« Back to Raising the Image

Library of the Year Creates Social Media Presence

Columbus Metropolitan Library

Innovation Leader: Julie Theado, Social Media Strategist, jtheado@columbuslibrary.org

Problem Statement

In 2010, Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) faced several challenges with drastic state budget cuts and a levy on the November ballot. It was apparent that the library needed to tell its story through numerous channels – especially social media.

Innovation

Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) developed a social media plan to serve as an extension of its strategic and marketing plan. From its customer surveys, it knew its customers were in-line with users of social media, and it was missing a key opportunity. The library believed customers who visit its branches have wonderful experiences and wanted to duplicate that experience in the social media space.

CML developed a strategy to create a social media presence that shares the value of the library with the community while building key contacts and relationships. In order to accomplish this, CML developed a content calendar for Twitter and Facebook and worked to engage customers. It also responded to customer questions and developed a Facebook ad to generate more “likes.” For Twitter, CML began to follow almost everyone who followed the library. It believed that if the library is open to all, then the social media channels needed to be as well. Also, the library followed key individuals on Twitter including media, legislators and customers.

The other key component of the strategy was to develop relationships with local bloggers. These relationships were imperative during the levy. CML also launched two blogs – Great Reads and All History is Local in order to provide customers with a more in-depth experience. The library also utilizes YouTube and to a much smaller degree, LinkedIn.

Progress

The library’s social media presence and its impact on customers surpassed expectations.

  • Went from 2,500 Facebook “likes” to 18,000 in a year (currently 19,023).
  • Facebook ad generated 51 million impressions and 19,543 clicks which meant almost everyone who clicked on the ad also “liked” the page.
  • Facebook page was rated one of the top 10 within libraries.
  • CML ranked the third among libraries on Twitter.
  • Went from 2,487 followers on Twitter to 5,788 in a year.
  • Passed levy by 66% of the votes and received support from local bloggers who wrote articles and showed support.
  • Have shared social media strategy with several libraries throughout the country.