A few years back, trend soothsayers and tech gurus were all predicting the death of the traditional library as we know it. How wrong they were. Libraries, electronic readers be damned, are thriving. The ultimate in crappy economy-friendly entertainment, public libraries are now setting online marketing trends instead of being squashed by them.
After seeing that my local public library had three different Twitter accounts (one for general information, one for young children and one for teens), I stared to snoop around Twitter and Google. I was curious if most libraries around the country were making similar use of online marketing techniques like blogging, social media, electronic newsletters and the like. The answer is a resounding yes. To stay relevant and on the radar, libraries from the Big Apple to Little Rock are pulling out all the stops when it comes to digital branding. Websites now help library card holders renew titles before pesky late fees, place holds on wanted items and keep track of all library events and happenings. The days of trotting over to your local library to check out books are totally over.
But even more than that, libraries are using the Internet to prove they are worthwhile institutions that keep communities alive. The American Library Association uses social media to push awareness campaigns, create buzz around the latest star-studded Read posters and to alert library professionals to job openings around the country. Or check out how The Miami-Dade Public Library system uses Facebook. Facebook pages have moved less out of the sales-driven category and more into brand information hubs, and this is perfect for libraries. Miami-Dade fills its Facebook page with pictures from library happenings, information on holiday hours and posts about author events. The New York Public Library makes excellent use of blog marketing by blogging about seasonal interests and authors currently making news. These incredibly well-written blogs are composed by the folks who work at the library and who are doing their part to get people excited about libraries. The list goes on and on. It’s inspiring to see libraries, institutions once thought to be knocking on death’s door, transformed by harnessing the powers of online marketing.
Our point is that even though you know how powerful and effective blogging, social media marketing and digital branding are, many companies are still not doing it. Meanwhile, the underfunded, little library down the street is totally killing it online.
Now would be a good time to follow their lead.