May 5, 2020
Time is, and has always been, a funny thing. Right now, some of my workdays seem to last for 14 hours. I’ve got plenty to do, and I love my job, but not being in an office means not walking to meetings and that lack of movement somehow bends time. On the other hand, my Saturdays seem to only have five hours to them, even though all I do it sit on the grass and admire the pinecones and weeds my one-year-old hands me.
No matter the day or the circumstances, we all have tasks we’d like to make more efficient. I’m the kind of person who tucks a little extra efficiency into sitting in the grass with a toddler – you can tell where we’ve been because that area of lawn is nicely weeded, not just toddler-weeded. Now that you know that little bit about me, you probably won’t be surprised to learn I love the added time-savings and efficiency of scheduling everything in advance. I never leave the hairdresser without having my next hair cut scheduled. If you are this person or have visions of becoming this person, I’ve got a LibraryAware tip for you.
First, make a list of social posts you know you’ll need
Do you have the calendar of holidays and staff days when your library will be closed? LibraryAware makes it easy to create widgets you can post on social media about Thanksgiving, staff days, Canada Day, Anzac Day, etc. Search “closed” and limit by “widgets” under formats to see all the options, or search for a specific holiday to narrow down your choices. When you click on preview, you’ll be able to see what social media channels each widget size is good for. You can also search “closed Twitter” to see the widgets perfectly sized for posting to Twitter.
I’ve focused on closing signs, but there are probably *lots* of library services you know you want to promote right now: digital magazines, e-books, online storytimes, language learning, genealogy, resume help, summer reading, and more. Go ahead and add those to your list.
Second, create a place to save them all
We call them promotions, but we think of them as folders. Like with those folders on your computer, good naming practice helps you in the long run (something I understand but don’t always put into good practice, so please don’t judge my own folders!). We’ve got more information for naming and organizing promotions and items in LibraryAware help. For this promotion, I would suggest something like “Regularly Scheduled Social Posts” or “Prescheduled Social Posts.” Clarity will help your coworkers know what’s in that promotion after you win the lottery, quit your job, and spend all your time volunteering at the Tracy Aviary.
Third, find your widgets
I mentioned some tips for finding widgets above, but the most important thing to know is – you don’t really need tips. In November, we introduced the LibraryAware all-templates search. You know best what you need to promote, and all you have to do is type that word into the search bar. There are limiters on the side, so you can limit by “widget” (or E-blasts or Flyers-Events or….). It’s a quick, easy way to find just the template you need.
As you find those templates, save them in your promotion. Again, consistent naming will help you in the long run. Suggestions would be “Staff day closing sign Twitter” and “Online storytime Facebook.”
Lastly, schedule all those posts
Start with one post and get it scheduled for as many times as you feel you need on each different social channel you’re using. For example, perhaps you post your Canada Day sign once per week on Facebook, and once per day on Twitter for a month before the day(s) you’re closed. You’ve got an online storytime happening every Thursday, so schedule those to go out every Wednesday. Go ahead and schedule all those posts for the remainder of the year, all at once. Then make a note to spend time the first week of January scheduling posts for holidays and recurring events for 2021 in one fell swoop (or as far out as you can manage). We’ve got instructions on how to schedule social posts on our help pages to walk you through how to do this. March your way through all of those templates you saved.
This is a lot of prework, but future-you will thank present-you. You’ll know the moment you’re grateful to yourself when staff day comes around and you think, “Oh! Did we post that we would be closed on Twitter?” You go to Twitter and there you see those posts, like clockwork, just like you’d hoped they would be.
One more thing
If the past couple of months has taught us anything, it’s that change happens, and it happens fast. That means the staff day that’s on the books right now might not happen. You might stop doing online storytimes. Having a set time to review your upcoming posts schedule before they go live is a smart idea. In LibraryAware, you can take down a scheduled post by going to Reports/Promotion Schedule and selecting Take Down Post. This step will save you from having to delete something that got posted accidentally. And that audit isn’t just to save yourself from a little egg on the face; your library has probably started doing something else cool since you scheduled all those posts. That regularly scheduled audit is also a good time to think, “How else are we serving the needs of our community, and what more can I do to get the word out?”
Whatever the answer to that question, LibraryAware has got your back.
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Jennifer Lohmann is the Director of Sales and Marketing for NoveList. She’s currently reading Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking while dreaming about leisurely trips to grocery stores.