Sorry Librarians But Your FB Likes Don’t Matter Anymore

I know we all spent so much time cultivating the likes on our library’s FB pages but guess what? That’s so over. Facebook killed likes. But don’t worry, I’m going to talk to you about why they don’t matter and why I think that killing likes is a fantastic thing and what you need to do.

Page Likes Don’t Matter
In case you haven’t heard, Facebook throttled down the number of times people see your posts on your library’s page. This means that only around 2% of the people who like your page will see your posts. For most libraries, with around 1k-5k likes this means that only 20-100 people will see whatever it is you post. Because of this, you might draw the conclusion that you need even more likes than before to get more out of your page. Instead, I’m going to just argue that page likes just don’t matter now because the cost of boosting your post is so cheap and easy that you’re going to learn that you should have been doing this all along.

Fundamental library issue
You need to advertise. Why don’t libraries run ads? I’ll never figure it out. Libraries need to be running ads and have an in-depth marketing strategy just like every other organization in the country. For example, I’ve heard from everyone in a library from directors to pages who complain that nobody uses their databases and I always ask, well… How many people did you even tell that you had a database? The answer is typically something like, we made an 8.5×11 printer paper, comic sans, and clip art poster and scotch taped it to the stack for a few weeks. Ugh… That’s not marketing.

Now, with the magic of the internet, you can run a $25 ad a week to just about everyone in an average sized community regardless of whether or not they’ve liked your FB page. You can tell them all about your databases, your storytimes, your outreach, and most importantly… Your impact in the community. Depending on where you live and how you’re directing your ad, you can reach a couple thousand people with $25-$100. Whereas before, unless something went viral, you’re reach was just the people who liked your page. That is why like don’t matter.

But I know you’re thinking that if FB didn’t throttle down their reach that your page would reach a couple thousand people anyway. But I’m going to say that the people who like your page don’t matter that much, they already like the library. You need to reach the rest of the people in the community. The people who don’t like your FB page, the people who don’t come in every day, the people who need to be told to come in and use the library. That’s who you can reach with really cheap ads.

It’s a learning experience
What is great about FB ads is that they are so cheap and easy to manage. You can see your data in real time and see exactly who and how someone interacted with your ad. Over time you can see what makes people click like or interact with your FB page and improve all your stats. I’m not going to go over how to make your ads more effective, or how to direct them, or how to actually run an ad because I’m going to bet that there’s a book on your shelves right now that will tell you in great detail exactly how to do that.

Don’t Pay for page Likes
While I think that all libraries should pay for FB ads, I don’t think that anyone should pay for ads just to boost likes. Since, as I said earlier, likes don’t matter at all. But what if you are still really concerned about page likes? Then it’s time to start not caring about page likes. Because, running a good boosted post acts in the same way as an ad for likes anyway and there is also the outcome that people find out something about your library. For example, instead of an ad that says “like this FB page,” you’ll have an ad that says “come to the library.” Which do you think is better for the library? After all, you’re not running ads to support your FB page, you’re running ads to support your library.

The Money Issue
But I don’t have money for FB ads!! YES!! Yes you do. Instead of paying for a database that nobody is using, why don’t you drop the least used one and spend that money on an ad that will make people use the rest of the databases? Instead of spending money on a program that nobody is coming to, why don’t you spend that money on ads to make sure that people come to all the others?

But if I didn’t spend money on a database, I’d use it somewhere else because I have better things to spend it on than FB! Are you really going to tell me that you have a better and more cost effective way to tell thousands of people in your community how amazing the library is? Do you have a cheaper way to tell thousands of people how much the library matters? Have you figured out a less expensive way to tell thousands of people about how many wonderful things your library does for your community? If so, I’m all ears.

If not, good luck in the next election or bid for funding. If nobody knows about you, why would they pay for you?

