If you recall from a post I did back in August, my unit head and the department chair of Pollak Library at California State University Fullerton asked me to head up an official Social Media Team for our library. Part of what our team has been charged with is to develop an official social media strategy for the library by the end of this academic year. Those of you who have researched social media policies and strategies for your organization know that this is no small task. There is no recommended “one size fits all” template or solution. Each organization must develop a strategy based upon its own organizational mission and vision.
Yet, before a strategy can be crafted, the organization must first identify social media goals. These goals outline what an organization intends to accomplish through the implementation and use of social media… the “why” factor. A strategy outlines how those goals will be executed… the game plan. And no organization should attempt to tackle the how without first defining the why.
The why stage is what my team just finished tackling last week.
The Pollak Library’s Social Media Goals
- Interact with library patrons using communication tools they already embrace.
- Provide interactive or appealing content that has an immediate use or starts a conversation.
- Encourage the campus community to use these tools in a way that promotes academic goals and student involvement.
- Provide useful credible content and emphasize new resources or services, in addition to reminding patrons of existing library materials and services (I/M, phone text, 24/7 chat, e-books, etc.).
- Cross-link between services and sources (i.e., Tweeting a subject guide link) to provide different avenues to library material and services.
- Share information and services by making these easily and readily accessible via a variety of communication tools.
- Encourage feedback to determine if we are meeting user needs, and if not, how we can effectively improve.
- Provide patrons with a public feedback and response channel.
- Demonstrate potential academic uses of social media for the campus, instructors, and students.
- Demonstrate to the campus our innovative use of social media and demographic reach.
- Demonstrate responsible and appropriate uses of social media to students.
- Keep abreast of, review, and evaluate new social media tools and uses.
- Recommend those that meet our other Social Media Goals and that might be of value to our patrons.
Drafted February 3, 2010.
As an academic library, and as faculty librarians, our social media focus must extend beyond using it as just a publicity and public relations tool. The educational focus and application is critical. Social media tools provide us with a new opportunity to bring the library to our patrons, sort of a modern digital bookmobile, visiting students on their terms. They also provide us with a new opportunity to educate our students, as well as our larger campus community, about the potential for incorporating social media tools into the classroom, into curriculum, and into academic research.
I look forward to working with my team to start tackling a formal social media strategy now.