I attended the 2nd DBS library annual seminar on Friday, 12 June 2015. There were lots of interesting speakers, but I’d just like to give a flavour of the keynote, given by Andy Priestner from Cambridge University – Broken library communications and how to fix it. As some of you will know, I have an interest in library value measurement, but also how we communicate this value.
As Andy says, we now have more opportunities to communicate with users. Go where our users are – where they are happy to be. Present on all channels – tweet, SlideShare, Pinterest etc., as different platforms reach different audiences, and it shows our expertise and relevance.
Communication style must be tailored to each platform, for example:
• Twitter – short, attention grabbing and conversational (A call to action can be as simple as asking readers to retweet)
• Facebook – offers more space – can be visual
• Blog – may be more discursive
• Email – use sparingly, one message with a maximum of 3-4 lines
All of these need engaging content, written in language suitable for your various audiences. Don’t overwhelm people by telling them everything – be concise. Attach eye-catching images where possible, as we process images much quicker than text. The internet culture tends to be more relaxed, so where you can and where it’s appropriate, use humour.
Be careful not to focus solely on detail of a product or service. The key message should be on the benefits that those who use it will achieve.
One thing we can all do is consider your communication strategy. If you work in a team you will need to include everyone in it’s development and implementation. Get everyone’s opinion and agreement on the types of messages you want to deliver.
I agree with Andy that many others don’t understand our value and the complexity of what we do. We need to keep pushing the message about our value.