BID-Kongress 2010: Users as library co-developers

From the same panel as Kerstin Schoof’s talk about user wishes came Lambert Heller’s talk on users as co-developers of libraries.

Basically, a social media talk with a twist. And one that I had been much anticipating because I’d been following Lambert on Twitter for a while (like a lot of people I met in Leipzig) and this was a great chance to see him live and “in action”.

On a general note, there seemed to be some frustration about the state of libraries’ social media marketing: people like Lambert have been talking about it for years and years, but there seems to be a certain lack of development for reasons that can only be conjectured. Nevertheless, here we were, with yet another talk on the subject, which hopefully persuaded some people to get out there and actually DO something.

First of all, he mentioned that it is important for us as librarians to know (and preferably to use) social marketing tools because the way people find websites has changed drastically over the last five years. These days, more websites are found through links in social networks than through actual search engines.
Social media is NOT primarily about technological know-how – the services are easy to use and anyone can do it. It is also not just about publishing your normal news feed on social platforms as well as on your own website. He mentioned Charlene Li’s engagement pyramid and then talked about tools for monitoring your social marketing, like Google Analytics or Piwik, Google Suggest (what do people search in Google when they search for your library?), Backtweets (tells you who tweeted your URL), etc.

The important thing, according to Heller, is to use them to keep an eye on who uses and sees your social marketing presence. Therefore, you should use feeds and feedreaders to keep up with everything.

The bottom line was that, for social media marketing, you will need a certain amount of stamina because it takes a while to catch on. You’d also do good if you got your “digital natives” involved in this kind of process. A problem that social media marketing causes in libraries sometimes is that it breaks up departmental structures and hierarchies. You have to spend some time thinking about whose job it actually is to maintain and monitor social marketing presences (IT? User services? Reference? All of the above?) But no matter who does it, there needs to be a strategy and continuity to it. And if you have any more questions about any of this or would like to chat about social media in gemeral, please talk to Lambert.

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