To conclude

  • Facebook page likes don’t matter
  • Learn marketing from a book on your shelf
  • Run ads for your library

  • I’ll Leave You with an Ad for Kitten Mittens

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

    Getting the Most Out of Your ALA Experience with Keanu Reeves

    A couple of years ago I did a presentation to NMRT on how to get the most out of attending the conference. Besides all of the amazing presentations, SWAG, networking, vendors, etc… There is a lot that you can do to put yourself out there and take advantage of the many opportunities to get more involved in the profession. I’m going to rehash that presentation and give you some tips and pointers to be more successful at ALA in Vegas.

    slide-1-10241) I used to hate ALA and conferences in general. When I started my career, I went to two conferences and decided I was never going back. I realize now that this was 99.9% my fault. One of the most important things you can do at the conference is meet people and make new friends. Having friends at a conference changes everything. So get out there and meet people to be their friends and not just professional acquaintances!

    slide-2-10242) When you start talking to people, they are going to tell you about parties, presentations, ways to get involved and give you more opportunities to meet more people. In fact, the first time I had a good time at ALA it was because some great folks from Reforma invited me to hang out with them. Saying yes is how I accidently wound up on ALA Council. Aaron Dobbs told me to and I said yes. It’s also how I wound up in the ALA Think Tank house. JP asked me to try out this idea he had to stay in houses instead of hotels and I said yes. Don’t be shy about tagging along when people invite you to tag along!

    slide-3-10243) Don’t mind the haters. There is always some kinds of drama, someone speaking poorly of someone else, someone expressing some kind of negativity. Its fine, we’re human, that’s going to happen. But try to avoid the negativity. If you don’t like something, just move on. There’s hundreds of things happening at any given time so find something you like before hating on something you don’t.

    slide-4-10244) Likewise, project some positivity. Negativity gets a lot of attention on FB, Twitter, and maybe even your blog. But in person, it can be a lot different. Be sure to hype up people’s projects, thank them for their presos and time, and compliment people whenever you can. Be someone that people want to be around with your positive energy and smile and laugh a lot.

     

    slide-5-10245) Showing up is so important. There are so many things happening at ALA that you can’t be at everything but this is your chance to try. Just showing up to the after parties and engaging people has been one of the best things for my career. You can go to bed early, but you’re going to miss out on the opportunities to sit and talk with you library heroes instead of just listening to them talk at you during their presentations.

     

    slide-6-10246) Yep… After you show up, talk to everyone. Don’t be a wallflower. People WANT to talk to you. ALA is a great place where everyone will want to talk to you about whatever you’re interested in. Chances are that they’ll be interested in many of the same things you are. Librarians are all the same so if you talk about cats or Dr. Who you’re pretty much “in.” So while you’re sitting and waiting for that session to start, introduce yourself to the people around you. Ask them questions and get to know them.

     

    slide-7-10247) One key to success is just finding that first person. The one other person in the conference who you can hang out with. Its much easier to engage with people when you have a buddy to do it with. Plus, you and your buddy can come and go together to events and that makes it much easier. You can also help each other find more people or introduce each other to the people that you both know and double your network.

    slide-8-10248) What’s better than one friend? A dozen friends! Try and get a co-hort together. There are a couple of ways to do this through ALA like Emerging Leaders, running for ALA Council, but mostly its going to depend on you. If you’re having a hard time though, there are a bunch of ways to connect online before the conference. For example, follow the conference hashtags, the tumblarians on tumblr, or join one of the hundreds of FB groups for librarians like ALA Think Tank.

    slide-9-10249) It’s easy to get involved and offer your hand in services. You can try to volunteer for the conference and connect with people that way. Offer to volunteer for one of the committees or do things that help people at the conference like Erica Findley’s party map.

     

     

    slide-10-102410) Hey! You came to ALA and you put yourself out there. That’s the first risk you took. Now take another. Next year submit some program proposals, email people at ALA and ask them if you can help them with anything, do something big and exciting like organizing a meetup or a reason for a group of people to come together and do something in the networking uncommons.

     

    slide-11-102411) People expect librarians do act a specific way or live up to some kind of stereotype. This is even pretty prevelant within the profession. If you’re out to get noticed, you have to do something unexpected. For example, Steve Kemple organized a huge and loud disruption at an ALA Conference and it was one of my favorite things to happen at that conference.

     

    slide-12-102412) This one is easy. Start a blog or a tumblr or submit something to a professional journal to put your ideas out there and into the professional discussion. You have ideas and you should share them!

