During the holiday season, young adults are inundated with advertising and seasonal campaigns. It may be harder at this time of the year than any other time to capture the attention of teens in the library. At last month’s YALSA Symposium, Sarah Amazing, Carrie DiRisio and Samantha Helmick provided inspirational tips and tricks for marketing teen library services. Their preconference “Marketing Library Programs for Increased Impact” prepared teen library marketers for the seasonal competition for teen eyes and ears and offered predictions on social media marketing trends for 2017.
Sarah Amazing discussed concentrating on the importance of fandoms, marketing trends and designs to create an inviting space for teens. “Social media that tries too hard turns off teens,” said Amazing. “Think about trending colors and fonts. Great examples are movie posters for the season and YA book covers for the year.”

Examples of what to do as well as what not to do were provided during her presentation and included concepts like brand recognition with the use of special fonts for Harry Potter and Doctor Who events. Sarah imparted the notion that any librarian can keep their designs neat and clean with just a little research. “Even basic MS tools like Publisher can prove useful to those aware of style, trademark and popular culture,” Amazing concluded.

Carrie DiRisio overviewed social media marketing platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. DiRisio guided participants in methods to survive and thrive with social media. DiRisio covered the basics of each platform and then provided practical advice on social media maintenance for libraries: “If you aren’t familiar with a social media platform research it before you jump in. No one wants to see their library struggle if they don’t know the steps.”

“Consistent policies and procedures to mitigate social media disasters are a must for libraries,” added DiRisio, “library staff need to know how they are to respond. It may even be best for a library site to go dark until they have determined the best strategy to communicate and resolve social media firestorms.”

However, shutting down social media platforms, even those that are no longer in vogue, can also harm a library’s social marketing brand. DiRisio offered advice that librarians not let sites die, “At least post weekly to acknowledge the library brand on a space even when it is no longer at the zenith of its popularity.”

Samantha Helmick advocated the importance of management in library social marketing. “Even if you’re a library marketing team of one, a detailed checklist to plan, promote and report programs is essential for successful library branding and the library’s marketing return-on-investment.” Helmick espoused a social media marketing calendar for six months out to prepare for upcoming events and provide wiggle room for on-the-fly services and postings.

Helmick suggested that all marketing is basically a conversation and that communication should start early and internally. “We can become a bit precious about our designs, so the question becomes how can we best promote the library’s narrative or brand in this marketing material. Rather than banning Comic Sans font, review the library’s vision statement and then ask your staff how the library’s narrative is shared in each press release, poster, social media update and bookmark.”

Their presentation slides and marketing resource are available online here: Great Design Makes the Difference

Find the presenters online: Sarah Amazing (zen & the art of teen services), Carrie DiRisio (@BroodingYAhero) and Samantha Helmick (Mobile Social Marketing in Libraries)

About Samantha Helmick

Samantha serves her Iowa community in the capacity of UX & Outreach Librarian for Burlington Public Library. She received her MLIS from University of Illinois, where she designed a sustainability internship with DigitalLearn.org through PLA. Samantha volunteers as chair of the Iowa Library Association's Public Library Forum and YALSA's Division and Membership Promotion Committee, regularly contributes to LiTTech, and edReach, and is writing a textbook for the Library Tech Essentials series on “Mobile Social Marketing for Libraries” which will be published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2015.

One Thought on “Marketing for Increased Impact During the Holiday Season

  1. Kylie Peters on December 14, 2016 at 12:48 pm said:

    I was lucky enough to attend this session! (I am not in the photo and I am VERY offended that you didn’t wait to take it until I got back from the bathroom.) It was a great program–enthusistic and very practical. This is a nice overview for those who weren’t able to be there.

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