It is important to first decide what you actually want to be able to do with social media, and then to choose and implement the best tool for that particular activity (Facet Publishing, 2015). The public library I am employed at is rather guilty of doing this the other way around, with a directive given that we must have a presence on a particular social tool, with little or no discussion as to why exactly we are there, what we want to achieve and how we will succeed. This has led to confusion in the past surrounding the types of content to be posted and social media not being used to their full potential. It is reiterated in other readings that the first step to a successful social media marketing plan is to initially set goals before deciding on and implementing tools (LePage, 2014; Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014, p. 76).

With goals in place and the right tools chosen for the task, it is most practical to assign staff, and perhaps even community members, who are already interested in using social media to manage social content (Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014, p. 78). Forcing it upon staff is counterproductive, there is no particular communications officer/librarian, and most job descriptions have not been revised for social media duties inclusion. Therefore encouraging those with an interest and providing further training on particular tools is the best way forward.

There also needs to be a schedule for when content is created or posted and who this is done by, and guidelines for the type of content. LePage (2014) advises use of the thirds principle:

  • 1/3 content is promotion and profit driving (in our case profit is use of various library services.
  • 1/3 sharing of content created by others.
  • 1/3 developing personality, brand and community relationships.

I found this principle simple and would think it to be effective. While I consider that we already promote and brand quite well, being more selective on content that we share could be useful to our social media image. Connecting more with our community including other public libraries and sharing their content, will help grow the network and further work out what does and doesn’t work for our users (Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014, p. 78).

Lastly, our social media presence must be constantly evaluated against our goals, by both using the analytics provided by the sites themselves (Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014, p. 79) and our own measures such as numbers of likes or shares (Ramsey & Vecchione, 2014, p. 77), in order to improve the conversation we are having with our community and ensure the social media tools we are using are helping to achieve overall organisational goals.


Facet Publishing. (2015). Introduction: Social media for creative libraries by Phil Bradley [Video file]. Retrieved from

LePage, E. (2014, October 29). How to create a social media marketing plan in 6 steps. [Blog post].  Retrieved from

Ramsey, E., & Vecchione, A. (2014). Engaging library users through a social media strategy. Journal of  Library Innovation, 5(2), 71-82. Retrieved from