Saturday, 8 September 2012

Marketing my LRC

Over the last few months, things in the LRC haven't gone very well. We feel like we are not valued at all by the senior management and despite efforts to convince that we are a very valuable service, we have taken a hit. So what to do to futureproof?

Marketing is my answer.

And that is why I have Ned Potter's Library Marketing Toolkit on my desk at work with post its sticking out all over and why I chose to go on the Marketing Libraries: strategic and creative communications for information professionals course.

The first session How do you like your eggs in the morning? provided a fascinating insight into how the University of Sunderland library market their service. They have created a 7 step toolkit to create marketing plans:
  1. Identify strategic direction
  2. Do SWOT analysis
  3. Profile customer segments
  4. Match offers to segments
  5. Transform offers into benefits
  6. Translate benefits into messages
  7. Plan communication campaign
I think that I already do part of this unconsciously and that I would benefit more by writing and recording it as they do at Sunderland.  I especially like the trees they used for feedback, which were visible and fun. You can see more about their marketing campaigns on their Pinterest page.

I have been told by my manager that he will get us (him, our e-Learning Manager and myself) a monthly slot on the senior management team meeting agenda, where we can promote our services and shout out about what we do. I would like to use the 7 step toolkit to start planning which services to promote. I therefore expect the handouts from this session to end up on my desk alongside the Library Marketing Toolkit book.

The second session was about Social Media Marketing for Libraries and this session reinforced what I have read in the Library Marketing Toolkit. Currently I have a Twitter and Facebook account for the LRC and that is quite enough. They are not updated as regularly as they should be and I wish to address that. I have started with Twitter by tidying it up and tweeting more, I now need to turn my attention to the Facebook page, to see what needs sorting and to start to use that more effectively. I know that there are College Flickr and You Tube accounts too and hope that I can make use of those in my social media campaigns.

The third session was about being consistent and creative with branding. I have spent the summer trying to do this with the current marketing materials that we have and the few new ones that we had to do. I am pleased with the overall effect of what has been produced, it builds on the excellent LRC Guide that was produced last year with bite size information and everything now has a College logo on, so that we are aligned and a part of the College brand. This I think may go some way to help build the reputation and value that we desire.

The final session of the day was about marketing in small specialised libraries (in this case York Minster Library) and looked at the library being a place to belong not just visit. Although this session was a very different type of marketing to what I would expect in an academic library, it was still useful, as well as being very interesting and excellently presented by Antonio Jiminez-Milian. What I got out of this session was that you can promote your values and what you want to be associated with by using status updates. To do this you retweet or like updates from bodies, institutions etc that share your values. So I will be reviewing my Twitter account again (and looking into this when I review the Facebook account) and looking at following people who share the same values as the College and LRC want to promote. 

I hope my efforts are not in vain and that indeed the LRC does build its reputation up and start to feel like we are valued and are an important part of the College.

Making better use of e-resources

At the beginning of the year, or possibly late last year, an e-mail came through from Credo Reference informing me that some e-books had bee...