About eight years ago, I was asked to help run my library’s Twitter account. We didn’t have designated marketing staff, we were just starting to build our presence on social media, and I had no idea where to start. Thankfully I was working with a brilliant fellow librarian turned marketing guru who taught me a few things.
Now with eight years of Tweeting for libraries on top of maintaining a personal Twitter account and a quasi-famous librarian parody account under my belt…I still can’t claim to be a pro. However, over time I have come to mostly recognize what works and what works not so well when promoting your library’s resources and services on Twitter.
That being said, here are my go-to’s for Tweeting for my library:
Tweet about books (and other materials) you and your coworkers love
Twitter is great for marketing the materials in your collection, and adding a personal touch will help it go that much further. Patrons love staff picks and recommendations from librarians. #FridayReads, #WeekendReads and #whatareyoureading are all fun hashtags that you can use with these tweets, or you could start one that’s specific to your library (i.e. #LPLstaffpicks) so you can easily curate a list of picks exclusive to your library.
Tweet @ authors
If you’re sharing a staff pick of a book and the author is on Twitter, tag them! Most authors love to know that their books are in libraries and that librarians are loving, promoting and supporting their work. And they might just respond. Even if it is just a like, it’s a wonderful feeling!
Tweet links to bookish web content
Does your library have a blog? Easy Twitter fodder! No? Book Riot, Buzzfeed, Read Brightly — there are tons of popular bookish blogs and websites out there. If you are strapped for time and can’t create content, these sites produce perfect articles and lists to share daily. And it’s OKAY to share other libraries’ blog posts too! You’re helping your patrons discover new books they could come back to you to get.
These are just a few of the blogs and websites I’ve got bookmarked:
Tip: Tweets with images tend to get the most engagement. Most of the time, Twitter will pull a featured image from a website when you share a link. I like to test a link by pasting the URL in the mobile Twitter app, because it will load a featured image while you’re composing the Tweet. If it doesn’t, I’d recommend finding and attaching a relevant image.
Tweet @ other libraries and bookish accounts
Especially if you’re sharing their content, it’s great to tag other libraries and bookish accounts. They may like, reply to or retweet your post, which will increase your reach. Also, interact by replying to, liking and retweeting content. This is the number one way to build a following!
Tweet @ local businesses, organizations, and groups
Just like with other libraries and bookish accounts, it’s great to interact with businesses, organizations and groups in your community by sharing, liking and retweeting them. This helps your reach, helps you stay aware of what’s happening in your community, and helps your library in its goal of connecting people with resources in your community.
Tip: If you or your library administrators are concerned about promoting/endorsing businesses and organizations as a public institution, consider developing a policy stating that Tweets aren’t endorsements or other guidelines on what’s acceptable.