LZ Volume 8 Issue 4, Services/Tools/Marketing

Springer Social Media Activities

As part of their drive to deliver innovative ways of marketing content to libraries and end users, Springer has engaged in social media activities. Library Zone spoke to Springer’s LibraryZone account manager, Kristi Showers, to learn more.

What are Springer’s objectives in using social media tools to engage library customers?

Our objective is to be an active member of the library community online, to be part of the conversation. Social media is often referred to as the modern day word of mouth and we value having a voice in this vital landscape. Building on that we are looking to share information that’s of high value in our community such as: industry trends, new products, and developments in librarianship. Just as important to us as sharing information is also listening to our community.

Which channels are you using?

To engage the library community we are currently using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. We are exploring future expansions into platforms such as Google+, Vine, and Instagram.

Which have been the most successful social media tools that you use and why?

There are a number of tools I utilize on nearly a daily basis to maintain our social pages. We use the dashboard Hootsuite to: schedule posts on both Twitter and Facebook, listen to what the greater Twitter community is saying about our brand and other topics in publishing such as Open Access and eBooks, and receive updates from our Twitter followers. Using a dashboard is a great way to keep you organized when you are managing multiple pages. Simply Measured is a tool we use to track our analytics, we can see what types of posts and campaigns are most engaging and why, plus many other detailed reports. I also have a number of Google alerts set up to track stories on the web for libraries and STM publishing. Google alerts comb the web for the latest news on any keyword search you create and deliver the results to your inbox, it’s an easy to use, free service. I also follow feeds from resources like Sprout Social and Social Media Examiner to stay current on the ever-changing social media landscape.

Can you share some of your experiences? What has worked well with these channels and what has not worked so well?

Some things that work best for us for higher engagement with our community are: posting in the morning, posts with images, shorter posts, and posts with pop culture or current event references. Specifically for Twitter, adding hashtags (it’s unclear yet if adding hashtags to Facebook posts increases engagement or not), and keeping posts under 100 characters so there is plenty of room to retweet.

We are seeing higher engagement with our customers on Facebook and Twitter than on Pinterest. Pinterest is a fun, visually appealing channel, however it seems to be a more effective space for public libraries and trade publishers than it does for us at the moment.

I think the largest challenge we face as social media marketers is keeping up with how quickly the rules change for social. For example it’s becoming increasingly difficult to have posts seen by your followers on Facebook in the newsfeed unless you have paid to promote that post.

With finite amount of time we want to focus on the social media platforms where our community is spending the most time and for now that is Facebook and Twitter. However we will continue to monitor this and be open to expanding into new social channels.

How have library customers responded to your social media activities?

We get great responses from our community! Both directly on our social sites and from connections that happen first online and then move to in-person or vice versa. This kind of overlap is a really positive result to see.

It’s not uncommon to have customers come up to us at conferences and say, “I saw your Facebook post” or “I follow you on Twitter and my Twitter handle is..”.
We make a conscious effort to engage with our customers via social media at conferences, with special in-booth activities and promotions that have a social aspect. At ALA Annual last summer we had digital caricature drawings in our booth, once your caricature was drawn the digital image was then uploaded to Facebook, these made for great new profile pictures!
Recently for Open Access Week we posted trivia questions each day on Facebook with a daily winner receiving a Springer Prize Pack. We had one winner of his own accord go on Twitter mention us, the contest and his winning. When he received his prize he took a photo of it displayed in his library and posted it. It’s engagement like that, that makes us excited about our social media efforts and the effects it’s having on our community.

Our Account Development team often shares photos taken of libraries and with customers during roadshows or visits. We also have customers sending us photos of how they’ve displayed their Springer swag in their library or wearing their Springer gear. We often post these stories on Facebook. It’s great to be receiving such enthusiastic customer participation like this.

We understand that you are putting together a new T-shirt campaign. Can you tell us about this?

Yes. I’m sure many people reading Library Zone are familiar with our popular “Keep Calm and Ask a Librarian” T-shirt, we’ve made the tough decision to retire this shirt in 2014. To replace this much-loved shirt we’ve decided to put the creation of the new Springer t-shirt in the hands of the librarian community and let them design it!

This contest will largely be run on our Facebook page, where we will ask our followers to submit their design (which can be words, art, or both). Once we’ve narrowed the designs down to three finalists we will ask our Facebook community to vote on one winning design, which will become the new Springer t-shirt. The winner will receive a trip for two to ALA Annual in Las Vegas as well 50 t-shirts for their library. We will be launching this in Spring of 2014, watch our Facebook page for details.

Finally, can you provide any tips and tricks that libraries can use to support their own social media activities?

Absolutely, if you’re a library that is new to social media I would suggest starting off small, don’t feel like you need to take on multiple platforms all at once. Start with one and get comfortable, gain experience, and see how much time you have to devote to social.

If you don’t already do so I would recommend utilizing to a dashboard like Hootsuite, this is a great tool to keep your team and social media activities organized. A dashboard will allow you to schedule posts in advance, listen to what your community and others are saying about your brand/library, and measure your activities with analytics all in one place. There are many of these types of dashboards available at varying costs and complexity, some even for free.

Balance informative posts with fun posts. A quick way to turn your followers off is to be pushing too much at them. Remember why you like to go online, to see great images, to connect with people that share the same interests, and get information on topics that interest you. If you keep those things in mind when you plan your social media activities, plus the importance of listening to your community you’ll have great engagement.

Most of all, have fun out there!