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Author Archives: tmcclary

Why We Absolutely Need To Care More About Library Funding

library funding

library fundingThere’s plenty for Republicans and Democrats to hate in the so-called Paul Ryan budget the House passed earlier this month: raising the age requirement for Social Security, privatizing Medicare, cuts to Medicaid, and charging interest on student loans while students are still in school. Even some Republicans thought it went too far–if only for purely strategic reasons. But there’s one provision in the budget that seems to have been noticed by librarians: the elimination of an entire government agency–the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which provides funds to libraries across the country that are used to pay for everything from broadband Internet to Braille books for the visually impaired.

I can’t say I’m surprised, despite the fact that the IMLS seems a bizarre target for those wanting to cut government spending: The Obama administration requested *only* $226.4 million for the IMLS for fiscal year 2015. To put that figure in perspective, it’s 0.0017% of the cost a Navy aircraft carrier currently being built and less than a third of what it cost to occupy Iraq for one day.

For the full story visit Huff Post Books.

Facebook Marketing for Libraries: More Photos, More Videos

Facebook mobile app

Facebook mobile appIt shouldn’t come as a surprise that photos and images have a higher engagement rate than text posts on Facebook. In 2012, a study by Hubspot showed that photos get 53% more likes and 104% more engagement.

Since then, marketers have increasingly incorporated photos into their Facebook marketing strategy, and today, photos are 54% of all Facebook posts. Yet, a recent study by social media analytics company, Quintly, revealed that videos get much higher engagement than photos even though they are just 3% of all posts.

This makes a good case for integrating more video into your Facebook marketing mix. Quick, spur-of-the moment video can be captured and uploaded to Facebook in minutes using Instagram (now owned by Facebook), Vine, and YouTube.

But don’t abandon photos entirely. In fact, with the continuous changes that Facebook makes to its news feed, it’s important to stay on top of the standards for image sizes.

You’ll get more engagement on photos if you optimize them for Facebook. Facebook will resize your photo to fit the dimensions of the cover photo or news feed post. But for it to look crisp and clear in the news feed, it often needs to be uploaded in a larger size.

This handy infographic provides details about the actual size of images on Facebook, and the recommended upload size.

Facebook image dimensions

Timeline, Posts, Ads [Infographic] Courtesy of: JonLoomer.com

Do You Have Klout? How to Use Influencer Metrics

Klout

KloutIn our public library advocacy efforts, we often look to those with the most influence to help advance our causes. In our professional lives, titles – such as director, freeholder, or trustee – help to identify the right person who can help us. But in the crowded social media space, making that distinction is often difficult because the most influential among us may not be recognizable by their titles. They may not even have a title at all.

Social media influencers are critical for helping raise awareness of our public library initiatives, so finding them and cultivating relationships must be part of our social media strategy.

One way to identify social media influencers is to use influencer scores, such as Klout or PeerIndex. Here’s a short Q&A about influence and how these services work.

What is influence?
Influence is the ability to change opinion and move others to action. In social media, influence is credibility on a given topic or subject and is reflected in the number of people who follow you and retweet or share your content.

Why is it important?
Influence extends the reach of the messages that you share. It helps you grow followers and raises the viral potential of your posts.

How is it measured?
Several services have attempted to define and then measure social media influence, including Klout, PeerIndex and Kred. (Klout was recently purchased by Lithium, a company that helps brands build social communities, so it may undergo some changes as a result of the acquisition.)

Each service has its own formula for calculating influence, but it’s generally determined by evaluating several factors, such as number of followers, retweets and shares, and conversations. These factors are typically combined into a single score.

Klout, for example, combines several data points from many of your social channels, including fans from Facebook and followers on your blog. It also considers how many high-authority people engage in your shares.

What’s a good Influence score?
Each service varies, but let’s use Klout as an example. Generally speaking, a score of 50 or above means that you are influential in social media.

How can I raise my score?
The best way to raise your score is to be active in your social channels by sharing high-quality, engaging content and interacting with your fans and followers. The more conversations you start and the more often your content is shared, the greater the impact on your score.

Another strategy is to find, follow and interact with the influential people covering your topic.

How to I find influential people to follow?
WeFollow is a great resource for finding the influencers who write about topics relevant to public libraries, including books, librarians, and technology.

Another way is to find and track popular hashtags about your interests, and you’ll discover those Twitter users who are leading the conversation. Check Hashtags.org to find hashtags to follow.

Once you’ve identified a few names, check their Klout score. Then, begin to follow those with a score of 50 or higher. Eventually, you’ll want to begin a conversation with those on your list of influencers. As they respond to your comments and share your content, your influence score will rise.

How do I start a conversation with a key influencer?
Listen first to what they are saying, and once you begin to understand their point of view, you can respond and comment on their posts.

Another good strategy is to mention their comments or posts in your own. A “shout-out” is usually appreciated and can bring you to their attention.

Marketing the Public Library to Millennials

Generation Y

Generation YThey’re college students, entrepreneurs, and job seekers. They’re moms and dads. They’re tech savvy, skeptical, and passionate. And they are 86 million strong – 7% larger than the Baby Boom generation.

They are the Millennials, and they’re a challenging demographic to reach and influence. How can public libraries best market to them?

We might look to President Obama for a few good ideas. The Administration has struggled to get young people to sign up for the new health care law, but recently it hit a home run by trying an unconventional – for a sitting U.S. president – approach. In what might be called a version of the fireside chat, President Obama sat “Between Two Ferns” and traded barbs with Zach Galifianakis.

While some criticized the president for appearing on the show, it was highly effective. Within hours, Funny or Die, the website that hosts “Between Two Ferns,” was the top referrer to www.healthcare.gov.

What can public libraries learn from this? To reach Millennials, it’s helpful to have a good understanding of what captures their attention and motivates them.

Marketing to Millennials can be challenging because after growing up with advertising everywhere, they’ve perfected the ability to ignore it. And because their media consumption is more fragmented – with heavy use of social media – traditional email and advertising are less powerful, according to Dan Schwabel, author of “Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.”

Yet, with so much information only a swipe away, Millennials have become the most informed generation in history. They’re the generation of instantaneous: they want things to be easy to buy, and good quality and service are important. They value organizations that are authentic, so starting a real conversation with them is more important – and more effective – than simply delivering a message.

And although they’re passionate about causes, they’re also relatively less attached to political and religious institutions, according to Pew Research.

Still, with the right approach, there are plenty of ways for public libraries to connect with Millennials. Here are a few ideas:

Appeal to their passions for both causes and parenting. More than half of Millennials say that being a good parent is important to them, according to the Next Web. And many are charity minded and want to get involved with causes. Libraries can tap their enthusiasm as advocates.

Deliver information visually. Millennials gravitate to video, infographics and images, so use these media types to deliver complex messages or to pique their interest with humor.

Partner with local businesses to reach Millennials where they shop, eat, and work out.

Use mobile marketing, including apps and games. Millennials are heavy users of smartphones, particularly for researching information.

Seek the advice of Millennials who work for you on how best to reach their generation. Take advantage of their digital instinct to test messages and marketing campaigns internally before rolling them out.

We can’t all hope to land a spot on a popular Web show, but there are plenty of other marketing opportunities to reach this generation!

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