marketing, marketing – it’s never ending, isn’t it? We get new readers joining the library all the time so we have to constantly sell and promote and tell people what we do. We offer new services so have to get hold of the existing members to remind them that we exist and can do snazzy things.
Every time we interact with someone “out there” (whether by issuing them with a book, or confirming their renewal of a loan by email, or devising a series of training sessions focused on a particular set of skills or cohort of students) we’re marketing the library and everything that means.
I’m a great believer in word of mouth promotion, but that can really bite you on the bum, because bad news spreads like wildfire – which can sometimes feel like 1 step forward and 3 steps back. But if someone comes to the library because their colleagues said it was useful, then it’s double bonus points.
I’m also a great believer in “getting out there” – if we’re only promoting ourselves to existing users of the library then we’re only reaching a fraction of the people who might find the library useful. If we only promote services to those library users who actually come inside the library, then it’s even more depressing. So we need to get out there, to where our potential and actual library users are. Afterall, doesn’t everyone like a trip out of the library, at least every now and again?
Web 2.0 stuff and social media – it is all just grist to the mill, just another weapon in the arsenal, if you like. It’s not so much what tool you use, so long as it reaches people and it does the job. So newsletters can still be posted round if that’s what will reach your audience, but email’s might be more effective, and an email with a link to a blog might reach the people you email and also more people who’re not on your list but who stumble across it. Having a twitter account in the library will catch as many people as it alienates or confuses, but if you only use twitter, you’re really missing a trick.
I use a blog for the Medical Library, but still focus mostly on email to announce things to the general Medical Library population. There’s no twitter account for the Medical Library… yet. But it’s getting comfortable using tools like zotero that will catch people’s eye, and make us relevant to their work.
I like the idea of the social media cards that Andy highlighted in Illinois, and know there’s been a flurry of twittering about having similar things (popular source seems to be Moo) but find it slightly odd that they don’t include a phone number…..
Just poking around trying to find an interesting image for this post, I found this from Adam Cohen:
I think it’s brilliant – and helps clarify my ideas about the power of word of mouth. Getting library champions to work with us in raising awarness and hopefully converting a few along the way.