Kitchener Public Library: Community Conversations

ameule    December 6, 2018

Among the first free tax-supported public libraries in Canada, the Kitchener Public Library (KPL) opened in 1884. Its vision is To inspire and enrich for life. In 2017, they rolled out a new strategic plan which will focus on four goals :

  • Work Together
  • Ignite Community Conversations
  • Foster Belonging
  • Bold Leadership

I met with Charlotte Prong, Social Media Editor of KPL a few weeks ago to talk about their use of social media. As an organization without a traditional sales model, their use of social media is used primarily for brand awareness. The community needs to know that the library goes beyond books; it’s a place where people connect with each other and to the resources they need.

As with many organizations, they began their social media profile with a Facebook page. Launched in 2010, it is a source of coming events and workshops, updates on library offerings, as well as fun library facts (book lists, contests, etc.). With constant changes to the algorithm, Prong has noticed a dip in engagement on Facebook. She has started doing some ad buys (primarily for programs that require registration numbers) to keep engagement to the pre-2018 levels.

Keeping an eye on metrics daily, Prong found diminishing returns the more frequently she posted on Facebook. She now tries to stick to one post per day. The demographic of her Facebook followers is 60-65% women, with an age range of 35-60. Nearing 5000 page likes, the rate of growth on the page is much smaller compared to KPL’s other platforms, but Facebook provides the greatest reach per post.

Facebook doesn’t have immediacy like Twitter and Instagram do. Take their recent Choir! Choir! Choir! event for example. The video they posted a week after the event has been their most popular post this year.

On Twitter, however, you must be live and in the moment. KPL’s Twitter account has the most engagement with its (almost 11,000) followers. This is Prong’s forte and it’s evident. You can show your brand’s sense of humour on Twitter. She has friendly banter, talking with customers directly. Often the tweets that go over well are the most surprising, like the ‘Hump Day’ tweet:

In March 2017, KPL launched its Instagram account for brand awareness to reach a new audience: young millenials, teens, and young adults. For the most part, their posts do not have a tangible return on investment, says Prong, but they do add value to the brand. Being active on social media reminds people that the library is there, and that other people are using the library. That being said, in 2017 they had a 20% increase in library card registrations.

In December this year, the three-member Marketing and Communications department will be auditing its content and strategies, and hope to take a more structured approach, with the goal of having more content provided by staff members outside the department. Their social media strategy is evolving and will continue to have a direct relationship with the four goals.

Lessons for Others

With 61% of Canadians engaging on social media, there is no doubt that all brands should have a social media presence, regardless of if it has products to sell. It’s important to know the social media vision for the organization, and build your content to align with that vision. Kitchener Public Library recognizes that to be effective in their social media goals, they must publish the content most suited to the audience of the respective platform.

Organization: Kitchener Public Library
Industry: Information Sciences
Name of Organization Contact: Charlotte Prong, Social Media Editor

Authored by: Amber M

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


References

Beckman, M.,, & Dahms, M.,, & Bruce, L., Libraries (2015). In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved Dec 4, 2018 from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/libraries

Canadian Internet Registration Authority (2018) Canada’s Internet Factbook 2018 Canada’s source for current internet data. Retrieved Dec 4, 2018 from https://cira.ca/factbook/canada%E2%80%99s-internet-factbook-2018#section-3

Carr, P. (2018). Whole Enterprise Week 9 Course Content Material. Retrieved December 3, 2018 from https://learn.uwaterloo.ca/content/enforced/395788-CE-SMBP100_001_cel_1189T1191/lecture-content/weeks/week9/week9.html?ou=395788

CBC News (2017) Library card registration up 20 per cent at Kitchener Public Library Retrieved Dev 4, 2018 from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/kitchener-public-library-card-registration-increase-1.4426357

Kitchener Public Library, Retrieved December 2 from https://www.kpl.org/

Kitts, Daniel (2015) How Ontario’s public libraries fight the digital divide. Retrieved December 4, 2018 from https://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/how-ontarios-public-libraries-fight-the-digital-divide

Prong, Charlotte (2018) KPL Social Media Editor, personal interview

Sharkey, Jackie (2015) Wi-Fi hotspot loans from Kitchener, Ont. library a Canadian first. Retrieved December 4, 2018 from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/kitchener-waterloo/kitchener-library-lends-portable-wifi-1.3258791

Thompson, Catherine (2017) New Kitchener Public Library plan focuses on tech, access and connections. Retrieved December 4, 2018 from https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7085646-new-kitchener-public-library-plan-focuses-on-tech-access-and-connections/

Vidler, Tony (2017) Tailoring: Making Your Content Fit Your Audience’ Desires. Retrieved December 5 from  https://tonyvidler.com/tailoring-making-content-fit-audience/

Vranicar, David (2018) Facebook Algorithm Changes: What Marketers Need to Know. Retrieved December 5 from https://www.oberlo.ca/blog/facebook-algorithm-change

Ward, Susan (2018) How and Why Your Small Business Should Use Twitter. Retrieved December 5 from https://www.thebalancesmb.com/top-reasons-why-your-small-business-should-use-twitter-2948523

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