Tasty Treats: Feeding the Social Media Beast

My dog is the sweetest.

Her name is Hazel. I adopted her from the pound in 2009. It was love at first sight. Her forever-puppy face melted my heart then and now.


12141599_10101542040291173_5049114181016790564_nI’m pretty sure she knows how cute she is too. She uses it to her advantage to constantly look pitiful and needy and starved. (See photo to the right.)

The dog is fewer than 30 pounds, but would eat like a 250-pound mastiff if we let her. She lives her life perpetually hungry. Always hoping for an extra snack. A missed morsel under the dining room table. A forgotten scrap off the kitchen floor. Just the word “treat” makes her dance around the entire house on her back two feet. I kid you not.

Keeping my little kibble monster fed and happy is a job that never ends.

The same goes for the social media channels I manage. I’m always feeding the beast! At work with Facebook & Co. and at home with Hazel: The Bottomless Pit. Just like my doggie — my social media platforms are the happiest when they’re being fed.

As social media marketers, we’re constantly on the search for great content — stuff we believe our audiences will enjoy and engage with online. Finding the right stuff though takes some real effort.

Don’t just “sell” stuff to your audience.
We’re lucky in the library world. There is almost always plenty of things going on in our buildings to post about. New arrivals. New services. Upcoming programs. Helpful databases. So on and so on. But you don’t want to constantly be “SELLING” stuff to your followers. Sure, it’s a huge part of your social media efforts. But keep a healthy mix of library promotions and just plain entertaining posts. Otherwise your page is going to look spammy. And no one likes spam.

Finding the right mix of content.
I suggest an easy 60/40 mix. 40% library promotions. 60% entertainment. Yes, I know that’s heavier on the entertainment side. But, let’s face it. That content is going to be the most engaging stuff you post. And the better it performs, the more likely your audience will see your library promotions as you strategically sprinkle them into the mix. Facebook algorithms reward content that is relevant to your audience by pushing it into more news feeds. Which is exactly what you want. You can adjust that 60/40 ratio as you go along. Different approaches may work for different pages. A big part of it is getting to know your audience. And don’t feel like you’re wasting time posting non-library promos. Embrace them. The right kind of entertaining posts help humanize you, better connect you with your customers, reinforce your relevance, and strengthen your brand as an information expert.

The common denominator.
A library audience is a diverse audience. However, the common denominator is most likely your audience’s love for books, movies, and music. That means you’re in luck! There are plenty of resources out there covering these areas of interest. You can also narrow your audience down even more. Remember to take advantage of the metrics gathered by your social media channels. For example, with Facebook Insights, you can easily find out the most common age and gender of your users.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 6.37.30 PM

Go even deeper, if you’d like, and find out where the majority of your users are from. Facebook will calculate the 40+ top cities for your page. This is especially helpful for library systems with multiple branch locations. You’ll gain a clear picture of who likes/follows you. Take that information into account when you’re picking your content.

Content sources just for you!
Here are 10 sites I use daily. Listed below in no particular order. Do yourself a favor: bookmark these in your browser right away. Create a folder called “Content Sources.” Add your favorite sites to this list and bookmark others as you come across them. (Remember to read the content closely. Not everything posted on every one of these sites is family-friendly.)

My hope is with this list, plus the sites you add and find along your way, your social media platforms (unlike Hazel The Dog) will be hungry no more!

Where do you find content for your library’s social media pages? Share your favorite sites in the comments 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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