LITT: Marketing

Let’s chat about promoting library programs and services. Do you create flyers, handouts, and bookmarks? Are you in charge of your library’s social media? Do you want to help more community members access your library? Let’s talk about during LITT: Marketing chats!

Subscribe to the Idaho Library Marketing listserv:

Our next LITT: Marketing chat will be held in July 2024 and we will accessibility in library marketing, including using AI.

Notes from Past LITT: Marketing Chats

Here are the notes from our discussion:

Things people want to learn (or learn more about):

  • Digital tools like video editing, graphic design, Adobe Express (free for libraries through Tech Soup), Canva, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) hacks.
  • General marketing skills like how you know which format/medium to use for messaging, getting better engagement from social media and newsletters, and writing copy for marketing materials.
  • Staying up to date with trends and keeping skills and content fresh.

Ways people want to learn:

Ideas shared during the chat:

  • Creating an online space for sharing real examples of marketing materials for other Idaho libraries to use.
  • A guide for sourcing free images and photos, along with search terms to easier find what you need. Also, maybe a tutorial for using AI to generate images that you need.
  • Use Canva AI to create images.

Links shared in chat that didn’t make it into the notes above:

Here are some of the highlights from our discussion:

  • The Idaho Office of the Attorney General’s Idaho Ethics in Government Manual provides useful guidance on the prohibition of using public funds to campaign for or a against a candidate or ballot measure (page 13).
  • Advocacy outside of work, and that does not use resources or equipment paid for with tax dollars is permitted.
  • We listed the most frequent instances when a library may need to be mindful of advocacy issues: trustee or city office elections, bonds or levies, and legislation that impacts library policies or taxes.
  • Libraries can provide accurate information about elections without advocating – for example, one library created a flyer that showed the exact amount of that taxpayers would pay for an increased levy.
  • We discussed creating a document with important, accurate, information or a Frequently Asked Questions document, for frontline staff to use when they get questions from the public about an election issue. This supports your frontline staff by making sure that they are prepared to accurately answer questions and cuts down on the risk of misinformation.
  • Your library may want to make accurate information on an election issue available in many places to help educate the public: social media, flyers in the library, handouts at service desks, and library newsletters are all ways to share information.
  • We had a brief conversation about the role of a Friends group or Foundation in advocacy and had questions about whether a 501C3 organization could do much in this area.
  • One way to present accurate information about your library is to use your library’s statistics and stories from library patrons.
  • Here are some resources that were shared during the chat:

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the LITT: Marketing chat on marketing with partners. Here is a summary of our discussion:

  • Don’t forget to acknowledge and thank your partners (at the beginning or end of an event/program, in your print materials, on social media, etc.). In print materials, you can display their logo prominently and bold the name of the organization. If there is any press about the event, make sure that the reporter knows who your partner is and their role. You can also post a thank you sign in the library.
  • Logos:
    • Make sure that your share your logos so that partners can easily access them – check out this example and this example of websites with downloadable logos. Need advice about logos and web design? I can put you in touch with folks that can help!
    • Don’t forget to ask your partner for a high-quality logo for the library to use on advertising materials. Ask for a larger size that can be scaled down on websites.
    • One of the first conversations you have with your partner can be about logo’s.
    • Sometimes, people that are using the library’s space or resources think that they are partnering with the library, but they are not – make sure you are ready to have a conversation about when another organization or person may not use your logo.
  • What is a partner?
    • We spent some time talking about what a partner is. A community member or group that is using a library service/space is not necessarily a partner. You may want to review your room use policy to see if it contains any language about use (or prohibitions) of the library’s logo or name.
    • Partners usually have shared goals or audiences that they serve.
    • There can also be different levels to a partner relationship:
      • You can just share information to cross-promote events and services.
      • You can collaborate on a program or service, with each partner contributing resources.
      • You can involve partners in decision-making and planning.
      • You can co-create programs or services.
    • Here are some partnership agreement templates that the Meridian Library District has used in the past to build better partnerships (Note – MLD is in the process of improving and updating these documents, but they are a good place to start!):
  • Partnerships aren’t forever – sometimes missions change, or leaders change, and your goals are no longer aligned with your partners. That’s okay! Sometimes partnerships end or evolve into something else.
  • Looking for new partners? Try creating an asset map!
  • Something cool – you can use the Band app to send out text messages to your community.

