- When measuring communications activities, we have to look at both ‘Owned Media’ (what is controlled by the library) and ‘Earned Media’ (eg. reviews posted by users on third-party sites).
- Blogs can be created to serve special-interest users, while keeping the regular website for broader target groups.
- Measurements of social media success can be divided into five broad categories: attention, interest, action, operation and loyalty.
- Some communications methods are very effective because of the audience they target, even though they attract relatively little traffic (eg. using a recruitment website to find skilled candidates results in more applications from qualified professionals than a mention on Facebook).
Next, Klaus Ceynowa, Deputy Director of the Bavarian State Library, spoke about how an innovative approach to communications, including the development of Augmented Reality apps for smartphones and tablets, could help to reach major stakeholders. His key points were:
- Identify your library’s Unique Selling Point. Hint: you need to look in the margins and think creatively. It should be an area in which you are a leader.
- The Bavarian State Library’s USP is “Unique Content In Mobile Digital Life” and this reflects the fact that they currently have nearly 1 million digitised titles – the most of any German library.
- Think big: don’t define yourself as a library but as a Cultural Institution; you are not an information service provider but a Game Changer In Digital Life.
After this focus on cutting-edge technology, Aubéry Escande of The European Library gave a explained how a simple and low-cost campaign could be equally effective in reaching stakeholders. He used The European Library’s Library of the Month campaign as an example. The key points were:
- The campaign reached across communications channels, and was featured on The European Library website, the website of the participating library and a broad range of social media.
- There had been a noticeable impact on website traffic to The European Library as a result of the campaign, and participating libraries also found it beneficial.
- There was no financial commitment and minimal staff time required to run the campaign: 20 hours a month from The European Library and 16 hours a month from the participating library.
The last speaker of the workshop was Friedel Grant, Communications Officer at LIBER. She explained how LIBER recently created its first communications plan and outlined the communications goals it hoped to reach in the coming years. Key points were:
- A communications strategy is important to help establish priorities, set a baseline and ensure consistency.
- Questions to ask are: What resources do you have? Who do you want to reach? What messages do you want to send?
- LIBER will first focus on putting some basics in place (eg. improving the website, creating a press list) and will then move to more activites such as creating videos and factsheets.
- Communications plans are not set in stone: each activity can be seen as a cycle. It needs to be implemented, evaluated and adjusted if necessary to have the maximum impact.
These talks were followed by group discussions. Workshop participants debated issues such as how to measure the success of your library’s communications efforts and which activities might be most effective. Points from these group discussions included:
- Sharing is important. Involve your network in creating and relaying information.
- When it comes to potentially time-consuming activities, such as creating videos, go for an approach that is quick and fresh (eg. a quick snapshot of conference reactions).
- Don’t send too many newsletters (we’re already overburdened with email) and keep the content at a high level, covering issues of the most importance to the library’s strategy and direction.
- Surveys can pose some challenges: they must be underpinned by a strategy and results should be fed back to participants.
- It is hard to measure the effect of social media campaigns: what does a number of ‘likes’ really mean? The details that would be interesting – like age, profession, internet behavior – are in the hands of the companies owning the social media and won’t be easily disclosed.
- Perhaps more important than measuring ‘likes’ and other statistics is the need to establish clear goals and concrete target groups. Without these, you won’t be able to link the collected data to your strategy in the first place.
The workshop ended with a short Question and Answer session. We would like to thank all the speakers and participants, and look forward to seeing you at the 2014 LIBER conference in Riga!