Measuring the Soft Stuff

by Lara Dresser

Cynthia Hart, Virtual Librarian at Virginia Beach Public Library, gave an engaging presentation on combining social media strategies and web and marketing plans to increase a library’s Return on Investment (ROI) by building awareness, increasing customer satisfaction, and lowering costs.

It was not surprising to hear that socially engaged companies are more successful, people want to engage with companies on social media, and ‘good brands’ can evoke emotional responses. Suggestions included using social media to manage your brand, tell your story, advertise your services, and to simply be part of the conversation.

The discussion of social metrics focused on the importance of identifying your goals and finding ways to capture and quantify information that is generally qualitative, such as buzz, reach, sentiment, influence, and engagement, to determine if you’re meeting those goals.

A variety of online tools were presented, such as Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Twitalyzer, and Webfollow, that allow you to measure various web and social media events. These tools give you access to valuable data such as downloads/uploads, time spent on pages, ratings, followers, subscribers, retweets, testimonials, ratings, reviews, shares, and click-throughs.

In addition to being entertaining, this presentation opened my eyes to the dizzying diversity of online tools that can be used in powerful and creative ways to promote libraries. It is exciting to imagine what’s next in this surprisingly diverse and constantly evolving intersection.

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