It is vital for libraries to market themselves to promote existing services and their worth to their community of users.
Marta Kagan’s presentation What is Social Media Now, makes it clear that social media is an area libraries cannot afford to ignore when it comes to marketing and AnnaLaura Brown’s blog post, Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing strategy highlights the importance of being specific and having something written down. It is also important to market the the library in a way that reaches the target audience, in this case a primary school library, whose patrons include students, teachers parents and administration.
If the whole point of marketing is to find out what users’ wants are and then fulfil them then it is easy to see Li and Bernoff’s point that listening to the “groundswell” is imperative, even in terms of a small primary school. Burkhardt’s Four Reasons Libraries Should be on Social Media illustrates why web 2.0 tools, which encourage two way interaction, need to be utilized to create a dialogue which can clarify what users want, how they access information and their opinions of existing services.
A draft marketing plan for a school library then may look something like this:
1. A Vision and mission statement clearly outlining the overall aim of the school library.
2. A situational analysis which illustrates the social media habits of the target audience, in this case staff, students and parents, that is, finding out how and why patrons access information.
3. Clear goals and objectives for meeting the needs and wants of the target audience based on the situational analysis.
4. An outline of strategies for meeting these goals. These might include: regular input in the school newsletter; posters and flyers around the school; a link to the library website on the school webpage; regular emails to staff, parents and students and perhaps, if deemed useful, a Facebook page and/or Twitter account.
5. A statement of a clear message the library wants to convey, depending on the patrons identified wants. For example, if the school community mainly wants to use the library for research then the message might simply be “ask a librarian”.
6. An outline of any expenditure and how this will fit into the library budget. Many social media sites are free but it would have to be decided how much time could be spent during the day to maintain these.
7. A time frame for achieving the plan’s goals and for evaluating their success. A marketing strategy would have to be realistic in terms of achievable goals and would need to be reviewed regularly to remain useful and relevant.
Bernhoff, J., & Li, C. (2008). Excerpt. In Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Retrieved from http://www.forrester.com/groundswell/book.html
Brown, A. (2009, July 30). Developing an effective social media marketing strategy [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/social-media-in-salt-lake-city/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy
Burkhardt, A. (2009, August 25). Four reasons libraries should be on social media [Web log post]. Retrieved January 27, 2012, from http://andyburkhardt.com/2009/08/25/four-reasons-libraries-should-be-on-social-media/
Kagan, M., (2008). What is social media now? [Slideshow]. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/mzkagan