Thursday, December 31, 2009

Don't Be Afraid to Try Something Completely Different This Year

I love January 1! It begins a new year full of possibilities and opportunities. All of the ideas we have been pondering throughout the year can come to fruition in our plans for the new year. That is what marketing is all about. Learning from our successes and failures, honing campaigns to reach more people, and trying new venues.

Try some of these ideas to strengthen your efforts in the new year:
  • Use your logo on EVERYTHING to promote awareness.
  • Look at your programs or services through the eyes of your patrons and clients. What is exciting or unique? Promote from that thought pattern.
  • Create a LinkedIn account to establish yourself professionally.
  • Read your local newspaper and once per quarter send an e-mail to a reporter complimenting him or her on a piece s/he wrote. Just like all of us, they don't hear enough positives.
  • Join your local Chamber and attend at least one event per month. Become recognizable in your community.
  • Offer to speak at local civic groups like Kiwanis, Rotary, Optimist, and others to get your message out and give back by educating your community.
  • For each program, service, or event, try one new marketing effort.
  • Sign up for a Twitter account and find five people to follow that inspire you. Start by checking the account every Tuesday and Thursday morning.
  • Conduct a survey with your patrons and ask how they would like to receive information: e-mail, snail mail, advertising, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Use the feedback for your next campaign and see if it makes a difference.
  • Have a social media lunch once per month. Meet with your co-workers, staff, and superiors to see what everyone is trying. What blogs are people following? Who are they following on Twitter? What are the tweens and teens talking about? Are any of these worthy of trying?
  • Remove 'this is how we've always done it' from your vocabulary. Make a penalty jar for anyone who says it in your office.
Marketing is so much fun. It allows us to be limitless in our creativity, to reach new people, and to discover a program or service all over again. This year, don't be afraid to try something completely different.

Have a fabulous new year!

Twitter: laurieboettcher

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Love Me Some Social Media

This holiday season I was blessed to be surrounded by family. It was even more special because a cousin, whom I simply adore, flew in for a snowy Wisconsin Christmas. My cousin is a very intelligent, accomplished, and apparently 'connected' twenty-something. While we were snacking, she was texting; while we were opening presents, she was posting pictures to Facebook as fast as she could take them; and while we were visiting, she was quoting dialogue on her Twitter.

Okay, now we all know that I love me some social media, but WHOA! This experience got me thinking. First and foremost, nothing can replace living in the moment. 

Second, social media is about connection. I have talked about this in many posts. Michelle Johnson, library director at Hammond Public Library, had a recent status update that read "Getting set to ring in the New Year with fresh ideas and new programs at the library and for the community." I know her, so I know that she probably is bursting with excitement for the programs her library has planned. It goes back to people building relationships with people. Show character in any of your correspondence to build that connection and make people want more.

Third, just like our posters, brochures, fliers, bookmarks, advertisements, commercials, interviews, etc., social media is just another tool. Each of our marketing tools is an attempt to reach a niche audience. Marketing is about balance - balancing the right tool with the right audience to achieve spectacular results.

Now, go love you some social media, too!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

To Tweet or Not to Tweet?

Twitter is hands-down the number one venue for microblogging. Its 140 character tweets allow tweeple quick access to messages from those they follow. The Twitter lexicon alone is too much fun. But why use it? Maybe you are on LinkedIn or have a Facebook Fan Page or even follow some blogs. (If you do any of those - YAY YOU!!!) So, why use Twitter, too?

I am a Twitterholic, well kind of. A person can only keep up on so much. I use Twitter for several reasons. Personally, it allows me to follow some of my favorite celebs. How else would I know what Stevie Nicks, Eddie Izzard, or Oprah are up to? Professionally, it allows me to send out short messages to my followers directing them to information that might benefit them. Blogs are awesome. If they weren't, I would not be doing this one. But, often times people do not have time to read blogs in their entirity. Tweets can be a quick plug for an event, reminder of a service, direction to a blog entry, thought-provoking comment, or whatever you want it to be. Twitter also allows me to follow some professionals I believe are on the cutting edge, which gives me access to their knowledge.

Have a Twitterific holiday season!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What I've Learned From Libraries

The latest buzz on Twitter, what all of the social media gurus are talking about, is the need to be more authentic and human - how to deal with our patrons more personally. 

This seriously made me laugh out loud. One of the many, many things I have learned from working with the fabulous libraries in our System is that librarians don't get any more real or personable. Ya'all have that market cornered. 

Some library directors know more about their patrons than their doctors, shrinks, and pastors combined.  Every day, you fight for the rights of your community to have the access owed to them through their tax dollars. Access to all of the materials they could dream of, computers and wi-fi, research and reference materials that would cost anyone without a library card a ton of money, and fun and engaging programs.

So, although I will continue on my quest in encouraging you to grasp the reigns of social media and ride, your element of personalism cannot be denied or replaced. Keep this character on your Facebook Fan Page, in your Tweets, and all of your marketing materials. People build relationships with people.

