I took it easy on the second day of the Internet Librarian pre-conference. I started the day with an awesome, fog-filled jog in Pacific Grove, and then visited the Monterey Public Library to get my official library card. I am an avowed library tourist so I get a card from the local library wherever I go in California (the public libraries might all be broke here but at least you can get a card anywhere in the state if you're a resident!). I will say that the customer service I received at the library was really quite excellent, which is always nice to see.
I only attended one workshop today but it was a good one: "Twitter: Enabling Customer Conversations" with Michael Sauers and Christa Burns from the Nebraska Library Commission and David Lee King from the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. While the workshop was intended primarily for folks very new to Twitter, and thus provided some information with which I was already familiar, there was some good, new information, too. And listening to three different perspectives on the use of Twitter in libraries was just plain interesting.
Among the Twitter-related websites and platforms that were discussed, Hootsuite looks good (I actually have an account already but I have no idea when I signed up or what my log-in info is…) as a platform for Twitter because, while offering a lot of the robust features of the more well known Tweetdeck, it is entirely web-based meaning that those of us who can't download applications to our work computers (probably most of us?) can still use Hootsuite at work without a problem! One of the coolest features in Hootsuite is the ability to track click-through statistics on URL's included in tweets. I see a lot of use for this as Sacramento Public Library's Twitter account often features links to items in our catalog; knowing how effective this approach is would obviously be a good thing. Tweetstats is website that you can use to very easily generate some colorful graphic displays of your Twitter usage. Kind of fun to see the patterns of my usage. Another website, Tweetreach, is also potentially useful in tracking the effectiveness of specific tweets. The site will tell you how many people saw a given tweet, URL, or hashtag. I can see using this site as a means for evaluating the effectiveness of different types of tweets from the library. That is, are followers more likely to retweet a program announcement or a book recommendation?
David Lee King had some interesting comments about, too, about measuring the success of your library's Twitter presence. Most importantly, he said, was the need to plan your strategy before you even start using Twitter as a formal method for representing your library online. Beyond that careful planning, though, he also mentioned four different categories worth measuring once you've started:
- Raw numbers – just tracking the numbers of folks you're following and how many are following you. Look for trends and think about what might be behind any trends you see. For example, if there was a sudden increase in the number of followers you attracted one month, try to correlate that growth with something else. That information will be useful developing a strategy to continue to grow your follower base.
- Interactions – How often are the library's tweets being retweeted by followers? How often are followers direct messaging the library account? These are good indications of the value the community is finding in your message and the value they find in your organization. Again, pay attention to those retweets in order to determine what kinds of messages resonate with the community. Then keep talking about those things!
- Sentiment – Another way for evaluating your library's value to the community is through measuring the sentiment of tweets about the library. There are tools out there that will help you to analyze how positive or negative the comments are that people are making about your library on Twitter. Here is a link to an article that reviews five such analyzers.
- Stories – This is just anecdotal measurement. Keep track of the interactions with customers via Twitter that have really had a positive impact for those customers and include these stories in your reports to administration, to the Board, to the Foundation, to the local press, to whomever ought to know the positive and innovative things your library is doing!
Tomorrow marks the "real" start of the conference and I am looking forward to it!