What kind of opportunities does a presence in online social networks offer a library?
- Relationship building - both maintaining relationship with current patrons and reaching out (making contact) with new/potential patrons
- Publicity and promotion of library events and services
- Raising the library's profile, enhancing visibility within a particular group who may not otherwise consider the library as a possible contact point or resource
- Picking up trends relevant to that social group
- Getting new ideas, new insights and another perspective from interaction with the group
- It's about connecting with patrons and how we can help them.
- Listen to your contacts to see where you share interest and goals
- You need to be clear in what goals you want to achieve with networking
- You must be able to convey clearly what you (or your organisation) do to find points of common interest
- Follow up quickly and offer feedback where appropriate
- Good and effective networking takes time and dedication
As the majority of the social network users are individuals, it would make sense to have a 'representative' in the profile. It is always much easier to connect with a person rather than a 'faceless' organisation.
As always, we shouldn't neglect to link our services. I have come across many library blogs with no links to the library website, or vice versa. The same should also happen in social network spaces - links to the website and on the website links to the social network (and other online activities).
What an exciting era for the library - so many ways of communicating with and delivering services to the public. It also presents a challenge to reach our patrons and not get lost in a sea of information and distractions.