Nicole Purviance, Marketing and Outreach Specialist for SJSU SLIS, gave a presentation on 3-8-2012 called Social Media Marketing. Ms. Purviance defines social media as inexpensive tools that combine technology with social interaction. Some examples of social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Linked In, You Tube, Pinterest, blogging, and Google+. Facebook by far dominates the list with the most unique visitors and the longest amount of time being spent on the site. Facebook has 734.2 million unique visitors per month, and users spent an average of 405 minutes on Facebook in January 2012. In comparison, Twitter has 144.4 million unique visitors per month, and users spent 21 minutes on Twitter in January 2012. Businesses can take advantage of Facebook’s enormous reach, using it to connect with current and future customers. Some examples of how to use Facebook for marketing include:
- Ask fans questions,
- Debut a product launch,
- Hold contests,
- Link to an article, and
- Ask customers how the company is doing.
To effectively use Facebook, it is necessary to encourage interaction and keep conversations going by asking open-ended questions. Best practices include freely sharing resources with followers, creating a consistent look and feel across all social media platforms, and creating a community where users can talk about themselves. It is also important to provide many reasons for fans to return to the site. Social media marketing success can be measured several ways. Exposure can be measured by analyzing the number of visits, views, and fans. Influence can be monitored by keeping track of how users speak about your business. Engagement is revealed by user activity such as posting, tagging, and commenting. Finally, if fans are attending events and doing other suggested activities, it can be concluded that the social media marketing efforts are resulting in customer action. I agree with the many points that Ms. Purviance made in her presentation, but I wish she would have tailored her comments to the use of social media in libraries rather than businesses. Still, her information was all very useful and can be transferred to libraries. In the case of the library where I work, Facebook is most likely the best social media platform to use. It’s an academic library, and upon entering the computer lab, it is very easy to see that there are at least as many students on Facebook (and a few on You Tube) as there are doing homework assignments, suggesting that Facebook is there social media tool of choice.
[Ms. Purviance provided the sources for this data and can be reached at SJSU SLIS for more information.]