Thanks to everyone who was able to attend the LITT: Marketing discussion on media relations. We covered a LOT of topics during the hour – here are the highlights:

  • Donna’s presentation on communicating with the press and more. There is specific information in the presentation on crafting and formatting a press release. If you have a specific question or need help with your marketing or media relations strategy, email Donna, the ICfL Public Information Officer: donna.eggers@libraries.idaho.gov.
  • Donna shared her media list that she uses to keep track of current press contact info – you can look at here.
  • Here is a short handout on crafting your message/elevator pitch.
  • Here is the ICfL’s style guide, in case you find it useful in creating documents for the media.
  • We talked about sample press releases and had a specific question about crafting a press release for launching a bond for your library. We dug up an old one from the Meridian Library District’s 2015 bond election – you can look at it here.
  • We also discussed briefly photography in the library – here is a sample photo/video release form and a sample sign indicating that pictures or video will be taken in a library space.
  • We talked a bit about how to market alongside partners and we will discuss the issue further during our October LITT: Marketing chat. One resource that may be of interest is Peach Jar, which is used by some school districts to communicate with parents.

Here are highlights from the discussion:

Our next chat will be in July 2023.

During this month’s discussion, we took an in-depth look at Canva, including how to manage multiple users. Here are some resources from our discussion:

Here are some highlights from the chat:

  • Did you know that you can pdf’s in Canva? Just upload the document and it becomes editable!
  • You can also create and edit videos in Canva, including adding multiple audio tracks.
  • We talked a little bit about the differences between a free and pro account. One big bonus with the pro account is that you can easily resize documents.
  • You can easily remove backgrounds on images and change the colors in Canva.
  • Canva creates QR codes too.
  • Libraries use Canva for a lot of different things: bookmarks, social media posts, flyers, posters, summer reading logs, and more!

Our next meeting will be at the end of March – if you have an idea for the chat, contact Jennifer: jennifer.redford@libraries.idaho.gov 

Thanks to everyone who attended last week’s LITT: Marketing chat. We had a great discussion about social media comments. Here are some of the resources that we shared:

Some general discussion points:

  • Your library should have a social media policy that covers how to deal with comments
  • Many public libraries can’t hide negative comments and some take different approaches:
    • Some libraries do not respond directly to comments and let their audience of supports defend the library
    • Some libraries try to communicate with negative commenters offline
    • Some libraries do reply to negative comments, or hide them if appropriate
  • Make sure you are able to respond to public records and information requests about your library’s social media accounts

Here are the highlights from our conversation on marketing bigger events:

  • Toolkits can save you time and have great resources for free – we especially liked sample proclamations to send to local elected officials:
  • Partnering with a local business or school can help you advertise your program
  • Staff meetings are a great time to communicate with other staff about upcoming events, and email can be used as a reference or printed out for staff who don’t check email often
  • Advice for putting on a successful event:
    • Recruit staff to help make images!
    • Word of mouth works great – mention your programs to your patrons
    • Have food. Or offer a free book if they return a coupon
    • Start planning earlier than you think you need to!
    • Plan ahead with partners for cross-promotion – i.e. promote in multiple places at the same time to reach a broader audience.
    • Share it to your local online classifieds
    • Ask/inform admin throughout even if you don’t need to ask so that they are onboard from the beginning.
    • Have a second pair of eyes look over everything you plan or create! Others have great suggestions and can help catch mistakes.
  • Check out the 2022 Library Calendar of library and book-related holidays

Finally – the ICfL will soon launch a listserv exclusively for Idaho Library marketing topics. We will advertise it on LibIdaho when its ready to go!

