Never stop learning.
It is advice we hope our library customers hear, understand, and follow. Continuing education is huge. We work hard every day to provide our communities with resources that inform, inspire, and connect them to worlds beyond their own. And our job as library marketers is to make sure our audiences know about all those great tools and opportunities available for free with a library card.
We’re in the exploring business. The curiosity business. The life-long learning business.
Quick aside: I recently hopped on the bandwagon overflowing with fans of the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton. It’s the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, told through hip-hop inspired music. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack after it won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. It’ll blow you away and stay in your head long after it’s over. (I’m clearly not the only one who feels this way. It’s one of the most hard-to-get tickets in New York and the show performs to sold-out crowds nightly.) I’ll patiently wait for the touring show to hit the road. (I formally request my town be the first stop.) Also for me, and many others, the music is reigniting an interest in early American history. I wanted a refresher. So I turned to my library! I found a great downloadable audiobook series on early U.S. History. With a few clicks, it’s now on my iPhone. During commutes, gym workouts, and road trips, I can catch up, and maybe even learn something new. I’m actively participating in continuing my education. And the library made it so easy. It reminds me of one of Hamilton’s lines in the musical. When he first comes to America, he sings, “I’m just like my country. I’m young, scrappy and hungry. And I’m not throwing away my shot.”
We want our customers to be hungry. We don’t want them to waste their shot. We routinely stress the importance of learning to our customers – but are we following our own advice? Are we as library marketers making it a point to learn about the latest marketing trends, advances, techniques, etc.? I’m honored you’re following this blog. That’s a great first step in expanding your knowledge of social media marketing for your library. But I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay in tune with what’s going on, not just in the library world, but in the marketing world in general. Social media is constantly changing. What works today, may not work tomorrow.
I suggest following the 10 Twitter accounts below, ASAP. Only two come from the library world. (Gasp!) One is a company. The remaining seven are marketing experts outside the library field. I’m a big believer that we can learn a lot from what “outsiders” are doing. Their advice is good. And almost always, social media advice can be applied across the board, no matter what kind of business or organization you work for. Even niche advice that may seem totally written for corporate, for-profit companies, can often be creatively adapted for your library. In the very least, it’s good to hear from a variety of voices. I learn from these folks and I think you will too.
Here they are. (Listed in no particular order.)
Peg Fitzpatrick: @PegFitzpatrick
Peg is a fun and energetic social media strategist who has written books and spoken around the country. Follow her for a variety of social media advice, but especially for tips on Pinterest, visual marketing, and graphic design. She creates beautiful art to go along with her posts that I bet will inspire you to up your game in the visual department.
Mari Smith: @MariSmith
Mari is another globe-trotting social media speaker. But, good news, you don’t have to track her down at a conference to get great advice. She regularly tweets good tips, interesting articles, and her own blog posts. She’s especially in the know on Facebook marketing.
Michael A. Stelzner: @Mike_Stelzner
Michael Stelzer is a big name in the social media world. He is the founder of Social Media Examiner, an incredible one-stop-shop site for some of the best social media marketing advice around. He also hosts a podcast and writes books about the topic. His twitter account is a great place to see a glimpse of it all.
Lisa Buyer: @lisabuyer
I was fortunate enough to get to hear Lisa speak at a social media conference a couple of years ago. She’s a dynamic speaker with tons of great advice, focusing on how public relations and social media go together for companies and organizations. She’s also super into yoga, so follow her to exercise your mind, body, and soul!
Aaron Lee: @AskAaronLee
I stumbled across Aaron during a twitter chat awhile back about humanizing your brand on social media. I’ve followed him ever since and love seeing his advice. He is immersed in the world of social media marketing and shares interesting blog posts via his twitter feed. You’ll often see him in twitter chats such as #MediaChat (Thursdays at 10 p.m. EST) and #ViralChat (Thursdays at 9 p.m. EST.)
Diana Adams: @adamsconsulting
Diana is another great tweeter I found during that twitter chat with Aaron. Diana is an editor at Post Planner, a company that helps social media managers find highly-engaging content and post it to their channels. She also runs a regular twitter chat, #InfluencerChat, held Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.
Sean Gardner: @2morrowknight
Sean writes for Social Media Week, the Huffington Post, and more. He was once listed No. 1 in Forbes top 50 Social Media Power influencers. His twitter account is a wealth of information about building brands on social media. While most of his advice is geared toward for-profit businesses, much of it can still be applied to library marketing. Be creative!
Angela Hursh: @webmastergirl
Angela is the Content Team Leader in the marketing department at my library! She writes a great blog specifically geared toward content marketing for libraries. She tweets out a lot of tips and resources as well. Follow her for general library marketing advice, plus some social tips too. (And I bet it’s only a matter of time until she’s speaking at a library conference near you!)
Daivd Lee King: @davidleeking
If you work in a library, chances are you’ve probably heard of David Lee King. He is the expert on everything digital when it comes to library marketing. He’s the Digital Services Director at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library and has made a big name for himself in the library and digital marketing world. He’s a huge library supporter, so give him a follow and some love.
Sprout Social: @sproutsocial
This is the only company I’ve included on my list. But it certainly earns the spot. Sprout Social is a paid social media management system. (We use it at my library.) Sprout’s tweets offer fantastic social media marketing guidance. It’s heavy on the advice side and light on the sales-pitchy side, which is awesome. Sprout is clearly working hard to be an industry leader when it comes to helping folks up their social media game. The stuff is clear and easy to understand. I highly recommend checking this company out. Even if you don’t pay for the service, it’s a great twitter account to follow.
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Opinions are my own. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of my past or present employers.