Skip to main content

Author Archives: tmcclary

Snapchat Geofilters for Your Public Library

snapchat-mobile-app-1024x682Snapchat is tremendously popular among members of the Millennial generation, an important audience for public library marketers. This group makes up the largest share of the workforce, and they are the largest living generation. Their influence will affect us for decades.

As public library marketers, we need to continually innovate new ways to reach this demographic. That’s why I’ve started to explore all the opportunities Snapchat has to offer marketing professionals.

Which brings me to the recent launch of the New Jersey State Library’s Snapchat Geofilter. We’re really excited about this, and I not only want to share this news, but also inspire you to create a Snapchat Geofilter for your library.

So, what is a geofilter? It is a location-based piece of graphical overlay that users can apply to their Snaps. The artwork enhances the user’s photo with information about their current location. For example, a local university can use this feature to create an overlay of the school’s name and mascot.

Users then can add the overlay to a selfie taken on campus, and then share the image with friends. It’s a fantastic way to promote the university by building awareness.

Creating an geofilter for your public library requires some design skill and tech know-how. If you’re adept at Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you can design the overlay yourself. Other options are to hire a graphic designer or to find a student volunteer to help you create the artwork. Be sure to follow Snapchat’s guidelines carefully, however, otherwise your design could be rejected.

From the guidelines, here are the artwork requirements:

  • All graphics used must be 100% original.
  • No logos or trademarks. The only exception is that Snapchat will accept college and university logos submitted by authorized officials from those schools.
  • No photographs.
  • No hashtags.
  • Be creative and make it visually compelling.
  • Don’t cover up too much of the screen.
  • Make sure it’s relevant to the location and something that people will want to use.

In addition, the web-optimized, transparent PNG files should be 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels high, and sized at no more than 300 KB.

When you submit your geofilter to Snapchat, have a good description ready. As an example, here’s the one we used for the state library:

The New Jersey State Library provides services for all New Jersey libraries. The non-profit statewide library acts as a resource for patrons with a variety of books, electronic resources, activities/events/meetings and more. The library helps patrons to achieve their personal, educational and professional goals. The New Jersey State Library is a great place for our community!

During the submission process, Snapchat will ask you to define your geofence. Note that it can only cover the relevant area. For public libraries, you will probably need to limit the geofence to your building. Snapchat prohibits geofences from covering an entire country, state or province.

If Snapchat approves your geofilter, any user who enters your building or the parameters of your geofence will be able to snap a photo, overlay it with your artwork, and then share it with a friend.

Fun and creative filters are likely to capture the attention of your visitors, and it’s easy to see how geofilters can get Millennials excited to share their enthusiasm for the library. I encourage you to test this feature out and let me know how well it works for you.

The next time you visit the New Jersey State Library, we invite you to take a Snap and add our overlay. Take a selfie, post it, and tag us!

INFOGRAPHIC – How Pokémon Go Players Engage With Businesses

Some 82% of Pokémon Go players say they have visited a business while using the game, according to recent research from Slant Marketing.

The report was based on data from a survey of more than 500 users of the location-based augmented reality mobile app. The majority (57%) of respondents say they use the game between one and three hours a day, on average; 14% say they play for more than three hours a day. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of players say they have visited a business because there was a PokeStop or Gym nearby. Some 36% of players say they think they’ve been intentionally lured to a location by a business, 17% don’t think it was intentional, and 47% are not sure. Check out the infographic below for more findings from the survey.

This article was originally featured on

The original report from Slant was based on data from a survey of more than 500 users of the location-based augmented reality mobile app.


Crowdfunding: Will It Work for Your Public Library?

donations-1041971_1920Looking to fund a particular event or resource for your public library? One option worth evaluating is crowdfunding. Popular among entrepreneurs and artists, raising donations through online platforms such as Fundly or Indiegogo can be an exciting and effective method to fund projects.

Crowdfunding offers public libraries a way to gather donations from a large number of people, who each give a small amount. When donors give enough to meet a campaign’s fundraising goal, the nonprofit receives all the donated funds.

But creating a crowdfunding campaign isn’t as simple as posting your project on one of the many online platforms. Andrea Levandowski, Project Manager for Small Business Development and Technology at the New Jersey State Library, has given several talks about how nonprofits can take advantage of this approach, and she has assembled a very useful guide to crowdfunding on the New Jersey State Library website.

While public libraries can use crowdfunding to support annual events such as reading programs or to raise donations for their library foundations, running a campaign requires a significant investment of time and resources. Because many nonprofits don’t raise any money at all, public libraries should learn as much as possible about this method first.

That’s because crowdfunding isn’t always right for nonprofits, and Andrea recommends considering all other options first, including seeking grants and gifts from big donors, holding traditional fundraisers and using direct mail.

But for those intrigued by the idea of crowdfunding special initiatives, here are five steps to follow for setting up your campaign.

Find the right platform for you.

There are dozens of online crowdfunding platforms, and some are better suited for nonprofits than others. Research each carefully to find the one that best fits your purpose and your budget. Focus on features, not a platform’s popularity, and be sure to understand each platform’s pricing structure. Typically, they will charge a percentage of each transaction for payment processing plus a flat fee.

Understand the limitations upfront.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising platforms usually require nonprofits to use the money for the purposes stated in the campaign. Keep in mind that in many cases, funds are not released unless your funding goals are reached.

