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Adding Value to Social Networking

June 30, 2010

Yesterday I was checking my email and found a message from one of our library vendors, Gaylord Brothers, in my inbox. Nothing unusual. We get those all the time. It was for a sale promotion. Again, no surprises here. However, this particular email caught my attention because it was pointing me to the Gaylord Facebook fan page and a discount offer that is directly tied to their Facebook presence.


Become a fan and reap the benefits of an exclusive offer. That is building connections that can be fostered and enhanced. That is adding value.

Social networking, particularly Facebook, now permeates our everyday lives. (I know this is true because even my mother now has a Facebook account.) For anyone with a service to offer–a company, an organization, a library–social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are ripe platforms for bringing what you have to offer to customers, users, patrons, etc. We connect. We market. We bring value. We service. We all win.

If you are part of an organization and have something to offer, are you regularly using or experimenting with social networking sites to connect with people? If not, there is no better time than the present. Look at what others like you are doing with social networking. Create your own organizational account on one or two popular social networking sites and test the waters. If you are already using social networking, are you moving beyond connections to find ways of adding value to those connections? How can we not only stay in touch with people, letting them know what we have to offer, but also give them actual opportunities to make those connections worthwhile?

A few ideas:

  • A giveaway for retweeting one of your tweets
  • A special offer for the person with the most check-ins at your site with one of the location-based social networks
  • Promoting your Facebook fan page as a place to ask questions on the spot
  • For libraries: Sending a status update on Facebook or Twitter that offers a “library fine forgiveness” to the first X number of people who visit the library and mention the status update

Adding value to our social networking efforts. It’s in the game plan for our library this coming academic year.

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