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By Beth McGough, Communications and Creative Services Manager
What trends have emerged in social media this year?
How do you determine if a social media trend is right for your library?
New platforms emerge and existing platforms change regularly in the social media world. To maintain a fresh program it is important to check out the latest trends in social media so you know where your patrons are hanging out online.
To determine if a new social media platform is right for your library ask your patrons. Find out what sites and apps they are using. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Dabbling with streaming video or Snapchat doesn’t need to take a lot of staff time and it could pay off in a big way.
Streaming video apps Periscope and Meerkat exploded during the 2015 SXSW conference. Since 2015, Periscope and Facebook Live have emerged as the favorite platforms. But, YouTube’s new live streaming app is one to watch.
If you have a mobile device you can try live streaming video at your library. To determine what service to use, consider what social media sites your community is most active. Periscope is owned by Twitter and Facebook Live is through Facebook, of course.
Before your library’s first broadcast be sure to promote the event through the library’s social channels and in the library. Part of the appeal of live video is the ability to interact with viewers. Take advantage of engagement features to give viewers a great experience. After the event, make the video available to patrons that couldn’t make the live stream.
If your library has socially engaged employees consider expanding the reach of the library’s social media posts with an employee advocacy program. In the context of social media, employee advocacy means activating employees to share the library’s social content.
Employee advocacy programs are also a great way to evangelize social media throughout the library. Reluctant employees are more likely to try social media if they see colleagues using it successfully.
Employee advocacy programs can be simple or take on more complexity depending on the size and culture of the organization. A successful program includes a solid social media policy, program managers and evangelists and ongoing measurement to track the program’s progress.
Messaging apps now have more active users than social networks. If you library is trying to reach teens and millennials understanding messaging apps is important. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Kik are the most popular messaging apps in North America.
Messaging apps are private so it isn’t immediately clear how a library can converse with patrons in this space. Your library can take inspiration from the corporate world. For example, Adidas is using WhatsApp to build hyperlocal communities. Messaging apps are also a natural place for customer service just as email is used for customer service.
Could your library pioneer reference service through messaging apps?