This project is learning about one type of photo sharing and how it can be used to promote your library and all that is in it and what is going on there. There are other photo sharing websites, but we chose flickr.
What it is:
flickr allows users to upload their photos and then share them with family, friends, or the world. Users can “tag” photos with descriptive words and phrases–what librarians would call keywords—to help users identify and search for photos. flickr took the idea of photo sharing and turned it into an online community.
How it works:
Click here for a short instructional video on how online photo sharing works.
Why it’s useful:
Like many social media sites, flickr allows for a lot of creative ways to share information. Here is a list of libraries on flickr so you can see what kinds of images they are adding to their sites. Libraries are using flickr in a variety of ways to promote themselves. Check out Clemens & Alcuin Libraries to see how they have used flickr. Here is another good example of how to use flickr from San Antonio Public Library on mySAPL photostream. They use flickr to highlight programs, events, historical images and lots more. flickr can be used for libraries to share information with patrons and can also be used by patrons to contribute content to libraries.
Highlight items from rare collections.
Show what’s on the New Book Shelf this week.
Promote your electronic collections by posting selected public domain images to your flickr account, then link back to the main page for that collection or title.
Use a flickr widget to create a dynamic feed of new images from your account to your library web page.
- Embed “slideshows” in blogs or web pages using flickrslider.com.
- Create photo tours of the library to add to your website
- Curate photos on a topic of shared interest or for an event.
Here are 50 ways to use flickr for your library.
Use any keyword(s) (books, library cats, library signs, New York, library, whatever…) to find photos with those tags. When you find an interesting image or group, comment on your experience using flickr to find images and anything else related to the exercise. Upload the image to your blog (be sure to credit the photographer). Don’t forget to include a link to the image in the post.
Now you are ready go to the home page and create an account. You can sign in with Facebook or Google or create a Yahoo account.
Take a photo or two of your library. Perhaps you could have someone take a photo of you and your partner for this project.
Write a post on your blog about your experience with flickr. Embed a flickr photo in your blog for super bragging rights or just to show off
If you run into trouble, you can look here for answers.
More to explore:
1. BigHugeLabs is a website of very fun ways to play with your flickr photos.
Import a photo from flickr and import it into the Motivator tool.
Link your flickr account
After clicking the link below, you will be sent over to flickr where they will explain how you can give your permission for this website to temporarily access your photos (both public and private).
The process is very simple and it is very secure since your password remains private. You can revoke your permission at any time from your flickr account page. After you give permission, you will be returned to this site where you can continue using the toys. Remember, none of this is required to use most of the toys (but there are a lot of cool extras if you do).
Add a caption. Embed it in your blog.
2. The American Library Association has a READ campaign that can be adapted for individual libraries. You may have seen the poster with Oprah? This requires a purchase from ALA, but can be fun to get local “celebrities”, authors and public figures to promote the library. This is how it works. Here are some examples on flickr. Create your own.
Tame The Web: Libraries, Technology and People by Michael Stephens:
Seven Strategies for Marketing in a Web 2.0 World by Darlene Fichter:
The first thing she suggests doing is participating in a Library 2.0 project. Congratulations!! You have that one in the bag. Read on for some specific ideas about marketing:
Seven Ways to Market via Web 2.0
1. Learn about social media. First and foremost, it is critical that library staff participate in and understand social media by learning about it firsthand. Efforts like the Learning 2.0 program (http://plcmcl2-about.blogspot.com) developed by Helene Blowers for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County are great ways to start to explore social software. Fundamentally, marketing in a Web 2.0 world requires us to think in both new and old ways at the same time.
YouTube, del.icio.us, Flickr, digg, MySpace, and Technorati are examples of tools that you need to understand in order to effectively use them to reach your markets.
2. Create a Web 2.0 marketing plan. Web 2.0 marketing efforts can pop up organically and some may already be happening at your library. It is useful to step back and think strategically about where and how you’re going to commit your marketing resources online. Tap into the creativity of your staff and users to create a social media marketing plan. Look at your marketing, customer service, and Web site for natural opportunities and synergies for social media marketing.
Open your mind to radical new ideas that fit the nature of social media. For instance, let your audience create content on your site and pass it along. Try a photo captioner service where they (or you) can submit local photos, add captions, and then share links or send the new photo as a postcard to their friends. Or invite your passionate users to create promotional videos about your library, then use them on your local TV channels and post them online everywhere.
