Interesting Uses of Technology: Social Media

In continuation of our July theme of "interesting uses of technology," we've collected tips and resources to help you use social media.

With social media you can develop an online presence in your community that creates and nurtures a truly communicative culture. In today's economy, it's vital to be visible, to develop relationships across demographics, and to use any resource you can to tell your library's story. Social media can help demonstrate how lives are being transformed by sharing the impact of your programs and services. Plus, it's no secret that elected officials, voters, and funders all need to understand the importance of libraries in today's society. Social media can help reach those key stakeholders.

Why Should You Be Interested?

Read Social Networks and Marketing: the Lester Public Library Experience for a great example of why organizations should use social media tools. Library director Jeff Dawson shares how social media enabled him to quickly, easily, and inexpensively connect with his new rural community. And did you know that the Library of Congress archives public tweets on Twitter? Social media is definitely here to stay.

How to Get Started

Check out these helpful resources to learn about the most used social media tools.

  1. Read TechSoup's Social Media Curriculum. You can also use this site as a great resource for educating others by sharing the videos and resources with them. The tips, videos, and links will help you build your community connections through fundraising, telling your story, SEO, partnering, promoting events and much more!
  2. View the archived webinar 10 Social Media Tips & Secrets for the most important social media best practices that Heather Mansfield has learned from spending over 40 hours a week for the last 4 years on social networking sites. From the basics [how many status updates should I post each day on Facebook?] to the advanced [should we be on Foursquare?], this webinar cuts through hype and demonstrates clearly where the ROI is – and where it is not.
  3. Facebook is one of the most popular social networking services, and is expected to have one billion users next month. If you are like me and still resisting moving to the Facebook timeline, you may need to read about the changes and find out how to implement the new features in our post DIY Your Library Facebook Timeline. "With a little forethought, know-how, and creative reuse of the resources you have on hand, you can take advantage of these changes to tell your organization's story in a fresh way." 

How to Become a Social Organization

At a recent Online Community Meetup, Maria Ogneva, Director of Community for Yammer, shared the differences between organizations that merely use social media and ones that are social organizations. Read the recap on our blog to find out why you should focus on more than just the number of followers you have and how to make the shift to having a communicative organizational culture. Learn to take the next step to become a holistic, learning-based social business.

Ah, That's Interesting

So much about social media is still new and changing that it seems interesting in everyday use. But how are organizations tweaking these services to best accomplish their service goals and build relationships? Here are a few success stories and ideas to implement:

  • Sharing Local Knowledge

    Escondido Public Library is capturing community stories with video and sharing the videos and podcasts on their website and social networking sites.
  • Social Media for Volunteer Managing and More

    Helpful tips and strategies for effectively using social media to find, communicate with, and build community among volunteers. 
  • The Art of Tech: Zero1 Festival App to Capture the Crowd

    A nonprofit arts organization creatively developed and implemented a unique social media strategy to promote an event. They held a weekend hackathon to bring together a mix of coders, developers, designers, artists, and thinkers that helped them create a powerful app to help people connect at their festival.
  • Great Events with Social Media for Nonprofits & Eventbrite

    View this webinar recording by experts Ritu Sharma and Dawn Andreas to discover valuable strategies for raising funds and connecting with current and future supporters. For little to no cost, social media can help you increase attendance and funding.
  • How to Run a Tweet Chat

    Want to host a twitter party? Tweet chats bring Twitter users together to have a discussion on a pre-designated topic, sometimes functioning as a means to provide online training on a subject. All the steps you need to follow are included in this post. 

How are you using social media in interesting ways? Share in the comments so we can all learn from you.