I recently attended the CILIP West Midlands Member Network Annual Member’s Day. The day’s speakers had a focus of marketing and promotion for Libraries, and it was actually really interesting, because the speakers kept repeating each other, especially about how blogging is the future of Social Media – if only because as a platform it will outlive everything else!
Because my notes for the day get a bit repetitive, I’m trying something new with my write up, so please bare with me! As a member of the organising committee for the event I didn’t take my notes during the day, but rather wrote a list of ‘takeaways’ that had stuck with me afterwards, which I have written up below. Both Neil Infield and Adam Koszary spoke on the subject of Social Media, Neil from a Small Business point of view and Adam from a Library Promotion point of view. Their sessions were generally very different from each other but I think this made it all the more interesting when they were stressing the same good practices. We also heard from Andy Ryan, who directs CityRead London who spoke about promotion from an events planning point of view, but again she repeated something Adam said about not being afraid to take risks, which again emphasised the importance of their point.
There was also a session from Nick Poole, Chief Executive at CILIP, but I want to write about this separately and will post a link here when I have published it.
Blogging is key – both Social Media speakers agreed on this point – it creates new and updated content for your website, as well as populating your various Social Media streams with regular content, which in turn helps drive traffic back to your website (and therefore to your business/service). Blogging platforms are also more secure long term than Social Media, Social Media platforms will come and go, but your website will remain (even if you end up changing service provider/blog platform etc)
Blog post titles should fully explain the article content (no mysterious riddles!) and all important points should be summarised in the first paragraph, for two reasons: 1) Google will include some of this in the search results so it will help inform readers why they should open your site, as well as meaning Google finds the relevant key words from the search term 2) skim readers won’t necessarily make it to the bottom of the page, make you point early and then back it up, rather than only making your point at the end of the page.
Good blog posts include images and are a suitable length for the audience (as a general rule, no longer than 500 words, but there are examples of longer posts working well, particularly in academia).
You need to clearly define your target audience and define what you want to achieve out of your social media channels.
Make use of Twitter’s trending topics to know what people are talking about – even if you use the subject on a different platform! Signing up for a Google+ page will also make your service more findable online, as Google includes these in search results! (Often worth having simply for this purpose, even if you don’t then populate it regularly)
Most Social Media platforms are image centric, as they are attention grabbing as users go through their feeds.
When using Twitter, make a point of engaging with your followers (the point of the platform is to have conversations!)
Two speakers both said “Don’t be afraid of taking risks!” (Adam and Andy) Marketing is iterative, you need to constantly evaluate what works and what doesn’t (and keep going/stop as appropriate) but you need to try new things as well as sticking with what has worked in the past. Don’t let fear of mistakes stop you – and it’s only a mistake if you don’t learn something from it!
For Andy, who spoke a lot about event promotion, a programme of events and marketing are intertwined: you can’t have one without the other.