Your library is filled with familiar faces who regularly browse your newest book displays and sign up for upcoming events. While promoting your library internally is key to fostering this strong community, there is a broader network of potential patrons you may be neglecting entirely by not doing more outreach.
By making online promotion a priority, your library will be better positioned to attract new patrons and better involve your existing guests. Here are three strategies to leverage your online tools and finally make contact with your more elusive library guests.
Promoting your library’s services on social media is a great way to foster community involvement and gain traction in the digital space. We recommend starting your efforts on Facebook and Twitter to maximize traffic and your own time. These two platforms are often the easiest to navigate and provide numerous opportunities for sharing information and responding to patrons.
Don’t just post anything you want: be strategic on social. While information on library hours and location are important, these details will likely be on your website. Instead, try stepping into the minds of your patrons to discern what they are most interested in hearing about when they go on social media. Do you have a new release you know will be a showstopper or a new language learning software you want to promote? Do you want to develop a quirky, engaging social media presence á la Orkney Library? Considering those in your community and adding some personality will help you engage with patrons and point them to relevant resources—just make sure to link to your website!
Optimize Your Website
Never discount the traction you can get through your own website. Social media may allow you to link back to your site, but you might be out of luck if your visitors encounter a poorly designed layout or broken links once they arrive. Make sure your website is clearly laid out and offers compelling language to keep patrons interested. Regularly updating your site is also crucial for promoting library events as well as new offerings and collections. Integrating your social media efforts and providing unique touches like event RSVP buttons and patron forums can help take your website up a notch and increase site traffic.
Some of your best customers are from local schools and establishments. Luckily, many are on the hunt for the latest and greatest resources available at your library! The catch? Many remain unaware of library offerings and the remote services users can access without ever stepping foot in the library.
Reach out to local educators and businesses in your area and request to be added to their resource pages. Many will be very willing to help their local library, and there may be an opportunity to partner with an external organization or create a new event to further promote your services. Another option is to inquire with your local newspaper and see if they would be interested in featuring your library on their site or even promoting library services on their social media channels.
The world is filled with potential patrons. For more information on attracting new patrons, check out “Branding Your Library: Insights from Today’s Top Librarians.”