Lots of libraries use Facebook for marketing and outreach activities. Facebook is a free platform where many librarians dipped their toes in the social media waters for the first time. It made sense in the early 2000s for academic libraries in particular as many of our target audience were using Facebook and there was no cost to using the service.
The way content is displayed on Facebook has changed over time. Who has not been invited to boost a post in the regular course of their Facebook duties? This was an early indicator of what was to come with Facebook; unless you could pay for an ad or a ‘boost’ your content was not going to be served up to your target audiences – that is if any of them are still even using Facebook. That’s a separate blog post!
If you manage a Facebook page for your library there’s a good chance that the type of page you’ve got is a Business page or a ‘Like’ page. Your Facebook challenge to engage your users is going to become a very real and large one in 2018. Let me explain.
I’d wager that your library has low reach with your organic content (things you don’t pay to advertise/boost) on Facebook. If your experience is different I’d love to hear about it. With Facebook’s most recent NewsFeed update it is going to be even harder for Business (Like) pages to have their content seen.
With their latest update, Facebook will be prioritizing posts that trigger conversations and meaningful interactions between users. Users will begin to see more content from their friends and family and less content from businesses; that’s libraries I’m afraid.
If you want to persist with Facebook for your library and try to work around Facebook’s NewsFeed changes, here are some things you can try:
- Spend a little of your library’s marketing budget. With Facebook Ads, you have a wealth of targeting parameters to ensure that the people you want to reach see your content.
- Create high quality video and get your users to watch it, repeatedly. This might ensure you a good position on the NewsFeed and it might bring visitors back to your page to see other content.
- Schedule some Facebook LIVE events as this will get you some visibility as the LIVE videos usually generate conversation.
- Encourage people to “see you first” by changing their settings/preferences. Difficult but not impossible.
If none of these seem attractive options for you, re-consider your marketing mix for your library. Take a look at Snapchat and Instagram as alternatives, or if you want to persist with Facebook, consider setting up a relevant Facebook Group for your library e.g. a reading group, a subject-based group, or a referencing group and spend your time there, supporting people who need your library’s expertise and assistance.
And if you have any tips or advice about using Facebook in your library please share.