Over the past few months, we’ve discussed social media marketing ideas pertaining to Facebook and QR codes. In keeping with the theme, let’s talk about Twitter. Between the hashtags and retweets, Twitter can be a bit intimidating. The format looks confusing at times and, when you finally do figure out #whatthismeans, you only have 140 characters to speak your mind. Despite the challenges, Twitter can be a great way for libraries to grow circulation.
Twitter is a valuable asset if you know how to use it. For example, you can link your followers to your digital collection URL and provide highlights of your most recent purchases. If you’ve preordered some new titles recently (Harry Potter, perhaps?), let your followers be the first to know so they can join the waiting list for when the titles go live. If you’re planning a library event, such as in- person training classes, you can use Twitter to provide a link to more information about the event. You can even link to Facebook events on your Twitter account.
Hash tags and retweets
When Facebook first became available to everyone (instead of just college students), there was a bit of confusion surrounding buzzwords like “wall posts,” “likes” and “pokes,” but this terminology has become commonplace. The same is beginning to happen with Twitter, but if you’re still in the dark, here’s a crash course on important Twitter lingo.
@: When a username is preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile.
#: A Hashtag (#) is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet to help categorize similar messages. If you want to start a conversation on a specific topic (trend), simply include a hashtag preceding the term at the end of your tweet. For example: “I love downloading books from my library for free! #OverDrive.” I could then easily find any tweets related to this topic by searching for #OverDrive. This is a great way to see ongoing conversations about topics or events your library has created.
RT: To retweet (RT) is simply to forward someone else’s message on to your followers. For instance, if you found a link to an article from Library Journal that you’d like your followers to see, you can RT their message and add your own comment. Your users can also RT your tweets to share with their followers, which creates a nice word-of-mouth marketing campaign. By RT’ing interesting and informative tidbits from other users, you can become a vital source of knowledge, thus increasing your value as well as your number of followers!
Tips and Tricks
Remember, Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters, so be sure to make them count. Be succinct with your tweets. If you have more to say, link to the article or webpage that you’re referencing in your tweet. If your library name is long, you may want to shorten it down or use initials to enable others to be able to RT you and add their own comments. For example, Cleveland Public Library’s Twitter handle is @Cleveland_PL. This name is still easy to locate and recognizable, but it saves valuable characters.
Much like Facebook, Twitter is free to use. If your library doesn’t have a Twitter account yet, I recommend looking into one today. As always, if you’d like help with your marketing campaigns, online or not, be sure to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more tips and tricks, look out for the new Community Outreach training, coming soon.
Oh, and of course, follow us on Twitter! (@OverDriveLibs)
Adam Sockel is a Marketing & Outreach Specialist for OverDrive.