Here is a second post about cool tools and strategies for marketing libraries that I picked up from a day at the Internet Librarian conference October 20-22, 2008, Monterey, CA. The 2008 conference theme was "Beyond 2.0: User-Focused Tools & Practices". I stayed with Track #2: Outreach & Marketing Public Libraries in a 2.0 World.
Sarah Houghton-Jan, Senior Librarian for Digital Futures, San Jose Public Library and Aaron Schmidt, Director, North Plains Public Library presented on "Digital Marketing: Successful Plans/Organizations". Here is their topic description, followed by my notes.
"A digital environment requires that library web managers think about outreach in a very different way. Our users may still frequent brick-and-mortar community establishments, but they spend more and more time online, in both solitary and social endeavors. Howdo we, as their libraries, reach out to these users to help them find information? How do we reach them on their turf? Where is their turf? Learn about ways for all libraries to find potential users online. Where to spend your time to get the most bang for your buck and staff hours will be the focus, with tips for community websites, search engine placement, live assistance options, social networking sites, and much more. Take away a lengthy checklist of ideas to take back to your libraries to successfully create an ongoing online marketing plan. " Aaron and Sarah each provided a fast-paced list of digital marketing ideas. Don't just read this checklist, consider this a homework assignment for marketing your library.
- Check your library information in all the library directories, including: libdex, mapmuse, libraries 411, PublicLibrary.
- Blog search engines. Submit your library RSS feeds to 15 sites at once by using Feed Submitter. See also Robin Good's list of where to submit your blog and feed.
- Blog GEO search engines. Examples include frapper, feedmap, blogwise (if you register your blog entry at Blogwise, it will be placemarked on their Google Maps mashup, as well as on Google Earth via NetworkLink), gfeedmap
- Wikipedia - make sure there is information about your library.
- Search engine findability - search for variations of your library's name.
- BUY AdWords from Google (not much $); Consider buying search engine optimization.
- WIFI is king. If you offer wireless, LIST YOUR LIBRARY! See wififreespot, wifihotspot, wifinder, wifi411.
- Community Website presence. See eventful, upcoming.org, americantowns, LibraryThingLocal.
- Link: your library URL -- see who is linking to you.
- Social Review websites like YELP.com If you have 5 good reviews, you get a star. Use good library tesitimonials!
- Where are people looking for phone numbers? Be sure to see if your information (library, YMCA) is correct. Look at Google Maps, Yahoo Local, Askcity. [also AT&T YellowPages.com or "how to"]
- Make your Audio/Visuals findable. If you create podcasts, videos, be sure to list them in: YouTube, GoogleVideo, BlipTV, blinky, singingfish, hahoo podcasts, podcast.net, podcast allys.
- Social Networking. Create profile for your library on one or more sites such as MySpace, facebook, Flickr, and ning
- Find LOCAL blogs and interact with them: Blogs by city, blogdiggerlocal, metroblogging
- Find LOCAL forums, like continuing education.
- BookSpace. Blog for the community to talk about books, book events, book clubs, etc. Feature readers (people)
- "Expert" sites - list your librarian specialists. Examples: allexperts.com, ziki, illumio, yedda, "Slam the Beards", AskMeta
- PUSH the information OUT! Invest in newsletter software ($), get e-mail addresses from ILS, send periodically (no spam), variety of features.
- Wikopedia. Be sure your library is in Wikopedia and talk it up!
- URLs. Register various URLs for your library. (name spelled out, abbreviated, etc) See http://:wccls.lib.us/polaris
- I.M. - Instant messaging. This is a primary form of communication for teens; It is free and easy, choose a cool screen name.
- Text Messaging - Cell phones and SMS, overdue notices and holds, TXT-a-librarian combines IM and Text Messaging into one social networking tool.
- Twitter - short information. Don't overdo! Good for event updates, etc.
- Library Secrets - Great name for library tips and how-tos. [love this idea!]
- Second Life - takes too much time right now, but 3D will get better.
- Final comment by Sarah: Be a technology leader in your community.