Subject Librarian

Promoting your library on Facebook and Instagram

instagram polaroid.

Shake it like a Polaroid picture…or something. Image by Martin Martinsson on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For a long time I’ve not really talked about Facebook Pages when I’ve been speaking at events and things about using social media effectively. Ever since the introduction of the paid model to reach more of the people who like your page, I’ve kinda considered it not to be worthy of the time and effort for people who work in fields where there is no budget for this sort of thing. But my thinking on this has definitely changed in recent months, partly thanks to increasing use of Instagram.

We’ve been using Instagram here for a while now and have increasingly seen the benefits of doing so. So much so that I recently mandated with our social media group that, as much as possible, all images should go through our Instagram account. To the extent that when we have promotional materials put together we request square images that we can use on the platform (I know they’ve changed it now to make it so that full sized images can be shared, but sometimes the square image works better on mobile etc – in my view anyway!).

One of the problems we’ve had, however, is linking the Instagram account to the Facebook Page without using a personal account of one of the FB Page’s admins as the conduit. One of the problems with that, originally, was there seemed to be some leakage into the individual’s personal Facebook and, if they had a personal Instagram account, it was difficult to manage the two as there was no multi-account support. In terms of the latter we solved that by creating a Facebook account for my role as subject librarian, then made it an admin of the Page, then linked the Instagram account to the Facebook Page so we could post to Instagram and share to the page. This was then massively helped by Instagram introducing multi-account management…no more logging in and logging out every time we wanted to post a photo!

The benefit has been obvious. It’s been very clear that photo posts on Facebook drive views far better than any other type of post. We very often see viewing figures in the hundreds for a photo, whereas a text based post would be lucky to get near to double figures (we have around 1,150 fans of our page). Every single one of our most engaged posts are photo based (the highest reaching over 1,600) – the top 27 posts all reaching over 200 people. This works regardless of whether the photo is posted via Instagram or not, but the advantage of Instagram is clearly that we can post in multiple places in one hit.

Facebook Page

But it doesn’t always quite seem to work. For example, I experimented recently with posting an update to the Facebook Page with multiple images rather than one. The result? Hardly any reach at all. So I re-did the post on Instagram using Layout to put multiple images on one frame, and tried again. Instead of 5 views, it has received over 130 views. It was interesting to note that multiple images didn’t really work, but single images did.

Since using Instagram more in conjunction with Facebook we’ve definitely noticed a difference. We are trying to ensure wherever possible that whenever we post to Facebook we use an image and, where it is appropriate, doing so via Instagram. We’ve also tried to take note of what hashtags students use on Instagram to post their photos related to the university, again to drive up views. And, again, we’ve mandated that images should be posted with these hashtags wherever possible (we don’t normally post more than one image a day so there’s no danger of overwhelming students).

Of course a lot of people have been using Instagram for a while now, it’s nothing new. But the problem has previously been managing multiple Instagram accounts and connecting the account to a Facebook Page without compromising someone’s personal account. With those two hurdles removed, it’s clear that posting via Instagram can have big benefits, not only for your Instagram account, but on Facebook too.

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