     

     

     

    slide-13-102413) The authority at the conferences do things a certain way mostly because that’s the way they’ve always done it. But then some people came out and questioned why and help make the change. For example, this is how the Code of Conduct came about. People came together and questioned authority and made the changes they felt we needed.

     

    slide-14-102414) People naturally gravitate towards people who aren’t afraid to make decisions. Even when those decisions might be bad ones. Of course, you’d never make a bad decision! But, if you have an opinion on something, don’t be afraid to share it. Get a dialog going and start a movement.

     

     

    slide-15-102415) This isn’t always the easiest thing to do. So many people won’t give up their seats on council or on committees and some people are on a dozen committees. But there are opportunities out there like running for ALA Council, mentoring for NMRT, or getting a seat on a committee.

     

     

    slide-16-102416) One of the best things you can do for lunch is ask around for people to join you for lunch. There is usually also a ton of great vendor socials or events for all of the meals of the day and the ones in between and you can typically find them using the conference hashtag. Or if you see a couple of people sitting around, ask if you can join them. If approaching a group seems intimidating, then try to find that guy or girl sitting alone in the dining commons and ask to join them. I’ve had some of the best conversations during lunch like this.

     

    slide-17-102417) Even if you aren’t. Guess what? Everyone else isn’t that confident either. We’re basically all faking it so fake it with us until we make it. In any case, everyone likes you so go talk to them!

     

     

     

    slide-18-102418) I’m not going to dwell on this one too much, there are SO many blogs and tumblrs dedicated to dressing for conferences.

     

     

     

     

    slide-19-102419) There are so many parties and socials and networking opportunities at the conference. Go out to them. If you’re sleeping, you’re conferencing wrong. You can sleep when you get back to the reference desk.

     

     

    slide-20-102420) No matter what you do, take this opportunity and make it happen. Whatever “it” is for you. If you’re just there to attend sessions, add to your tote bag collection, or meet John Green then don’t miss out on whatever it is you want to do.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    The Slate Article, Campaign Math, and Why that Article Doesn’t Matter

    yo JPOk, I saw a lot of hate on the Slate Article about what librarians look like. The hate ranged from people being upset because the people were too diverse, to it being stolen from other people, to people being “over it” in regards to library stereotype articles. Basically, I think each of these are ridiculous for a bunch of reasons. The most offensive TO ME though is the people who hate it because they are over stereotype bending articles about librarians. Let me break it all down for you.

    First, let me note that I am NOT hating on the article. I personally loved it a whole lot and this whole blog post is mostly about the fact that we need a lot more of them.

    Diversity Issues
    So these are really important things to talk about but I’m a mildly successful, middle class, fully abled, white guy with the difficulty level of my life set at “easy” so I’ll let other people make the arguments on this one.

    Theft…
    Ok, I know the article looks and sounds like a bunch of other things that librarians have done. But can we please just get over the victim mentality on this. I’m going to write a much longer blog post on this mentality now that I think about it more. It’s really so much more than I can possible talk about here. But I can sum it all up by saying that it’s all been done before. For example, there have been train libraries, there have been libraries on donkeys and on librarians backs and on boats, there are probably 30 organizations building libraries in Africa, there have been tiny free libraries before, there are a thousand blogs talking about a million things, and guess what? Your library FB page isn’t original either. So instead, how about we just give props when someone makes something cool happen even if you’re trying to do the same thing because what you’re doing isn’t new either anyway. Let’s get on the same team here people!!

    The REAL Message
    Ok, you’re probably already mad at me and I’m cool with that. But, if you got to this point, I’m going to explain why I’m REALLY UPSET by people hating on it because they are so “over it.” I hear this every time librarians try to get a new message out about our stereotypes or more honestly, try to get a message out about anything. So let me talk about why that really irks me and why this just proves without a doubt that we need a lot more political and marketing and advertising training in our profession.

    Let me start with what I’ve learned from my work with EveryLibrary and EveryLibrary California about the message in a political campaign. In every single book about campaign messaging and in every campaign message training I have ever been to, I have learned that there are three key strategies to remember about messaging.

