The Platform You’re Not Using But Should Be

Unless you’re looking for a job, there’s no reason to use LinkedIn, right?

Wrong.

LinkedIn is a great tool to add to your social media marketing arsenal. But very few libraries are using it. I started contributing regular content to my library’s LinkedIn page about two years ago and it’s since grown into a powerful communication tool for us.

The audience you’ll attract on LinkedIn will most likely be different from the audience you’re marketing to on other platforms such as Facebook. Which is great news. Because that means you have a new opportunity to promote targeted content to a unique set of customers.

LinkedIn gives you a chance to grow a network of professionals, typically older working adults interested in business, leadership, continuing education, and/or career advice.

off to work

Here’s what LinkedIn says about its audience on its website:

  • LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 400 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
  • There are more than 40 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.

According to a study by Pew Research Center, more than a quarter of online adults currently use LinkedIn — a stat that’s been increasing year after year. The study goes on to state:

  • “LinkedIn is especially popular among working-age adults as well as college graduates and those with relatively high household incomes.”
  • “LinkedIn is the only major social media platform for which usage rates are higher among 30- to 49-year-olds than among 18- to 29-year-olds.”
  • “Fully 46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users, compared with just 9% of online adults with a high school diploma or less.”
  • “The site continues to be popular among the employed – 32% are LinkedIn users, compared with 14% of online adults who are not employed.”

As libraries, we have tons of resources to offer this group of professionals. For instance, think about all the small business resources we have. Think about all the materials about career advancement that are in our collections. And don’t forget about all those expensive, yet rarely promoted, online research databases and online learning tools. These often neglected parts of your library’s collection now have a chance at new life. As a library marketer, that’s exciting stuff, isn’t it?

POTTER

Because, let’s be honest, there are much sexier things to promote than books about increasing employee productivity, or eBooks about finance, or databases covering stocks and mutual funds. Admittedly, it’s just not really the most super-exciting stuff to talk about. Let alone push to our customers. But in a world like LinkedIn, it could be just what users are looking for. Libraries haven’t always had the best way to showcase this stuff – until now. Thank you, LinkedIn!

celebrate

If you don’t have a LinkedIn company page for your library, consider starting one. My advice before launching any new platform: Write down your strategy. Your strategy for LinkedIn can be simple. Something like “share library resources for business professionals.” Then stick to it.

Here are some more quick tips for getting started on LinkedIn:

Launch your page.
To run a company page on LinkedIn, you’ll need a personal page first. You’ll then become the administrator, much like on Facebook, and can add other admins as you see fit.

Brand your page.
Be sure to customize your page’s URL after you’ve created it so it’s branded and easy to find. You’ll be able to do this in the account settings. Create something like: www.linkedin.com/YourLibraryName. You can further brand your page by adding a custom logo. (Upload a JPEG, GIF, or PNG file. Image must be 300×300 pixels or larger. File size limit is 4 MB.) And add a Facebook-like cover photo. (PNG, JPEG, or GIF; max size 2 MB. Image must be 646×220 pixels or larger.) You’ll also have a chance to add a company description using 2,000 characters or fewer. This is a good chance to write an overview of your library and describe some of your best resources. A bio of sorts.

Add content to your page.
Take advantage of the “status update.” This is much like the Facebook status update. Start by posting at least once a week and then slowly increase that to a few times a week if possible. This will help you get noticed by LinkedIn users. Use this space to spotlight your new arrivals — specifically books about business, leadership, career advancement, etc. You can copy and paste the link to the item in your online catalog right into the LinkedIn update. Then get creative. Consider a “Database of the Month” campaign where you highlight the advantages of some of your online research tools. Interview tips and job hunting advice from your reference staff could also be effective. Motivational quotes (well-sourced) are also popular.

Start with these simple steps. Once you begin to gain a following on LinkedIn and see regular engagement, you’ll be ready to move on to some more advanced techniques such as SlideShare presentations, published posts, additional profiles for your library leaders, and tracking analytics. (More about all of that in a future LinkedIn blog post.)

In the meantime, tell me how you are or are planning to use LinkedIn for your library in the comments section below!


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Learn more about the author.

Opinions are my own. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of my past or present employers.

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