Marketing. Not something we librarians typically have to put a lot of thought into, or have someone else to do it for us? This might be an outdated point of view with the advent of social media. Meaning, that a library is not just a physical presence in the form of buildings, books and shop paraphernalia, but also a social presence which is all about presentation, coherent image, communication and interaction.
As Mr Priestner says in the Cam23 marketing blog post, marketing is not just about sticking a logo on a pen. We have to anticipate readers' needs and nowadays that involves being where they are virtually, not just physically. We can't afford to overlook social media marketing, but the good thing is that it's mostly free. Marketing for free! Make use of it! It only needs a bit of staff time to keep things ticking over nicely once accounts are set up.
I've been amazed since starting the Cambridge 23 Things programme, how many times I've 'got got' by marketing strategies. Mostly on twitter. There are bots out there actively trawling for information about a product or a company and when they find it, they act on that information. I haven't come across any malicious activity, it's just been rather clever, which is what marketing is all about. For example, a few weeks ago I mentioned in a tweet that my kettle had broken and what would I do without tea in the morning?! A teabot picked up on that and retweeted my tweet, not that tea needs much promotion in my book, but there is obviously somebody or some programme searching for mentions of the word 'tea'. A similar thing happened when I mentioned that I'd like to buy a new camera ; @SLR4u wrote to me with a link to an SLR camera review site. Blinkbox started to follow me when I mentioned them in my blog post for Thing 13. I was 'rickrolled' while listening to last.fm the other day, and Facebook is always suggesting I need laser eye surgery, so they must see from my photos that I wear glasses!
There's a whole new world of marketing out there, cue cheesy Disney Aladdin music (or even worse, Katie & Peter). If we are not part of it we risk falling badly behind. I'm not saying that we have to go all out and set up software that will trawl the web for us looking for mentions of our libraries. All it takes is a couple of clever searches on twitter or Facebook or Delicious or Blogger.... you get my drift. See what people are saying about you and react. If it's positive, great. Be positive back and THANK people. A little thank you goes a long way. If it's negative, don't worry. Think about what people have said and see if you can improve on that. Don't whatever you do go in guns blazing reacting to a negative comment. Take time out to think about how and if to reply and reply in a positive, constructive and helpful way.
There's a lot we can learn from social media and a lot we can do to market ourselves in the social virtual world. Like I said before, it's all free, you just need to invest a bit of time.
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