Oxford Social Media 2011 #osm11

I was invited to speak at last week’s Oxford Social Media 2011 event held by Bodleian libraries. There were two strands to the event – one with a series of external speakers (including myself), and one with workshops for 23 Things participants. Apologies in advance for the pure text post – images/embedded powerpoints just didn’t want to play ball I’m afraid!

I followed the first track, with my own presentation first followed by four others, each on different aspects of social media. I tweeted some of the main points using the event hashtag #osm11. I’ve chosen three key points I took from each of the presentations and shared them below.

1. WhoAmI.com – marketing yourself and your skills online (Jo Alcock, Evidence Base at Birmingham City University)

I presented first and had been given a brief to focus on using social media as individual librarians rather than as the library service. I chose to focus on the marketing and branding fundamentals which could be applied to online or face to face communication, then shared some tips specific to social media. You can see my slides and a more detailed description on my blog.

The main points I hope people took away with them were:

  • Know your key skills so that you can express them clearly when opportunities arise (I encouraged the group to practice different versions of their 30 second elevator pitch to different types of people they may encounter – users, management, internal and external peers, potential employers etc.)
  • Think of a few elements to your personality/style/manner that you would like to convey as your personal brand, and express those in online and face to face communications
  • Be consistent with your use of social media – use the same username where appropriate (use Namecheckr to check availability of usernames), same visual style, language style, and professional/personal mix

2. Public library social media policy: the most effective ways to provide a “comprehensive & efficient” service in fewer than 140 cha! (Michael Stead, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust)

I loved Michael’s title, and the rest of his presentation followed in his unique style (you can see his slides here). Although the event was largely academic library based, it was really good to hear from a public librarian. Of course there are a number of differences between the sectors in terms of social media (particularly that academic libraries tend to have a clearly defined audience whereas public libraries don’t), but there was a lot to be learnt from this presentation.

The main points I took from this presentation were:

  • Know your audience when engaging with social media – who are they? Where are they likely to be?
  • It takes dedication over time to commit to a social media presence – don’t just set up an account for the sake of it and let it stagnate, however…
  • It’s OK to try things out and let them grow organically – there’s nothing wrong with killing them off if you later decide it’s not working

3. Marketing academic libraries in a Web 2.0 world (Ned Potter, University of York)

Ned’s presentation covered some of the fundamentals of marketing and Web 2.0, before discussing some general principles and specific tips for utilising social media in academic libraries. He focused mainly on Twitter and Facebook so if your library is already using these tools (or thinking about it) check out his presentation for tips and advice.

The main points I took from this presentation were:

  • Social media allows the library to listen to its users, understand their needs, and engage in conversation with them – it shouldn’t be used in the same way as a static website
  • Social media is an opportunity for the library to show its human side – for example some libraries change their Twitter bio to show who is currently tweeting
  • When establishing targets for social media, don’t focus on meaningless statistics like the number of followers/likes – instead use engagement statistics (e.g. for Twitter use services such as Tweetstats or Klout)

4. Measuring social media success (Andrew Hood, Lynchpin Analytics)

This presentation touched on how you can measure the success of social media, and what tools you could use to help with that. You can download a copy of the presentation from the event wiki page.

The main points I took from the presentation were:

  • You need to both monitor (i.e. track conversations by setting up RSS feeds for different sources) and measure (i.e. employ metrics to objectively measure success) social media
  • A useful acronym for measuring success is the REAN framework (Reach, Engage, Activate, Nurture) – try to consider metrics for each of these areas
  • Google Analytics Campaign Tracking can be used to track how people are getting to your website (so you could use custom URLs to get to the same webpage from different sources e.g. Twitter, blog, Facebook).

5. Social Network Sites – harness the power, manage the risks (Duncan Smith, iCompli Ltd.)

I have to confess, I found this session a little heavy going (not helped by the fact that it was the last of the day). I recognise the importance of considering the risks of social media, though I hope it didn’t dampen any enthusiasm for social media that had been encouraged by earlier presenters (Duncan did make it very clear he didn’t want to do that). It did really open my eyes to how fortunate we appear to be in our profession that we tend to exhibit common sense when using social media – before this presentation I had thought this true of the majority of people, but I’m starting to wonder now! You can download a copy of the presentation from the event wiki page.

The main points I took from the presentation were:

  • The more you empower users, the higher potential risk
  • It is useful to have an effective, well publicised take down policy to be prepared in case of unprofessional/malicious/illegal content being posted
  • Although policies are advisable, they don’t need to restrict innovation/experimentation – the BBC policy for examples states: “Managers should not adopt an unnecessarily restrictive approach… ensure that any special instructions on blogging or microblogging are reasonable and explained clearly to staff”

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed the day, and was pleased to see such a variety of different topics covered and a variety of different speaker backgrounds. It was particularly good to have speakers from outside the library sector, and from different sectors within the profession (public and academic). I was really glad to have been involved and my session seemed to be well received – I’ve had some attendees contact me since which is always good. If you do have any questions about my presentation, please feel free to contact me.

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One thought on “Oxford Social Media 2011 #osm11

  1. Pingback: Joeyanne Libraryanne » WhoAmI.com – marketing yourself and your skills online

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