After reading “Top 10 Facebook Pages and Why They’re Successful“, an article on Social Media Examiner which received more than 7,000 tweets, I went on to look at some of the library-related Facebook Fan Pages. The article on SME got me wonder how digital libraries are doing on/with their Facebook Pages…
For most digital libraries, Facebook is a good place for growing your fanbase, for listening to your users and for updating the world with the latest news.
But do digital libraries use Facebook Pages just as their news bulletin board? Do digital libraries also incorporate creative approach to create value for their Facebook existence? Furthermore, what more could libraries do to optimal its marketing impact on the Facebook channel?
Following are 4 major techniques which I believe digital libraries should use to better its Facebook Fan Page,
1. Create “Call to Action”
What is the main thing we want the visitor to do on our fan page?
Red Bull make it clear that the goal is to collect as many “Like” users as possible. Whenever a non-fan enters its page, Red Bull Facebook Page shows the “Like Our Page. Hint, Hint.” sign. It is quite impossible to miss this call to action!
Europeana also created 3 arrows for their “click”, “visit” and “subscribe” actions.
New York Public Library also put “Like”, “Facebook Share”, “Twitter Follow”, “YouTube Watch” and “Get a Library Card” as their call to actions elements. Not only the elements are clear, users can be taken directly to the application form in the NYPL website by clicking the “Get A Library Card” here.
Most libraries use Facebook as their news update bulletin. Below one can see the page of National Taiwan University Library as well as the world-famous British Library. In fact, news update is very important and there is nothing wrong to use the default version of Facbeook Page.
But when news update is already a function for the Wall, why not just create another welcoming page or section to promote the brand and incorporate the call to action element? This Welcoming Branding Page helps to show the most important offer in a snapshot and this push can also increase the library-desired user behaviors.
[Additional Reading] — If anyone would like to read more about the “call to action“, I would recommend 10 Techniques for an Effective “Call to Action” by Paul Boag. This nice article shows not only the importance of “call to action ” but also how one can incorporate the element in its website design. ;)
2. Use image,video,event Wisely
Besides news update, digital libraries also upload picture, videos and hold events for engaging users just like most other businesses.
According to The State of Online Branded Communities, “consumers today are sophisticated users of social tools and seek out communities to learn, share and interact. If these elements are missing, or there is no obvious organizing structure that fulfills specific needs, the ‘faux’ community will be quickly abandoned“.
Therefore, being meaningful, creative and consistent is crucial when providing and maintaining the Fan Page content.
A good example is Burt’s Bees, a cosmetic company who use natural inexpediences in making their products. They regularly uploaded some behind-the-scenes information to strengthen its brand value as well as engage its fans on its Facebook Page.
Both British Library and New York Public Library have some behind-the-activities pictures in their Facebook albums. Users who happened to be in the pictures or participate in the event would LOVE to share it on their walls and spread the news among friends. Looking from the responses on the “Like” and “Comments”, these pictures does have a greater impact compared with other pictures.
Here the British library shows the people involved in the Learning Workshops while NYPL shows some on-the-action picture of its Improveverywhere Ghostbusters Prank event!
Because this type of longer stay actually involves meaningful engagement, the brand of the libraries or organization will also grow deeper along the way.
For example, Facebook is all about sharing so it made a Father’s Day stories telling event which attracts more than 48 millions “Like” from the users!
Similarly, Oreo also had the “Share your back-to-school memories” as it understand the cookie Oreo is a lot of people’s childhood favorite.
Likewise, NYPL also had an event which asked users to upload video on the topic of “Why is your library important t you?”
[Small Summary] — the aforementioned activities have 4 major values:
- it is a powerful way of engaging users
- let those participants help you to spread the words of the event or the brand
- it is a way to reinforce the core business value
- it is an exclusive opportunity to get first-hand information from your most enthusiastic users!
In addition of being relevant and meaningful, creativity is also the key of attracting user attention and high engagement. For example, National Taiwan University Library displayed some “ghostly” pictures in libraries during the Chinese Ghost Month.
New York Public Library has an event of “Every Letter Counts” which visitors can take a picture with the Lion mascot of the library.
Libraries can also hold up a competition for recruiting the “How Do You Study In The Library” pictures/video during the exam seasons.
Thinking out of the box and be surprising could not only leave a stronger impression in visitors’ minds, it is also a great way to show the public another characteristics of the institutions.
3. Reward our Super Fans
Every brand has its lovers and followers. Since these users are our valuable resources for making the best word-of-mouth marketing, why not thanks them for all the love and efforts by offering a surprising personal reward!
For example, the restaurant UNO Chicago Grill rewards its fans with special discount offer and its “Fan of the week” event.
