I started using Twitter for the Instructional Resource Center in November 2011, revisited the idea in early 2012, and again later that spring. It remained a bit of a struggle remembering to post relevant content. Last fall I started using IFTTT in conjunction with IRC's Twitter account to tweet blog posts and Pinterest updates to generate interest. The IRC Pinterest site continues to be a vital resource, hence my willingness to use it to appeal to Twitter users. My strategy has been marginally successful; the number of followers consistently hovers in the vicinity of 100, tweets are often re-tweeted on campus, and stat notifications emailed by Twitter to users show a slight increase in connections. Cognizant of the fact what's missing is the conversational flow of user interaction, and understanding it may never have that capability, it is time to revisit how to best utilize the tool for marketing the IRC. I am using the IRC Twitter account to feature available collections, highlight news and information about the library and IRC, and connect followers to other IRC social media resources. To some extent, it is working. Are my expectations too high?
Consider this tweet sent out from an ALA session earlier in the week.
Think of marketing as awareness building. You're not always going to see Direct ROI. #alaac14
— Andrea Snyder (@alsnyder02) June 30, 2014
I agree; much of what I do via Twitter for the IRC is 'awareness building.' I have built lists of authors and campus accounts, I follow (and am followed) by a number of campus twitter accounts, and use the library's digital sign to feature the IRC's most recent tweet. However social media, whether for building awareness or connecting with users, remains a full time job in and of itself; time management is key. It takes time to craft well written blog posts, time to curate interesting boards on Pinterest, and time to schedule tweets of interest to followers.
To some extent, I have 'automated' tweets connected to Pinterest and the IRC and library news blogs using IFTTT. Why haven't I been using TweetDeck? It is easy to point out the number of articles discussing its demise and the recent hacking incident. Still, after further review, the web version fits nicely with a project to highlight IRC collections posting #IRCshelfies via Twitter.
Collections were photographed, shelfies created with a simple online editor, and tweets scheduled in TweetDeck to post each Tuesday beginning July 1st and continuing throughout the fall 2014 term. I personalized the web layout to display scheduled tweets, the #IRCshelfie hash tag, the general IRC feed, and a list of campus twitter accounts for east of re-tweeting events. The option to schedule tweets with images appears to be a new functionality, making my TweetDeck procrastination a bit ... timely. I will follow up #IRCshelfie tweets with a board on Pinterest and publish a blog post introducing shelfie tweets scheduled for the first week of classes in August. As to return on this particular investment, I hope to see an increase in followers for the IRC twitter. But more importantly, I hope it plays a role in increased awareness and use of the IRC and its collections.