Facebook for Kansas Libraries

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The following is a guest post from David Lee King, Digital Branch and Services Manager at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. David blogs at www.davidleeking.com on the social web, emerging trends, and libraries. NEKLS welcomes guest posts from staff at our member libraries. Please contact Heather Braum if you are interested in contributing to the website.

What if there was a way for your library to get the attention of 51% of your local community? For free? Would you do it? I’m guessing so.

Guess what? There IS a way to potentially do that – by using Facebook! Edison Research (they do market research studies, among other things) recently announced that 51% of Americans age 12+ are using Facebook. And this stat is rapidly growing. Some other interesting Facebook facts on the average Facebook user:

  • They have 130 friends
  • They make 8 friend requests per month
  • They spend 15 hours a month on using Facebook
  • They visit Facebook 40 times a month, and spend 23 minutes per visit
  • They are connected to 80 organizational Facebook Pages, Groups, and Events

Nice statistics, David – but what does this mean for Kansas Libraries and librarians? A couple of things. For starters, you really should be using Facebook. First as an individual, then as a library. Why individual first? Easy – in order to create a library Facebook Page, you have to have a personal Facebook profile. One that’s actually you – no accounts with fake names, or special “library-use-only” accounts. Doing that actually goes against Facebook’s Terms of Service.

Organizationally, once you have your library’s Facebook Page created, here are some things to do for starters:

  1. Fill out the Info page. Add your library’s address and URL, phone number, and hours of operation. Think about adding an email address or a way to ask a question. What would a Facebook user need to know to visit your library? To use your services? Answer those types of questions on the Info page.
  2. Facebook profile picture – take a picture and set it for your profile. This can be a good photo of your library building, a close-up photo of a friendly librarian, or even your library’s logo.
  3. Status Updates = starting conversations. People are using Facebook to connect and to talk. They like “Liking” things and leaving comments. You might start out by asking a simple question – something like “what are you reading tonight?” Then figure out how to continue that conversation!
  4. Events – think about using Facebook Events for some of your library’s events and programs. Why? When you create an Event in Facebook, you can send the event notification out to people who have friended (“Liked”) your library’s Facebook Page. At my library, we actually get people attending events because “you invited me!” They saw the Event notice in their Facebook stream, and attended the event.
  5. Friending and target markets. Friend your community. In Topeka, we friend people who live in Shawnee county – our service area. Also think about a target market, and focus content on that group of people. Hint – it won’t necessarily be teens. Check out your Facebook Page’s Insights (monthly usage statistics) to see the age range of people using your Page, then focus on that age range for starters.
  6. Set some goals. How often will you post? How many friends do you want? Think through some more involved strategies, too – things like how much conversation do you want, or how much engagement with patrons should you be getting via Facebook.
  7. Measure and adjust as needed. Are you meeting the goals you created in #6 above? You won’t know unless you measure it – another reason to take a peek at Facebook Insights.

One more for good measure – Have fun! Facebook users love to interact – that’s why they signed up for Facebook in the first place.

Want to know more about Facebook? Check out my article about Facebook in American Libraries Magazine. Feel free to check out Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library’s Facebook Page, too!

And find NEKLS on Facebook, as well. Is your library on Facebook? Have you found it useful connecting with your community? Leave a comment letting us know how you’re using Facebook at your library!

About the Author

Heather Braum Heather Braum is the NExpress Coordinator and Resource Sharing Librarian at NEKLS. She can be reached by phone, by email (hbraum (at) nekls.org), or through several online chat services (look Heather up by her email address). Visit the Staff page to learn more about when to contact Heather.