    1) Say the message
    2) Repeat the message
    3) Repeat the message
    4) *free bonus strategy* REPEAT THE MESSAGE

    This article’s Message
    In the case of this article, it looks like there are two messages being played out in complimentary ways. I think that a first glance it appears that the message of the project is that librarians don’t look like what you expect. But when you read the actual text of the article, the message that stands out is that libraries are highly important institutions that do a diverse range of public goods. It looks to me like the pictures of these diverse librarians was meant to reinforce that idea in the text. But let’s look at the one message that everyone is talking about and the message that librarians are so over.

    “Librarians are not the stereotype”

    I think that there are a couple of truths that we need to recognize here. The first and foremost is that this wasn’t an article written for librarians to read at all. Basically, we’re talking about breaking down the stereotypes of librarians in the minds of non-librarians and not do anything in the minds of librarians. The second thing is that this conversation about changing the stereotype of librarians has been going on for a long time and it seems that most librarians want those stereotypes to change. We can debate about whether or not most librarians want that change or not, I don’t really care. But enough librarians want those stereotypes to change that it’s a conversation that we’ve been having for a long time.

    So how do we make that change?
    Well, we begin with the message that librarians are not the stereotype. Then we repeat it. In fact, we repeat it so much that we are tired of hearing it. If this were a political campaign, we wouldn’t even be discussing the fact that we are tired of hearing. In a campaign, we’re supposed to be tired of hearing the message. If we’re tired of hearing it, it means that the public is just starting to hear it for the first time. If we’re just tired or “so over” our message we’ve only just begun to do our jobs. To prove why that is, let’s do the math on that article.

    Campaign Math
    Let’s be HUGELY optimistic and say that 1 million people read that article in just the United States. That means that after the views by everyone else in the world, and minus all the librarian views, that there are one million views by the public in the states. There are slightly more than 313 million people in the United States and lets just simplify that to 300 million. This means that just ONE THIRD of ONE PERCENT of the American Population saw that message. And finally, let’s be honest and say that in reality, probably only 100k people living in the United States saw the article. Guess what? We’ve only reached ONE THIRTIETH of ONE PERCENT of the population. So in these scenarios, to reach the entire US population, we would have to repeat this message 3 THOUSAND times at the million views mark, and 30 THOUSAND times at the more realistic hundred thousand view mark.

    Now, let’s get even more serious. For campaigns, it’s widely accepted that for every 7 times a voter sees a campaign message, they register it in their mind once. At campaign trainings they also say that voters need to register it at least three times to be effective, and they need to register it ten times for it to be engrained. Ok… Are you following along? That means that we would have to put out this message AT LEAST 21 thousand times to register in the minds of US citizens just once at the million view mark and we’d have to write a similar article and put it out AT LEAST 2.1 million times at the more realistic hundred thousand view mark just to register it in their minds once. You want it engrained in their minds? Multiply those numbers by ten!!! Yes, we’d have to put out this message 21 million times to be effective.

    More Like a Campaign
    Luckily, in a campaign we typically only have to be effective with 50%+1 of the voting population. But even if we were to cut these numbers in half and add 1 to just the voting population like a campaign… Well, I think you still see how huge a national campaign needs to be. Now think of your state or town and how large even that campaign needs to be. I REALLY hope that one of the take aways you have from this is the size of a local campaign. Maybe a local campaign for your library?! This is way campaigns are so expensive and why EveryLibrary is so important.

    I’m tired just writing this
    So yes, you ARE tired of hearing messages about libraries. And you should be. And if you’re upset about a message going out once on an article like this one on Slate, just remember how little impact this one article actually has. It has, at most, 1/210th of a percent of an effect on the minds of Americans. So just be cool and praise the folks involved for getting it out there and then work on the message you want to get out. You’re going to need a lot of help on your message too.

    EveryLibrary California
    Since this is my blog, I’m going to have to throw out a pitch for EveryLibrary California and what we are doing to get the message out about the importance and impact of libraries on the lives of Californians. We are running a campaign for $50 contributions to our fight for California Funding and every $50 gets the message into the minds of up to 38 thousand Californians. Consider making a contribution today.

