Facebook Fans are real fans

We have had quite a bit of success with Our Library Facebook Page both in terms of number of Fans and amount of interaction.

Despite the promises of Web 2.0, it turns out that few people actually comment on Library blogs, and my sense is that most Library Facebook pages get very little interaction. So I have been pleasantly surprised that our Facebook page has been attracting a fair amount of interaction lately, and I have some thoughts on what is working.

Some numbers:

  1. This past week (September 18-September 24; which is 1st week of school here), we have had 35 Interactions (27 Likes, 9 Comments, & 2 Wall Posts).
  2. Our Post Quality for this past week was 3.8. Post Quality “is determined by the percentage of your fans that engage when you post content to your Page.”
  3. We are averaging about 3.5 interactions per post for the past week, and close to 2 interactions per post for the past month.

Some observations and lessons learned:

  1. Facebook Fans are real fans. The Fans of our page are truly fans of our library, and fans of libaries and books in general. Some of the most popular posts and status updates are positive quotes from patrons or general posts about how great libraries/librarians are or about the value of books and reading. One way I find positive (and sometimes negative) quotes about our library is through Twitter searches for “Stanford Library” or “Green Library”.
  2. Timing matters. Even the most clever of posts will get little interaction from the kids if it is posted early in the morning. By the time students roll out of bed and check Facebook, your post has been pushed off the first page of their newsfeed by updates from their 300 other Friends and Pages. Edited to add: Maybe this one should be “Patience matters”, since that status is now getting some traction, many hours after it was posted.
  3. Demography matters. Posts about college students and their childhood icons will attract attention from the students. Posts about the death of a 94 year old music legend will appeal to the older fans.
  4. You can use your Facebook page to ask for feedback … and you might even get some. If you use Facebook to advertise new services, you can get immediate feedback.

Before anyone asks it, I’ll go ahead and answer the “So what?” question. I am not suggesting that the number of Fan interactions on Facebook is, on its own, any kind of measure of a library’s worth or success. I do think Facebook interactions can be one source of feedback from our patrons. I also think that when Fans “like” something on Facebook, they are often saying “thanks for sharing, that was interesting” or “I like this thing the library is doing, or this news about the library”. Facebook interaction is one way of knowing when we are providing services and information that our patrons like.

I also already answered the “Aren’t you worried about negative and/or inappropriate comments on your Facebook page?” in Fear of Flaming.

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