Why Twitter works

Twitter, signified by a little blue bird in relation to the verb “tweeting”, has boomed over the past couple of years. You are limited to 140 characters to say what you want, how is that enough room to express your rant about something significant, but not really, that you dealt with.

Twitter succeeds in my personal opinion because its easy to read, easy to update and a sufficient time filler while you stand in line at Starbucks at 6am to order you steaming hot cup of wake me up, or some other event in which your attention is found in your palm and not elsewhere.

In the library world, Twitter is most effectively used as a megaphone for events, new displays, new books, etc.  UBC (University of British Columbia) libraries used twitter to share with followers the types of reference questions they answered throughout the day. (Fields, 2010) Using Twitter in this unique way encourage interaction with followers. The best application of Twitter in a library is a perfect combination of both. Too much personal can lead to an incorrect view of the library where as too much professional can lead to an incorrect view of the library. Do you see where I am going with this?

SJSU Library uses their twitter account in a such a way. I know by browsing through past tweets I will be abelt of ind just about every event, new exhibit, hour change and new resource that occurred since the birth of @SJSU_kinglib. However, I can also find some inner touches of personality, although I think they could do a better job in spreading that around.

What is your opinion? Let me know @NimbleLibrarian

PS: graphics? no graphics?

-NimbleLibrarian

References:

Fields, E. (2010). A unique twitter use for reference services. Library Hi Tech News, 27(6), 14-15

Spartans Market Successfully

San Jose State University King Library

I selected the King Library as my marketing critique focus. The library has a well rounded presence on the web; outside of their website they market themselves through the following ways:
Twitter: @SJSU_kinglib
Facebook: SJSU King Library and
Google+: SJSU King Library
Bi-Annual Newsletter: SJSU King Library Newsletter

I will discuss how they engage themselves with these applications as well as address any improvements I see that might benefit the library. These points made are my observations only and do not included insight from the employees of the King Library.

I have a twitter feed, @nimblelibrarian, I started out following @SJSU_kinglib they have a small following of 240 twitters and within 30 minutes I was being followed back, this response time impressed me. Followed by this prompt new follower I browsed past tweets and gathered a feel of what exactly the King Library wanted its followers to know. They are supportive of other SJSU accounts, re-tweeting campus club announcements, local reference desk, local public libary, and the main SJSU feed. This past Friday I tweeted, “Its Friday, I want rain, soup and a good book”  @nimblelibrarian. I do not have a following, as I have just started developing my own brand, so you can imagine my excitement when I was re-tweeted by @SJSU_kinglib .

The impression made to me so far by the King Library was positive. Along with simple recognitions of their followers, they advertised upcoming events & exhibits taking place in the library.

The King Library also uses Facebook to expand their web presence. The Facebook page for the library was born, August 31, 2011. It is barely a year old, which surprised me as I thought they would have started using it earlier. The Facebook page did not impress me as much as the twitter feed did but it did not let me down either. The library uses images often with corresponding posts are which often about upcoming events or exhibits. Due to the nature of these posts it was difficult to see a “real” person behind them; they felt more like an automatic response you get when you apply to a job. That being said I came across one post that teased with personality, a post about the San Jose Falcons. (see post below)

 
This post encourages student to come to the library for non-library things instead of research, study, computers, etc. It is important to capture and include your target audience, in this case students, in your posts. This post had 3 likes and 3 comments, higher than most posts on the page.

Another concern was that the response time to student complaint posts was around a full day.   I saw to complaints, one directed at noisy patrons and the other directed at the Library Wi-Fi, response time for both around 24 hours. For the complaint directed towards noisy patrons the response was okay, because they requested information to report it. The complain directed to the library, “Please fix the Wifi connection. I really want to stay in the library to study. I can’t study at home!!!!!!!” needed to be addressed much earlier than 24 hours later because the student was studying and needed the Wi-Fi at that moment. I’d recommend tot he King Library to reduce the response time to posts like these, in order to be more helpful throughout their web presence. 

The Google+ account, created September 2011, is very much like the King Library Facebook page, posts are almost identical. On Nov. 4, 2011 one of the first posts to receive any follower response included the response from SJSU King Library thanking them for their support, +1 to their rapport. I critique this in their marketing because it is vital to acknowledge those who follow you, your “fans” as you will. However, this unfortunately fades in to the background after a couple more posts and the acknowledgment is no longer made.  It is important to keep it up, even if you only have a handful of fans, appreciate them. 

As I made my way through the main applications SJSU King Library uses to expand their online presence there are few things that I want need to address.  First, bravo to their consistent posting even with a mediocre following. Second, thank you for re-tweeting, just a small gesture that shows their acknowledgment of their followers.

They have a strong grasp of how to use these services to spread the word about what is happening in the library however they need to focus on expanding their following. SJSU has an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students, their followings hit around 300, that is 1% of the school.  I suggest they do this in multiple ways including:

1. Engage your followers – encourage comments in your posts and tweets. The more engaging you are the more interaction you will receive. Use posts for an opportunity to get survey responses from students, “Did you attend the Day of the Dead exhibit?”
2. Express personality beyond events and exhibit posting. Add to your newspaper a comic strip, for example talk about the employees and what they enjoy, make the library more personal.
3. Quicken your response time to posts. 24 hours for a response to  a wi-fi complaint is useless to the patron.  
4. Create a blog. Blogs are a great way to move above and beyond hours and event posts, of course I do not think I need to tell you that.

This being said, SJSU King Library markets their library services well, events, exhibits, hours, changes, etc. If their brand is “A library that keeps their students informed of events happening on campus” then they nailed it, no matter how boring that sounds. I recommend really exploiting the personality of the library, there are a great deal of employees their and I am sure they are not all boring.