    P.S.
    I wrote this blog about the overall effect of this article on the profession in the minds of Americans.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

    Meh…

    Meh…










    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

    WTF Was I Thinking Last Year?

    Well, I’m kinda over blogging on my own blog in general but I’m going to write this one anyway. It’s my, “WTF was I thinking last year?” blog post. Basically, I’m just going to talk about all the stupid crap I did last year and then promise to try to do better this next year.

    1) Internet fights and generally being a dumbass
    Ok, this is the biggest and most on my mind and that’s why it’s first…. I’ve only gotten into internet fights with a VERY few people (like, less than 5). In the end, they were dumb, I feel dumber, and I feel bad about myself as a person. I also feel bad about anyone I made feel bad. Sorry about that, if I see you around in person, I owe you all a couple of beers (or whatever you’re drinking/eating) and/or at the very least, an apology in person for sure. Of course, none of you have to forgive me or be my buddy or anything crazy like that, just know that I plan to try to not be such an asshat in the future.

    So, this next year, I’m just going to do my best to let it go when something that irritates me on the Internet happens. People do what they do based on their own experiences and it’s not my place to judge them especially when I have no idea what their experiences are in the world. So yea… No more Internet fights. Let’s just go back to having some drinks and hanging out, making things awesome, and living our lives.

    2) Hating and Hating Haters who Hate
    I kinda slipped into becoming this and living in this area of the world a little bit towards the end of this year. I let things get to me that shouldn’t have gotten to me because, honestly… Well, in the end it doesn’t matter at all.

    So, instead of spending time and energy on hating things that I hate, I’m going to spend my energy on hyping the things that I love. Honestly, I’m worried it will be hard to start moving in that direction because I’m worried it’s become a habit. So, if you see me hating, call me out on it.

    3) Being a better manager/librarian in my job
    Honestly, this year has been rough for me personally and as a consequence of that I haven’t done as good of a job in my job as I would have liked. There are a bunch of things that I failed at for all kinds of reasons. I failed at looking at the details of some projects and I didn’t motivate my staff as much as I wanted to. To put it plain and simply, I didn’t do an awesome job like my amazing staff deserves.

    So, in case you don’t know…. I’m a branch manager in charge of two branches in my library system. I easily have a better staff than just about any manager I have ever talked to. I never have to worry about my libraries and they just kinda do an amazing job all the time and they make me look good. What more could I ask for? They are the reason that I have been able to go to all these conferences and do the things that I do outside of my library branches. I should do better for them and that’s my plan in the next years going forward. I’ll start by publicly saying thank you!

    4) Organize
    Right this second, I am terribly organized. I have a disturbingly messy office with parts of projects scattered around and things stored all over it. Basically, it’s a disaster and I’m not sure how I got to this point but this next year, I’m going to take some time and figure out how to be better organized not just in my office, but in my whole life. Ugh… this one will take a LOT of work….

    5) Do Something Awesome
    Ok, as a guy who honestly has a lot of privilege in the world, I feel like its my responsibility to not just sit on the winning lottery ticket but do something meaningful and good and awesome with it. Of course, I’m not sure what I should do just yet. So for now, I hope to just try to suck a lot less as a person and see what that does. I’m totally open for suggestions if you have them though.

    6) Follow Through
    There are a couple of things that I failed at following through on this last year. There were a couple of promises I made that I didn’t keep, or didn’t get to in time, or that let people down in the professional world. If you were one of them, I’m sorry about that. This is going to go back to numbers 3 and 4 and 5 but anyway, I’m going to do a much better job and following through on my professional promises…. Umm…. I promise?

