Austin Public Library Social Media Ambassadors
Austin Public Library, Texas
Austin Public Library Social Media Ambassadors are Austin citizens who proactively raise awareness of the public library. No application is required. You simply sign up to an email list, and APL emails you regularly with optional prompts to use a certain hashtag (e.g., #APLambassador) or promote a certain library effort.
As a public awareness tool, social media can give libraries immense visibility. But that visibility is hard to get now. At a time when networks like Facebook increasingly require organizations to pay to reach their own followers, ambassadors extend APL’s reach into the Austin community voluntarily. They help the library break through congested social newsfeeds by functioning, essentially, as word-of-mouth marketers, speaking through shares, favorites, hearts, likes and reactions for the library they love.
Key Elements of Innovation
In 2015 we launched the ambassadors program, aligning it with APL’s volunteer program. Ambassadorship is the volunteer option with no application process. Ambassadors proactively promote what they love about APL. Our emails to them are thus pointed suggestions. From 2015 on, we pointed them toward generating buzz about the October 2017 opening of Austin’s New Central Library. Ambassadors got a sneak preview of the new library a week before it opened to the general public.
We have 1,129 ambassadors to date. The program hashtag #APLambassador has been used 1,299 times to date. On October 22, 2017, ambassadors got a sneak preview of Austin’s New Central Library a week before it opened to the general public. They generated over 300 social media posts in two hours. In June 2018 they will get a sneak preview of APL After Dark, a new event series premiering in 2018 at the New Central Library.