3. Participate! Join the conversation. Social media applications are two-way streets (as opposed to the old one-way messages of standard promotion). There are lots of ways to join in. You can add social tools and services (such as Weblogs, wikis, tagging, video blogs, etc.) to your library Web sites. Enable comments on blogs and allow users to contribute to wikis.
Instead of waiting for our audiences to come to our Web sites or blogs, we can join the conversation wherever it is—on users’ blogs, Web forums, MySpace, course Web sites, team rooms, wikis, etc. (Always respect the norms or conventions for communicating in a particular social medium.)
Discover where your target audiences hang out online and join them. Create a MySpace or Facebook profile for your library like Topeka and Shawnee County (Kan.) Public Library has. (It boasts 1,135 friends!) Build a profile and offer content and services that attract links, contacts, and friends. If your users spend time on Wikipedia, add or improve your library’s entry.
4. Be remarkable. Have something interesting to offer your viewers that they can use, bookmark, and share on- or offline. Social media is a form of viral marketing. Interesting ideas and content get passed along rapidly. Make sure that adding fresh content is a priority whether it’s a new booklist, podcast of an author reading, quirky facts about your community, or a background piece on an upcoming city or organization event.
5. Help your library content travel. Encourage visitors to bookmark and tag your content with a click of a button by posting bookmark buttons on your site. (See samples below.) This can actually be a serious technical challenge for some library sites. It’s important to choose the right content management software so that your Web pages have permanent URLs. Some library search results pages cannot be bookmarked easily; some not at all.
Allow users to repost booklists, book reviews, photos, podcasts, or videos on their own sites.
Creating widgets and toolbars can help keep your library information wherever the users are. John Blyberg developed Go-Go-Google Gadget, which patrons can add to their personal Web pages. Below you can see some downloadable library toolbars.
Post your content on sites like Flickr and YouTube where it’s easy for users to find and share it.
Syndicate everything you can that your audience will find useful. Slice and dice your content for dozens of specialized audiences. Spread the word about what your library has. Make newsfeeds for new materials such as books, DVDs, talking books, and video feeds. Create newsfeeds for your blogs,
blog comments, popular pages, and books just returned. Several libraries have created lists of new books by topic.
6. Be part of the multimedia wave. With more than 100 million video downloads per day, YouTube is too big a marketing opportunity to overlook. Create short videos and post them to YouTube and other video-sharing sites.
Look at creating podcasts. Programs that you’re already doing (story times, book discussions, guest speakers) often lend themselves to being recorded as podcasts. Be sure to set up newsfeeds for releases of audio and video content so your audience can opt in and be notified of new releases.
7. Monitor engagement and learn as you go. Evaluating social media marketing is different than just counting Web site usage or circulation numbers. You want to measure how well your library is doing at engaging the public via social media. And you should measure both the amount and the intensity of the engagement.
Here are some examples of what you need to monitor: How many blog readers do you have? How many comments are posted by how many different visitors? How many people mention your library on their blogs, and how often? Are search engine results predominantly positive or negative? Is your content bookmarked in social bookmarking sites? How many friends and contacts do you have on your profile in social networking sites? How many comments or scrapbook entries are you receiving? How many visitors contribute content to your site (videos, photos, documents, wiki entries)?
Think Creatively, Then Make Good Choices
These are just a few strategies to kick-start your thinking about marketing in a Web 2.0 world. There are a lot of ideas for social media marketing, and the great news for librarians is that they’re usually easy and inexpensive to carry out. The difficulty with Web 2.0 marketing won’t be a lack of strategies and good ideas, but rather choosing which ones to do first.
Marketing this way is fun and creative, and when it really works it can create a big bang. Social media marketing offers you the opportunity to engage your community in new ways and to turn strangers into fans. Fans are your online salespeople who promote your library and its services. If your fans love you and your services, they’ll spread the word.
The key to getting some of the social media airtime is having great, neat stuff that people want to share and discuss. Libraries have treasure troves of great stuff that people love to talk about. Let’s make it easy for our fans to spread the word.
Use any of the tools from the project modules and create something for your library that will promote your services. Do you have an idea of something that should be highlighted in or at your library? Do you want to share staff picks, photos from a children’s event or promote an upcoming lecture? Do you feel confident enough to add video content to your library website? Come up with an idea, get it approved and do it! Let us know how it went. We’d love to hear about your project. Better yet, we’d love to see it on the CPL website!
*This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael Stephens‘ Transformative Literacies class in the Spring of 2012 (LIBR 281-12). This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored by Jody Thomas for Crandall Public Library. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.