    Well… Dang… OK, there are like ten more things to talk about but I feel like you’re done reading and I’m kinda done writing another blog post. See you next year.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

    Worst Library Survey Ever

    I don’t know if you heard about the plight of Kentucky Libraries. In case you haven’t, basically the ‘any tax is a bad tax’ organizations started a lawsuit to roll back library funding across most of the state to funding levels from anywhere between 10-30 years ago. In almost all areas this will devastate the state’s libraries. As part of… well… As part of whatever it is that they’re doing in KY to open up a discussion about this, they made this survey to determine the need for libraries most horribly titled;

    ARE PUBLIC LIBRARIES STILL VALID IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

    There are some real gems of a question in this survey that show the agenda or ignorance of whoever made it. My favorite is number 9 that only allows you to give ONE answer-

    9. What purpose do you see libraries holding in the future?

  • A place to borrow traditional books.
  • A place to borrow digital media.
  • A place for community members and families to come together and share new experiences.
  • A place that hosts computers and technology for those who don’t have access for educational or job-search purposes.
  • I don’t think libraries will be relevant in the future.
  • So even if you don’t want to take it, just looking at the questions will help you see what libraries are up against in KY and also across the country.

    You can bet this survey spurred by the any tax is a bad tax organizations is being passed around those online forums across the country and being filled out by just about every one of them with an agenda. If you’d like to take it and restore balance to the force, here it is.

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NKYForumLibraries

    This war in Kentucky is going to gear up to be one of the biggest fights in librarianship in years. If the libraries lose the lawsuit, there are going to be dozens of ballot measures to regain funding across the state and we need to be armed to fund those fights. If you want to know what else you can do to help, here are a couple of suggestions.

    EveryLibrary is watching the outcome of this debate in KY very closely and we are getting ready to take action as soon as an action becomes clear. So, you can sign-up to continue to get information about what EveryLibrary is doing here or, even better, you can support EveryLibrary with your contributions here.

    The best thing you can do is actually attend the meeting in Campbell County Kentucky to show the relevance of libraries in the 21st century. Libraries and Librarians NEED to have a voice at this forum. We need you to attend!

    Otherwise, you can share this survey or this blog post with your library supporters to ensure that the voice of librarianship gets heard over the grumblings of the anti-tax crowd.

    Library advocacy 3

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    Speaking at Your Library Event

    speakingAs a library subject-specialist, I can speak on a variety of topics for your library school, association and library system. Throughout my career I have been a featured speaker and keynoter for staff development days, in-services, conference programs, and pre-conference workshops. As a library manager I have the ability to relate to the workplace challenges and professional development goals of library staff, trustees, and friends. If you are looking for fresh and engaging presentation topics and styles, I have been providing these skills to libraries for the last 6 years.

    I have been a frequent speaker, presenter, and workshop leader at library conferences around the country as well as a participant in the Great Library Roadshow. My conference presentations are focused on supporting your conference theme with stories and data that are inspirational, motivating, and actionable for your attendees. I address individual outcomes as well as organizational engagement with relevant content to address your unique library community.

    My areas of Expertise and Experience;
    • Innovative technology
    • Program development
    • Library partnerships and collaborations
    • Collection development
    • Creative fundraising
    • Library management
    • Teen librarianship
    • School librarianship
    • Professional development and networking

    I also speak on behalf of EveryLibrary on the following;
    • Library elections and campaigns
    • Politics and libraries
    • Best practices in library advocacy
    • GOTV and info only campaigns
    • Campaign bootcamps, trainings, and workshops

    Please contact me directly for information about honorarium and travel expenses as well as my availability. Please note that if you choose me as your library conference keynote speaker or workshop leader, an additional conference program presentation or panel elsewhere during the session day is included, if desired.

    Previous Speaking Engagements
    Future of Libraries Conference 2010– Building Social Media Capital
    Internet Librarian 2010 – The Library eBranch: More Than Just a Website
    Internet Librarian 2012, California Library Association 2012 – Speed Technology Dating
    Internet Librarian 2012, Computers in Libraries 2013 – Teen Library Users: Engaging the Next Generation
    Library 2.0 – Making it Happen: Take Action
    Computers in Libraries 2013 – Ask IT (Honest Answers from your IT Department)
    ALA MW 2013 – Leading your Career: Stand Out and Be Outstanding
    ALA Annual 2012 – Professional Networking
    New Jersey Library Association – Me, We (a workshop on collaboration and innovation in libraries)
    Public Library Association 2012 – Engaging Customers in an Online Environment
    Public Library Association – What makes A Collection? Redefining Libraries through their collections.

    Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments