‘Library social media – how do you do it?’ [guest post]

We welcome a guest post from Tom Kistell, Systems Support Adviser at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU).


Library social media – how do you do it?’  That was the subject line of the email I sent to two email lists (LIS-LINK and LIS-ARLG) back in June. To give some context, we had just formed a new library social media group to co-ordinate our Instagram and Twitter presence, and wondered how it was being done in other UK universities.

I put five (strictly speaking six) questions to the lists, and six UK HE libraries responded – seven including SHU – with a treasure trove of information. Thank you! The questions and summaries of responses are given below:

Q: Which social media platforms do you use? Why did you choose those?

A: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook were the most popular social media platforms for our libraries, with most using two or all of them. The common rationale was to maximise coverage across staff and students.

Q: How do you decide which staff are involved? E.g. members of particular teams, working groups, individuals with an interest.

A: Library social media was managed by a single team in some cases and in others by a working group made up of staff from several areas. Where the group approach had been taken, responses mentioned involvement out of interest and also an effort to represent different staff areas and levels.

Q: Do you use rotas or are involved on a more informal basis?

A: Five of our seven libraries reported using a rota of some kind, some for everything social media-related and others just for responding to enquiries. One library though had rejected the ideas of rotas because ‘it is hard to be spontaneously amusing and informative in the style needed for social media when forced to by a rota.’

Q: Are enquiries received through social media and scheduled posts dealt with by the same or different staff?

A: Several libraries had the same staff posting and responding to enquiries, a couple didn’t, and the others didn’t specify. A common theme was that the people on the rota usually dealt with enquiries, only referring on to senior or specialist colleagues in more complex cases.

Q: How actively do students engage with your library on social media?

A: Trends were difficult to identify for this one because libraries each used a different combination of social media, but some interesting points came through. One library noted that more engagement with students happened through Twitter than Instagram, for another it was the other way around. Facebook seemed to be less popular with students than Twitter and Instagram, generally speaking. There was correlation as well between activity and engagement, with regular posts generating more interest.

Library social media clearly varies a lot from place to place, but there are commonalities of seeking a real dialogue with our users, a willingness to be innovative, and drawing on knowledge from across different specialisms to do both. knowledge from across different specialisms to do both.

Follow Sheffield Hallam University Library at hallamlibrary on Instagram and @hallamlibrary on Twitter.

Many thanks to Tom for sharing the results of his survey with us.  If you are interested in learning more about using Social & New Media to transform teaching & learning in your Library/LRC, MmIT and ARLG-SW are running a hands-on, collaboration and networking session in Exeter on Thu 18 October 2018.



We need to talk about #Storify…..

It would not be exaggerating to say that there were groans of anguish across the library and information community when Storify (now owned by Adobe) announced that the service will close in May 2018.  While the lengthy notice period was appreciated, with only a month until Storify closes how can we ensure that we preserve existing stories and what can we use as an alternative?

Archiving existing Storify stories

Wakelet very quickly rose to the challenge with a two step process to Import your Stories to Wakelet.  Storify users can create Stories until the end of April 2018, and have until May 16 to move their Stories across.

Alternatives to Storify

Wakelet, obviously.  However, it has taken the recent introduction of the Import from Twitter feature to make it more of a Storify experience: see the brief Twitter Import video.

If you are primarily interested in curating content, there are still many alternative social bookmarking sites that can fill the void e.g. Scoop.It or Pocket.  The excellent C4LPT website has a list of Curation & Social Bookmarking Tools.


Why is Storify closing? 

If you are interested in why social media service Storify is coming to an end, it is due to a sequence of acquisitions plus the growth in chronology and curation tools.  In a blog post Ian Milligan reminds us of how vulnerable user-generated content can be online,  and that we need to steward our data responsibly.


Talks and tweets from #mmitcrowds

On Monday 19 March MmIT members and friends explored The wisdom of the crowd? Crowdsourcing for information professionals The afternoon seminar included a case study from the British Library, two ways information professionals can contribute to the accuracy of Wikipedia, and a mini-workshop to identify ways that delegates might utilise crowdsourcing in their own workplace.

A Storify of tweets using the #mmitcrowds hashtag  https://storify.com/AlisonMcNab/mmitcrowdsIMG_1867:

Digital marketing for library and information professionals: tools, tips and techniques!


Cilip’s Multimedia, Information and Technology Group (MmIT) and the Publicity and Public Relations Group (PPRG) are pleased to be offer a joint summer workshop on  creative ways to promote your library and information service. The hands on workshop will be facilitated by Julie Chandler (PPRG) and Andy Tattersall (MmIT).

From creating your own content to empowering others to do so, this workshop aims to teach attendees core skills that will help them deliver a more sustainable, outreaching service. We will also explore platform choice, Creative Commons licences and how you develop a  sustainable way to promote your service.

When: Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 13:30 – 17:00
Where: University of West London Library
Bookings can be made via Eventbrite: Digital Marketing

Looking forward to getting stuck into some good reading!

I’m currently reading and will be reviewing these books for MmIT Journal

Great books

I’m currently reading and will be reviewing these books for MmIT Journal:

Thumbelina – Michel Serres – thanks to Rowman & Littlefield

Data Visualisation for Dummies – thanks to John Wiley & Sons Publishing

Mobile Social Marketing in Libraries – pre press copy thanks to Rowman & Littlefield

If you’d like Thumbelina after me, please let me know!

Thanks – Catherine Dhanjal, MmIT Journal editor. catherine.dhanjal@theansweruk.com

Social Media Trends and Free New Tools

Catherine Dhanjal, MMIT committee member and managing editor of MMIT Journal journal, recently attended a Barclays digital age event and has written a blog post on keynote speaker Kate Doodson’s tips and recommendations on the latest free tools which should form part of your social media strategy or tactics.

Perhaps one of the best suggestions is checking out YouGov Profiles, where you can find a typical profile of brand users, interests and preferences of customer groups, and much more from their 120,000 data points. At the moment, at least, this is free and gives you a lot of useful information about your potential audience, essential when planning social media strategy.

Read the full blog post here.

What can you learn from like, follow and share?

Social bookmarks and social sharing plugins quickly emerged as a standard feature across the web. Attached to the end of blog posts, news articles and appearing in email signatures. In fact don’t look now but if you look to your right you will see that familiar blue bird next to a @multimediaIT follow icon!

But what value can we gain from the likes, + 1 and followers we receive? How often do people click our social plugins? Should we be finding ways to encourage more activity on our social bookmarks or is it a waste of time?

We want to know our audience and what it is they want to read so that we can gauge our readership and target our material. Looking at metrics on our social plugins can show us this and help us find out not only what people are reading but what they are sharing and who that subsequently draws in.

The SocialShare report written in January this year found that “about half of the top 10,000 websites have a link to their Facebook pages from their home page, 40% link to their Twitter pages and when it comes to like buttons, Google+ is now second place to Facebook.” In response to this they found that the popularity of these social plugins is on the rise and the increased presence of Google+ on websites has resulted in a rise in popularity, in fact “the stats show that Google’s +1 is more widely used than Twitter’s share button”!

But let’s conduct our own experiment…Are you using social plugins? How big is your community? Who are you reaching? What do your readers ‘like’? What do they share? Why?

Comment below and tell us your thoughts on the value gained from social sharing.


How to Get Your Social Sharing Buttons to Stand Out, Deborah Sweeney (Jul 19, 2013) http://socialmediatoday.com/deborah-sweeney/1607461/how-get-your-social-sharing-buttons-stand-out

Report: Facebook Like Button Most Used, Google +1 Button Surging, Greg Finn (Jul 8, 2011) http://searchengineland.com/report-facebook-has-the-most-implemented-social-plugins-googles-1-surging-84926?utm_source=twbutton&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=tweet

SocialShare Report, BrightEdge (January 2013) http://www.brightedge.com/social-share-january-2013