Here are the highlights from our discussion:

Here are tips for creating great library program descriptions:

  • Start with keywords that describe the program and build your description based on those (this will help people using search engines find your program)
  • Aim for clear, not cute, writing
  • Descriptions should be 100 words or less
  • Highlight benefits of the program to your audience – write with your audience in mind
  • Use present tense verbs and active voice
  • Include a call to action (like “join us” or “register”
  • Read through your own spam email to find headlines and attention-grabbing words that were sent to you from marketing professionals for inspiration
  • When you are working with multiple staff members, a style guide is useful – I’ve attached the ICfL style guide as a reference

Our next LITT: Marketing chat will be in March, and we will talk about promoting larger library events, like National Library Week (in April) and Summer Reading. Also, in the next few weeks the ICfL will launch a listserv specifically for Idaho library marketing folks – stay tuned for information about signing up.

Thanks to everyone who attended this morning’s LITT: Marketing chat on naming library programs and services. We had a great discussion about how hard it is to find just the right name for library programs. Here are some general things to keep in mind when choosing a name:

  • Keep it short and simple
  • Try for cool and creative
  • Make sure it’s easy to understand
  • Make it memorable and unique
  • Don’t overthink it
  • Try for a rhyme
  • Include learning objectives (i.e. “Learn to Sew”)

We watched this quick video on naming programs from the Super Library Marketing Show/Blog. We also looked at these three online tools to help with program name brainstorming:

Finally, don’t forget to check in with Donna Eggers, the Public Information Officer at the ICfL, if you need some one-on-one help with all-things marketing: donna.eggers@libraries.idaho.gov.

Our next chat will be during the week before the Christmas holiday in December, and we will discuss how to write program descriptions for print and social media.

We had a great discussion on Canva basics and covered the following topics:

  • How to make a button template in Canva (see attached example)
  • Using Canva for social media (the templates are sized for different types of posts)
  • Using Canva for PowerPoint slides (download the Canva template and edit in PowerPoint)
  • Use your own photos and logos (you can input specific colors from your organization’s style guide or Canva will detect colors from your image and add them to the color palette)
  • A shortcut for inserting and editing a line in Canva is to simply press the “L” key on your keyboard

Want to learn more? The Canva help feature is really useful and check out YouTube for quick tutorials. Have some specific questions or projects that you want some help with? Contact Donna Eggers (donna.eggers@libraries.idaho.gov), the ICfL’s Public Information Officer.

Here are the documents that were shared as examples/guides:

Description: Have you ever had to design a flyer, bookmark, poster, or sign for your library? Was it a little more work than you expected? Good graphic design can make or break your library’s promotional materials. Lets get a conversation started about what successful graphic design looks like for libraries, and how you can improve your design skills. Our next LITT: Marketing chat focus exclusively on graphic design basics.

Notes: 

Description: Marketing library events and collections is hard work. And it may be near the bottom of your to-do list. Join other library staff from around Idaho to share marketing tips and tricks. Help each other improve the effectiveness of your library’s marketing. The focus of this discussion will be social media. This LITT chat is a great fit for anyone working in any type of library that uses social media to connect with patrons.

Notes:

Recommended Resources from Chat on 12/16:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BE6_rDhy3_s

https://superlibrarymarketing.com/2020/11/09/libraryfacebook2021/

https://superlibrarymarketing.com/2020/12/14/librarypinterest2021/

https://libraries.idaho.gov/continuing-education/library-communications/social-media/

Social Media Policy Examples: https://www.webjunction.org/news/webjunction/social-media-policies.html

A good example of a cheeky account is ICOM library’s account https://www.instagram.com/icom_library/?hl=en

For social media scheduling:

  • CanvaPro, also for content creation
  • SmarterQueue
  • ActionSprout, also for
  • RecurPost

List of Social Media Platforms that Idaho Libraries use:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Nextdoor
  • Meetup
  • Google Business
  • Snapchat
  • TikToc
  • Twitch
  • Discord

Questions or comments about LITT: Marketing chats? Contact Jennifer.

LITT EVENTS

Early Learning LITT Discussion

August 15, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm MDT

LITT: On the Move – Summer Outreach Successes!

August 20, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm MDT

Early Learning LITT Discussion

October 17, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm MDT

Early Learning LITT Discussion

December 19, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm MST

Jennifer Redford

Youth Services Consultant
Email / 208-639-4147
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