Making the public aware of all that your library has to offer isn’t easy.
In my own experience, I’m only now discovering things like Fountaindale Public Library’s Studio 300. If I had had access to something like that at my library as a kid, I would have been there every day using the green screens, camera equipment, editing computers, etc.
Of course, the people who regularly visit your library clearly value it, but what about everyone else? Does the general public really know all there is to know about your library? How can you reach them? And how can you reach them when you have a limited budget, limited staff, and many, many different areas of focus?
In the words of one of the greatest business minds of today, Gary Vaynerchuk, “Everybody is in the media business”—and that includes libraries. You don’t necessarily have the money to simply advertise your way to awareness, and maybe there isn’t enough time to test out all of the different social media sites out there.
Luckily, there’s another group of people which shares your pain—small business owners (especially the Internet-based ones)—and you can learn a lot from them.
Consider this: The small business owners of 2014 wake up to certain realities every day.
– They are trying to build a successful personal brand from nothing and with no staff.
– They may have to code their own websites.
– They might devote time to their side businesses only after their regular 9-to-5 jobs.
– They have no money to invest in advertising.
– There is never enough time to get everything done.
– They also have to manage their family/personal lives at the same time.
And the list goes on.
However, there is one advantage that small business owners have that libraries don’t have: the ability to pivot, very quickly. For instance, if the next version of Facebook comes out tomorrow, a small business owner could create an account and start using it in the same day. They don’t have any red tape, and they also have nothing to lose. As a result, they’ve tried nearly everything.
Interestingly, some of the most successful, small business owners have built massively loyal followings, despite all of their daily realities and limitations. Below are some awesome resources that you can dig into and apply to your own brand-building efforts. We’ll start with one of the top-rated podcasts for business.
Podcast: SPI (Smart Passive Income) & AskPat
Despite the sketchy-sounding name, SPI is one of the most informative resources for small business owners because the owner, Pat Flynn, is known for his complete transparency. His tagline is ‘Let’s see what works,’ because he’s willing to try different things with his site, test them out on his audience, and then write up really detailed reports on what worked and what didn’t.
His podcast is consistently at the top of the charts on iTunes for good reason. He interviews small business owners and gets them to be as transparent as he is. One of my favorite episodes features a librarian and gym teacher couple who now make five figures per month, based on the huge audience they built from nothing. This is gold to budding business owners, because they get to look behind the curtain of really successful businesses.
Most of the businesses profiled in the podcast started from nothing. They didn’t have money to advertise. They didn’t start with a team of people. They had to laser focus on the things that get the biggest return—much like a library does.
They reveal how they went from having virtually no audience to having broad awareness of their brand. There’s a common thread between all of these successful businesses, but the journey to becoming popular is always different, so the show has a nice variety, when it comes to strategy.
SPI 122 : From Teachers to Totally Rocking it Online – Shane and Jocelyn Sams Share their Success Story
Some of the most popular and relatable episodes of the SPI podcast involve success stories from those who have built a business outside of the Internet marketing, online business, and blogging niches.
How Would You Start From Scratch?
Pat Flynn notes, “One of the most common questions I get is what would I do if I had to start again from scratch. This one takes that even further and asks what would my first 90 days look like. One of my favorite questions of all time.”
Social Media Strategies & Automation Tools with Laura Roeder
Flynn says, “I’m excited to chat all things social media in this episode with Laura Roeder, founder of Edgar—a tool I’ve been using successfully over the past few months to automate and schedule my messages. Here’s what to do—and what not to do—on social media.”
Book/Training: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
If you’re going to read a book on social media, this is the one you need to read. The author is the loud and foul-mouthed (You’ve been warned!) Gary Vaynerchuk and it’s great.
Vaynerchuk rose to fame by making his dad’s corner liquor store a world-wide brand. He created a YouTube channel and reviewed wines in a very unconventional way, in order to make wine seem a bit less pretentious and, in the process, more accessible to the masses.
If you’re interested, he reviews which wines pair with cereal in this episode. (Remember, I said ‘foul-mouthed!’)
His show became incredibly popular, largely because of his social media presence. Eventually, he was asked about social media so much that he started his own firm not too long ago. To no one’s surprise it’s a huge success.
He’s written a couple books that spawned hundreds of self-made entrepreneurs over the past few years. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is the blueprint on how to “win” on all of the important social media platforms right now.
The book illustrates good social media practices versus bad ones with examples from big businesses. (The one that comes to mind for me is from the makers of KitKat. They messed up an otherwise perfect social media post during the Super Bowl a few years ago.)
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is literally a play-by-play on how to do things right on social media. It isn’t easy to get social media right, but, if you read this book, you’ll at least be headed in the right direction.
Video Marketing: Wistia
If you’re getting into video marketing, this should be one of your top resources. Wistia is a video hosting platform built for small businesses. The analytics are top-notch, the platform is very flexible, and their constant updates prove that they listen to their customers.
Now their product is great, but their learning center is what you need to pay attention to.
They create these really helpful and fun videos that show you how to make your videos better. Like I said they target small businesses, so, if you only have a cell phone, they’ve got you covered with this tutorial. And, if you only have a Web cam, they have you covered with this one.
There is, essentially, no reason to let your tools limit your ability to have top-notch video. (We use their scripting video and template all the time with our videos, and it has helped improve the quality quite a bit.)
Have any go-to resources you use to guide your social media efforts? Please share them in the comments below!