ok to write up a review of your own library or business, as long as you are honest about who you are. If not, it could come back to bite you if somebody figured out what you were trying so hard to hide.

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