Why do you post X and not Y? How often do you post? How do you respond to negative comments? How do you measure success? These are just a few of the questions that a library may be asked when it embarks on its social media journey. In these situations, a social media policy is a helpful document for a library to have on hand. A social media policy isn’t going to address every single issue that may arise in the course of a library’s social media use – and besides, who wants a policy that’s so long and complex anyway? You want people to read it, right? You want staff to be enthusiastic, not annoyed and frustrated, about using social media for the library, correct?
If it has been thoughtfully written, such a policy will outline how social media supports the library’s mission and it will provide posting guidelines for library staff involved with social media. On this page you will find the social media guidelines currently observed by the Othmer Library. If you would rather read the guidelines in a PDF, you will find one on this page as well.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Library of Chemical History (hereafter, Othmer Library) collects, preserves, and makes accessible materials relating to the history of science, technology, and medicine, with an emphasis on chemistry and chemical engineering from ancient to modern times. In its work, the Othmer Library supports the mission of its parent organization, the Science History Institute, to preserve and celebrate our scientific and technological culture and to make it accessible for investigation and knowledge creation. In keeping with this institutional mission, the Othmer Library recognizes the value and usefulness of social media sites in sharing collection materials with a broad audience of users and engaging in conversation with these users.
These guidelines are for library staff members who participate in the Othmer Library’s social media accounts. These guidelines provide standards and best practices to ensure consistency in the library’s social media use.
Social media is defined here as third party hosted online technologies that facilitate social interaction and dialogue. For the Othmer Library, these online technologies encompass the following social media sites: Tumblr and Pinterest.
The set-up, organization, ongoing maintenance, and statistics-tracking of any social media account for the Othmer Library will be conducted by the library’s social media administrator. Content creation and curation will be a collaborative effort amongst the library staff. Monthly planning meetings will be scheduled by the library’s social media administrator to facilitate discussion on the library’s social media content.
The following standards should be observed when using any of the library’s social media sites:
“Social media, in many cases, is happening in close to real time. Failure to respond promptly to a conversation, either positive or negative, can result in a great deal of harm to your library’s reputation” –p. 41 in The Librarian’s Nitty-Gritty Guide to Social Media (2013) by Laura Solomon.
To ensure that the Othmer Library is responding to all user comments, messages, and questions in a timely manner, the library’s social media sites will be monitored on a daily basis. In most instances, comments, messages, and questions will be answered by the library’s social media administrator.
The analytics for the Othmer Library’s social media sites will be formally assessed at the end of every month and compiled into a monthly report. These analytics will be surveyed using both platform-specific statistics tools and third-party products such as Google Analytics. Generally speaking, the effectiveness of the library’s social media sites will be measured by growth in the number of followers, number of engagements (on Tumblr, the total number of notes on a post and any messages received; on Pinterest, the total number of repins/saves and any messages received), number of page views, and number of pages viewed per session.
These guidelines will be formally reviewed on a yearly basis.