I am not currently working in a school library but am teaching casually at TAFE. My most recent experience prior to now, however, is teaching primary classes for 13 years, so the library I will focus on will be an hypothetical Australian public school.
An organisation wanting to develop a social networking (SN) marketing strategy should begin by looking at it’s target audience and working out what kind of relationship it wants to build with it’s audience, “based on what they are ready for” (Li, 2007). This also applies to libraries, including school libraries.
The target audience of a school library consists of:
- School administration
Each of these may require a different SN approach according to its needs. A useful model for all the groups, however, is to work through these steps:
- Prepare a written SN plan, including short and long term goals and what you plan to accomplish through your SN (Brown, 2009).
- Collect information about the target audience’s SN experience through a survey or poll and use this to inform decisions.
- Consider the type of SN tools that will best connect with the different sections of the target audience (Brown, 2009). Building different strategies for different sections may be more effective than trying a “one size fits all” approach (Bernoff, 2010). For example, for parents, many of whom may already use SN to connect with friends, a Facebook fan page might be most effective way of connecting with the library. For students, on the other hand, a blog in which comments and postings can be moderated and work can be published may be the best SN tool. A separate blog or twitter feed directed at providing information to teachers and administrators most be the most effective way to serve their needs.
- Remember that traditional communication tools should also be used to complement SN when connecting with users.
Decisions about a school library’s SN strategy should always be made with the final goal of helping the library to improve its service delivery to its users (Harvey, 2009).
Bernoff, J. (2010, 31 January 2011). Social Technographics: Conversationalist get onto the ladder. http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2010/01/conversationalists-get-onto-the-ladder.html.
Brown, A. (2009). Developing and Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy. Salt Lake City Social Media Examiner, (30 July 2009). Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/social-media-in-salt-lake-city/developing-an-effective-social-media-marketing-strategy
Harvey, M. (2009). What Does It Mean to Be a Science Librarian 2.0? Retrieved from http://www.istl.org/09-summer/article2.html
Li, C. (2007, 31 January 2011). Forrester’s new Social Technographics report. http://forrester.typepad.com/groundswell/2007/04/forresters_new_.html.