For nearly a year I’ve been blogging almost exclusively as a “mom blogger” and during this time I’ve learned a lot about social media, branding and networking that can benefit archives and libraries. Archives and libraries, like many mom bloggers, tend to view themselves as “just moms” who blog for free products, a few links and the promise of traffic. However, more and more mom bloggers are beginning to see the value in what they do and how their words can either help or hurt a company. If you pay attention to social media, you’ll see how many companies are starting to court mom bloggers and hire them as brand ambassadors, consultants and social media professionals. Anyway, back to the topic at hand ~ did you notice the keywords here? They are: value, hurt and help.
Archives and libraries need to take cues from mom bloggers and put themselves “out there.” So how do mom bloggers do it? They:
1. Know their worth – Some mom bloggers have started to profit from their services. They know that their voices carry weight and companies are starting to recognize their power. And like mom bloggers, archives and libraries need to recognize the power of their voice. We offer free services and in this economy, people love free.
2. Market their services – use Twitter and Facebook, create a blog, etc and keep it current. Mom bloggers post on average three times a week (some post once a day, some several times a day) Too many times I see blogs, Twitter accounts, etc started by libraries and archives but not maintained. Use these FREE services to promote your services.
3. Engage the community – If you look at some of the mom blogs, they actively engage their readers. They ask them questions and they respond in the comments (often times following up with email). Some moms have even created communities around their blogs so they can get to know their readers. Similarly archives and libraries need to talk to the people in their communities and find out what they want from the library and then supply it.
4. Brand themselves – I recently had a travel mug made with my image and the name of my blog on it and I use it everywhere (I’m a BIG coffee drinker). People are always asking me about my mug and my blog. If you promote your services and engage your community, people will come. Every library and archives has a mission statement, use that mission statement to create a tagline and then promote, promote, promote. Put your tagline on t~shirts and offer them as prizes for kids in summer reading programs. Or sell travel mugs or flash drives with your logo on them. People will be proud to carry your products if you are serving them well.
5. Have fun – One thing mom bloggers seem to do a lot of is laugh. Even when their kids are ripping off dirty diapers or eating dog food, they’re laughing about it. When patrons walk into your library or archives make sure your staff looks friendly, there’s nothing more intimidating than having to ask for help from someone with a frown on their face.