I am leaving IFLS the end of January, but will continue to advocate for libraries and teach workshops here and there. Those of you who subscribe to my blog, I will continue to be a cheerleader for your efforts and hope to give you new and inspiring ideas.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Web Sites Are More Important Than Ever

With all of this talk of Web 2.0 and social media, what about our web sites? Chances are that you, too, have spent a lot of time, money, and resources developing and maintaining a web site presence. So, what happens to it now if we are suppose to be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, etc.?

Our web sites are actually more important than ever. Social media is a dialog. It gives our patrons a community to share ideas, promote programs and services, and build relationships with us. A web site is where they go for more information. Where they find the meat of who we are and the details they are seeking. Think of it as social media being the bait and the web site being the catch.

Once the catch is made and a patron visits our web site, it better serve his/her needs or the effort is lost. This is why web sites are more important than ever. Web sites need to be clean, clear, consistent, easily navigable, and current. And, don't even get me started on branding - making sure your image is properly portrayed. Anyone who has attended one of my workshops knows that is the foundation of all marketing efforts.

So, let's make sure our web sites are as cool, trendy, and current as our social media use so we don't lose the catch.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One Size Does NOT Fit All

Last night I was reading Lisa Gerber's blog, The 26-Hour Day, and the topic of her latest post not only made me laugh, but she hit the nail on the head and really made me think. She wrote, "Social media has different challenges for those in small towns. It's like waiting for the party to start."

She's so right in so many aspects. Born, raised, and still living in small towns and rural communities, I know first-hand that we DO have different challenges. We're not as connected to the mainstream or taken by the madness. BUT, we have an advantage - by the time social media made it to us, the experts had worked out many of the kinks and the strongest social media venues had become evident.

Social media is not a craze, this really is a powerful new way of marketing. It is not, however, a one-size-fits-all guaranteed success. With each marketing campaign we do for an event, new program, new service, or whatever, we do our research, do our very best, and then hope our strategy was on track and works. Social media is no different. It's another tool in our belt that helps us reach our target audience. But, it only reaches that audience if we actually do it.

Set aside some time and play with some tools. See how colleagues and patrons are using social media, ask what site or blogs they visit, and try some of them out.

Check out Lisa Gerber's Blog, The 26-Hour Day, at:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do You Want the World to See?

Everyone, especially those leery of social media, talks about privacy concerns. As well we should be. When we post/publish something on a social media site, or anywhere on the web, we need to be prepared that this is now out there for all of the world to see. For this reason, it is crucial that we familiarize ourselves with the privacy policy on each social media site we participate.

Also, follow these simple guidelines:

• Never write something you wouldn't want your mother, pastor, best friend, or employer to see or read.
• Do not bad mouth your employer or employees. It is unprofessional and could cost you your job.
• Make sure you know and are comfortable with your privacy settings.
• Do not feel obligated to accept everyone as a friend, connection, or other. Share information with who YOU want to share.
• Remember that you have control of your online identity. It is a reflection of who you are personally and professionally. What are you portraying?


Thursday, December 3, 2009

LinkedIn for Job Recruiting

Jobvite announced earlier this year that 80% of companies they surveyed use or are planning to use social networking to find and attract job candidates this year. That is a startling statistic. "Additionally, recruitment and human resource professionals are using a variety of online sites to research candidates: LinkedIn (76%), search engines (67%), Facebook (44%), and Twitter (21%)."

Knowing this information and the fact that our libraries have become increasingly important job search tools for our communities in these economic times, doesn't this demonstrate the importance of us being more fluent in social media?

Giving a patron knowledge about creating a profile on LinkedIn could give them an advantage in their job search. How so? Respondents in the Jobvite survey reported that 24% of candidates disclose their social networking presence when applying for a job. Employers can see a more complete picture of a candidate's professional experience, education, community involvement, association membership, and even recommendations from former employers, co-workers, and clients. Hiring employees is expensive, so this is an invaluable tool for employers.

Don't have knowledge about LinkedIn yourself? Attend a workshop. Library Directors all over the country have profiles on LinkedIn. It is not just for job searchers; it allows you to create a professional profile about yourself to let your community, peers, and even your Board, know who you are.

Get LinkedIn today.

Special thanks to Jobvite.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2010 Marketing Plans

As the year is winding down, we are prepping for a new year with (in some cases) significantly decreased budgets. I have been promoting social media long enough now that we know how and why it can help us reach target markets with the only cost being our time. But how are we incorporating social media into our 2010 marketing plans?

Don't break my holiday spirit and tell me you forgot.

IFLS is offering helpful social media workshops in 2010 that will help alleviate any fears we may have. In January, I am presenting a Facebook Fan Pages for Libraries workshop along with four Social Media 101 workshops for patrons at various System libraries. In October, Leah has booked library icon DAVID LEE KING! I could seriously not be more excited about meeting him and attending his workshop. It is a 'do not miss' opportunity.

Let's include social media in our 2010 marketing plans so we can usher in a new era and communicate with our patrons on a medium they use and appreciate.