Libraries Using Social Media: Case Study

I met Jordan Garn a couple weeks back at Social Media Day in Maple Ridge, where we were both presenting on a panel about using social media for community and non-profit organizations.

Non-profit orgs need social media almost more than any other kind of organization or business. They simply have less money to hire marketing people or purchase advertising. But yet, because of the good work they do, they need the brand recognition even more than those who can actually afford to pay to get themselves out there.

fraser valley regional library fines

In addition, many non-profit orgs are strapped when it comes to human resources. It’s hard for them to find dedicated people to perform marketing tasks, or put in to play a marketing plan, let alone post and monitor Facebook, Twitter and the rest. So, you’ll often find that non-profits or community organizations, like Libraries, have little-to-no presence on social media. The Fraser Valley Regional Library, however, wanted to change that. They wanted to be one of the libraries using social media.

Jordan is the Communications and Design Specialist for the Fraser Valley Regional Library. They are on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.

A couple years back, they decided they wanted to boost up their FB likes. But they had some other goals, too, like making sure they had up-to-date information of library users, like email addresses, so that they could stay in touch with them.

So they decided to launch a campaign, which would forgive $5 in library fines in exchange for a “like” on Facebook. They created an ad for the local community centre brochure that goes out quarterly, and that was their jumping-off point.

I’ll let Jordan tell you about it.

RC: What were your goals for the campaign?

JG: Goals at library branch level

  • Verify/update customers account information (clean up our customer records)
  • Add/update email address on their account in order to receive holds notices, courtesy notices etc.
  • Sign up for FVRL’s eNewsletter
  • Pay any outstanding fines/fees or arrange payment terms (lower the amount of outstanding fines)
  • Return/renew overdue library materials

Social media: Grow FVRL’s social media presence (facebook)

The overall concept (small offer, get people back to the library to update their information, reward with a thank you gift/token) of the campaign fit all the goals that we wanted to achieve both online (social media growth) and  in our library system (customer records).

RC:  How did it work?

JG: For the first campaign (Summer Account Cleanup), we used ShortStack and fan-gating (meaning, you had to “like” the page in order to get the code). When customers “liked”  our page they had the access to the secret code “SUMMERFUN”. Which was also the overall theme name of our program guide from June – Aug 2012.

Fraser valley regional library facebook

The second campaign (Waive Bye-Bye) was strictly the facebook offer which ran Jan – Apr 2013. There was a half-page article at the back of the program guide mentioning to come in and update your information and we will reward you by waiving $5 of your fines.

I remember just pinning the offer to the top of the facebook page, and then we boosted the facebook offer in January. The ad stopped on Feb. 28th and  we allocated $150 budget. The offer pretty much took care of itself and we didn’t have to do much for it to take off on social media. I think a lot of word of mouth and the number of facebook shares was the key.

RC: Other than the boost in likes and the increased exposure for the library, what other successes did you count after the campaign was over?

 JG: The main successes were gauging how many customers took advantage of our offer and the amount of outstanding fines that were lowered. Also having the most current customer account information was high up there on the list.

RC: Thanks, Jordan!

This is a great example of how a non-profit or community organization can use social media to drive “likes” and to accomplish other goals, as well! Both campaigns were minimal in terms of cost, and had outstanding results.

For more examples, check out 100 Libraries to Follow on Facebook.

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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