Our super fans are not only our long-term base audience who most likely participate in every activity, they are often advocating our brand within their network like a regional brand ambassador!
It is very important to recognize and encourage the behaviors of the top users! Not only we want to keep them going, we also want to encourage non-followers to come and participate!
Following are 2 noteworthy methods to reward and effectively keep the fans engaging and supporting!
1. Create Special Currency to Reward Engaging Behaviors.
For example, points will be given out when a user wrote an online book review, share a link on his or her wall, participated in an online discussion or sign up for a library event. For each point level, there can be some exclusive incentive such as birthday gift to the top user from the library souvenir shop or an one-time privilege to borrow a popular collection first.
2. Reward by Giving Public Appearances.
For example, most super fans not only love the brand but also know a lot about the brand. For example, they know the collection, the library building architecture or the history of the library.Invite the individual to write an article, making a video or participate in a conference or interview for sharing his or her experiences and insights about the library with other users. This would be one of the best way to recognize and reward our super fans!
Rewarding top users not only create more engagement and encouragement, these top users can only be the opinion leader or the early adopter since they have the record to advocate the brand as well as adapt new services. Getting their support may give digital libraries a lot of advantages in later marketing.
4. Add Virtual Services
There are many advantages to incorporate virtual services.
For example, Customer Services/Support, which involved call center installation and extra manpower can often be the biggest and most costly services for some businesses. Now with the help of Internet, companies can use the Online Help Center or User Forum to subsequently and organically reduce the amount of calls to its Customer Service Line.
For Livescribe, there is a Support section on their Facebook Fan Page which visitors can “Ask a Question”, “Share an Idea”, “Report a Problem” or “Give Praise” to the company or its products.
This practice of incorporating an offline services in its online platform could create the following benefits,
1. Reuse resources, save time and money.
The conversations between Customer Services and a particular user can not only solve the current problem but also for future visitors with the same issue.
In addition, company staff can incorporate the information into its Top Q&A to help “questions” stay up-to-date with the latest user opinions. This user-generated information can also become an asset for other usage such as collection praising quotes from users during PR promotion.
However, without an accurate on-site search engine, a clear navigation structure or an effective mining system, this knowledge body may still fail to deliver the relevant post results for the future visitors.
Organization should therefore make sure this content is findable through an user-friendly interface and understandable system.
2. Form & Explore user communities
The biggest assets for the Facebook Fan Page is its Fan Base. However, it is not uncommon to see our Super Fans being the staff members of the organization or the already-existing offline super users.
To explore market territory and create an “organic” instead of “engineered” user community which welcome to everyone, incorporating virtual services may be one of the solution.
Take digital libraries as an example, this may help to bring out the shy users who are normally behind the screens.
In addition to that, through the friends networks and online communities of the basic fan base, the brand can also get exposed to a new potential market audience which is hard to reach in its original offline environments.
As organic communities may grow out of control and engineered communities may become isolated, one should understand seek the balance between user freedom and regulations. Learning when to intervene a post stream could be important when the content is off-line or inappropriate.
For example, even when the community is growing and operating organically, it is still vital for the community manager to pay close attention for ensuring the content and discussion are align with the organization purposes.
[Additional Reading] – This challenge of striking the balance between the so-called “organic” and “engineered” community development is mentioned in details by Karen Obrien in the Creating Community: Organic vs. Engineered Growth article.
3. Reduce user frustration by offering flexible channel platform.
We all have the experience of waiting in line or waiting on the phone.
Provide a clear outline of all possible alternative channels for the same service on the Facebook Page gives users a chance to try other options and save frustrations.
For example, on the Seattle Public Library Facebook Page, the library incorporate a section called “Ask A Librarians”, which performs the same function as the traditional Reference Services. One can see many options of getting the same services. Such as “Chat with a librarians online”, “Write an E-mail”, “Call with Telephone”, “Send Text Message” or “Visit the librarian in Person”.
This virtual service not only breaks down the geographical limitation, the multiple options for the services also help librarians to serve users within a platform that they feel most comfortable with.
4. Motivate the organization to react proactive.
Finally, one of the golden rules of managing the Facebook Page is to Never Neglect the Fan Page.
Besides regular check-up of the page content, being a true listener to users’ opinions is more important than ever. It can not only prevent any potential catastrophe outbreak but also it could be the opportunity for the organization to foresee a future need of the users.
In the speed of Internet, opinions and sentiments travel faster than ever. Without a real efforts and the consistent caring that the page promised, no matter how great the original strategy was, social media users will still bail the page out in a long run.
All in all, when it comes to managing your Facebook Fan Page, one must remember to stay Up-to-date, Attentive, Supportive and Responsive for gaining a sustainable success!