Time spent planning is well worth it.

Be sure to put together a comprehensive marketing plan before launching your funding campaign. This should include:

  • Goals for the campaign, including funding goals.
  • A budget, including costs for marketing, advertising, design work and incentives.
  • Incentives for each level of donation. For example, small donors might get a thank you in the library newsletter, large donors may get late fee forgiveness for a year. Or, consider partnering with a local business who can donate items to be used as incentives.
  • Length of campaign. Shorter is often better because it creates a sense of urgency, and it’s less of a strain on resources.
  • Legal and financial considerations. Be sure to review and understand the legal risks and financial obligations. It’s a good idea to seek professional counsel before kicking off any campaign.
  • Timing of campaign. Avoid scheduling the campaign at the same time as other fundraising efforts. Doing so may limit the success of both campaigns, and it can stress resources.

Put one person in charge.

To ensure that things run smoothly, Levandowski recommends putting one person in charge of the campaign. Crowdfunding requires constant attention. A campaign or project manager can keep all activities on track and prevent important tasks from falling through the cracks. Because campaigns typically run 24×7, the project manager will need to assemble a team to handle social media and answer donor questions.

Communicate after the campaign.

Be sure to follow up with all donors. Of course, you’ll need to deliver on each incentive, but saying thank you is important for energizing and building a community. You’ll want to continue your relationship with your backers, to make it easier to approach them for the next campaign.


For more details about how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign, be sure to visit the library guide. And if you want to see the elements of a successful crowdfunding campaign supporting a local library, visit the Indiegogo page of the Roseland Village Library in Sonoma Valley, Calif.

Five Crucial Elements of a Great Blog Post

160809-elements-of-a-great-blog-post-lgA blog provides great substance for your social media marketing campaigns and regularly adds fresh content, which is something Google loves. More indexed pages equal more content, and more content equals a greater chance of being found for a search term related to your industry.

So having an integral blogging strategy for your business’s website is vital for its success.

You may be the best author in the world but unless your blog post is structured in a way that is easy to read, it won’t perform to its full potential.

Here’s a look at the structure of a great blog post that encourages social sharing and increases traffic to your business’s website.

Read more at (You will need to register as a MarketingProfs member, but don’t worry, registration is easy and FREE!)

INFOGRAPHIC – The Psychology of Successfully Marketing to Millennials

Want to know more about Millennials and how to market to them? Here’s a look at vital stats about this demographic—and info about how best to reach it. Read more at

Marketing Strategy – The Psychology of Successfully Marketing to Millennials [Infographic] : MarketingProfs Article


Why Public Libraries Should Embrace Brand Storytelling

booklet-426781_1920When you work in a library every day, the power of storytelling is clear. Thousands of people walk through our doors, and many will discover at least one story in the stacks that moves them. Great writers know how to evoke emotional responses from readers.

Everyone has a story to tell – not just authors or filmmakers, but brands too. The good news is that the ability to move people isn’t unique to great writers. Brand marketers understand that good storytelling is the key to getting consumers to feel emotionally invested in their brand.

That’s why brand marketers use the very same storytelling structure that great writers do. By incorporating storytelling techniques into marketing activities, the public library can motivate and inspire both advocates and visitors.

Let’s take a look at each of the major components of story and how they apply to building the public library brand.


Just as great novels have themes, so do brand stories. Themes are the common link between all marketing activities, helping to tie them together in a more meaningful way. When all your stories relate to one theme, your brand becomes more memorable.

How can you determine what your theme should be? Bring your staff together and brainstorm the answers to these questions:

  • What value does your library bring to the community?
  • What is your mission?
  • What impact do you have on each segment of your community?
  • What benefit do visitors gain from your library?

Structure & Plot.

The novel format consists of a single narrative arc, comprised of multiple chapters or stories. A brand is similar, except that its story is continuous and never-ending. Still, each story you tell should fit into your larger theme. These individual tales are comprised of three parts:

  • The beginning, which introduces your characters and setting (e.g. The teenager whose dream it is to attend college and who comes to the library every afternoon for homework help.)
  • The middle, which sets up the problem and supplies the tension (e.g. He needs a computer to complete his homework, but he doesn’t have one at home.)
  • The end, which provides a resolution (e.g. The library provides him with free access to a computer every afternoon, which allows him to get good grades and an acceptance to college.)


All great stories are rooted in great characters. They are so real and so relatable they could be our best friends. We root for them when adversity strikes.

The best brand storytellers are the ones who put their customers at the center of their stories. They are the heroes, not the brand. When prospective library visitors or advocates see themselves in other people’s stories – when they share the same problems and issues – they will find it easier to relate.

In addition, a story’s hero is always transformed by the action. This is critical to the success of telling a brand story because it shows how customers benefit from library services. For example, to promote your resources for job seekers, tell a story about a successful job search. This both emphasizes the library user as hero and reinforces what the library can do for the community.


Remember that a story is versatile and can be told through a variety of media. It’s not limited to the written word. In fact, younger audiences tend to gravitate more to visual content, so embrace video, images and audio when telling your story.

Storytelling, as we know, is an art. But it’s not simply for great writers. When you put story at the center of your marketing activities, you’ll engage a larger audience and build loyal fans.