University Libraries Facebook Management Strategies Presented at the 2011 Indiana Library Federation Conference
It’s no secret that Facebook can play an important role in connecting with students and faculty, and the Libraries have had great success in using Facebook to promote the Libraries’ resources, events, and services for research, learning, and classroom instruction. While Facebook itself is easy to use, creating, building, and maintaining a Facebook presence requires careful planning, strategy, and effort.
Following the success of the University Libraries’ Facebook page, which has just exceeded 2,500 “likes,” Bethany C. Fiechter, Laura M. Mulligan, and Katie Bohnert decided that the Indiana Library Federation annual conference, in November 2011 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, would be the perfect venue to share their advice for creating and maintaining a lively academic library’s Facebook page. Other members of the Facebook Working Group helped develop content for the presentation.
Titled “A Journey to Reach Users Where They Are: Facebook as a Digital Portal to Your Library,” the presentation focused on practical tips to make an academic library’s Facebook page more than just a virtual notice board. It included tips for:
- Developing and incorporating interesting content (including photos, videos, and meaningful links)
- Dealing with common challenges (user comments and advertising from other Facebook accounts) and planning for new content during academic breaks
- Maintaining a working group of page administrators and advisors to ensure input from all areas of the University Libraries, allowing for a constant stream of new ideas
- Crafting, maintaining, and advancing a social media policy that supports the academic library
- Developing a strategic plan
A highlight of the presentation was a discussion and demonstration of Facebook’s “Insights” (statistics) function, which is an essential tool for assessing the reach of a library’s Facebook page. This utility allows page administrators to compile detailed data about users who interact with the page, including the number of active users (monthly, weekly, and daily), demographic information (gender, age, and location), how often tabs are viewed, and the top external referrers (Web sites the users are coming from).
Marketing of a libraries’ Facebook page was another key feature of the presentation. A simple, yet often overlooked, strategy is to claim a Facebook marketing URL.
Presenters also discussed adding prominent links to library home pages, illustrating posters with QR codes, and including links in email signatures, among other strategies.
The presentation was well attended. The meeting room at the Allen County Public Library was full and there were some attendees standing in the back.
Questions from the audience ranged from “How do you view the Facebook ‘Insights’?” to “Do you post to the page on the weekends?” to “How do you get that app?” Attendees remarked (in-person and on Twitter) that they found the presentation to be refreshingly practical — and that they appreciated the hints and tips about ways to boost interaction with and measure the success of a library’s Facebook page.
Pictured: Members of the Facebook Working Group. Front row (L-R): Amy L. Edmonds, Laura M. Mulligan, James S. Shimkus, Katie Bohnert, Back row: Amy E. Trendler, James A. Bradley, Bethany C. Fiechter, Bradley C. Johnston, Robert L. Seaton
For more information, contact Laura M. Mulligan, Information Services Librarian. ◙