Emerging Technologies Librarian

15 Twitter Tips for Librarians

Librarians go hard on twitter and this platform contains a lot of engaged library folk who share research, interesting links and innovations. Recently I have seen a number of obviously new librarians in my twitter feed and I thought I would share some of the twitter tips I have gathered over my twitter life. They come from educators, marketers like Mark Schaefer and his book the Tao of Twitter, and observing other Twitter hero librarians like Mylee Joseph. Some of the tips I have yet to really do well but we are all on a learning journey and this is definitely mine. Some other good blog posts about social media for librarians include Amy Walduck’s LinkedIn post on Top Tips for using Social Media at Conferences and her twitter profile definitely ticks a lot of these tips off really well. Amy often blogs about libraries and social media and is worth checking out. Her Pineapple Glam blog can be found here. Also you can always grow your network by participating in #libchats held across many countries. #auslibchat is held on the first Tuesday of the month and organised by ALIA’s New Generation Advisory Committee. I hope these tips are useful for you all.

  1. Make your Twitter profile sing! You have 160 characters to make an instant impression to help you get followers — or not so use them wisely. I use this part of my twitter profile to be clear on what my interests are for potential followers. Identify yourself as a library professional and your interests so that other library folk connect with you.
  2. Your Twitter Header is a billboard for you as a professional. Do not leave this blank! Have a photo of you in action or showcase what you do at your library. I do change my header to reflect where I have travelled to or what I am currently enamoured with. You can change it up to!
  3. Upgrade your profile photo. I am a creative problem solver but not that creative with photos but I do know that people connect with people not logos or animal photos. Twitter is a social medium so show you are a person — real and alive.
  4. Follow influencers and relevant organisations. If you want to stay current in the Library and Information industry you will hear about it on twitter. Who are the the key people in libraries and what are they up to? You can find them on conference programs, industry publications and in your twitter feed. Follow them and you will hear about what they are doing, be able to network with them and be able to keep up with the innovations in our industry.
  5. Create Twitter Lists. Rather than read thousands of posts curate your content by creating twitter lists. This helps prioritise your time and helps you not fall down that twitter black hole.
  6. Retweet strategically. It is important that you spread quality content so that you are providing value for your followers. Twitter is not just about you! This also shows support for the original creator of the post. And guess what — your professional network just got stronger. Always acknowledge the original tweeter if you post from the link rather than just retweeting.
  7. Do not overshare. Twitter is a public platform. Remember anyone can see your tweets. Never post anything you will regret later.
  8. Be engaging. While I do advocate to not overshare Twitter is still a social platform so remember to be social. It is an informal platform, speak from the heart, make comments on tweets that speak to you, connect and ask questions of other librarians if they post something of interest. Do not hesitate to thank someone for sharing your content or who has commented on one of your posts.
The Incredibly True Adventures of a School Librarian

9. Share your achievements. Do not be shy. If you, your team, or your library has done something amazing then tell people. This is a great way to raise your professional profile without being pushy. And other librarians are really looking for ideas, what you have learned and connections.

10. Share your own content. If you blog about libraries or publish online, share the links to your articles, your LinkedIn posts or your website. Another great way to connect to more readers for your content and to provide value to your network.

11. Use hashtags in your tweets. Hashtags are clickable and searchable. You can also use hashtags to compile a curated list of content you may want to revisit. It is important to use hashtags carefully though. Keep them relevant and the demigods of twitter research say only use 3 hashtags per post. Christian Lauresen in his The Library blog has a great post on Library Hashtags that he does periodically update. He is a great library influencer to follow too.

12. Respond to comments. To see who is engaging with you, monitor notifications and mentions to see who has left a comment on your tweets. Now you know who needs an answer and you can also be generous and look to retweet or like the content they post. It can be difficult (or it is for me) to work out when the conversation ends but it is still important to converse. Yes, be social.

13. Focus on a specific suite of topics. Do not confuse potential followers by posting across too many subjects.

14. Use images in your tweets. Twitter research says tweets with images are more likely to be retweeted and boosts engagement. Adding an image is an easy way to grow your network. If you are really creative add a meme!

15. Have no hesitation. Block abusive accounts. This is social media and you are bound to meet some people with challenging views diametrically opposed to yours. While it is important to have a wide variety of posts from all walks of life, cultures and views this does not include abusive followers. Block their accounts and protect yourself from rude or inappropriate comments.