Branch and Vine: New tools for cultivating your library’s story


We’re all familiar with names like Facebook and Twitter in varying degrees, and I’ve talked about the importance of self-promotion before. These were among the first tools to see popularity and widespread use. However, they’re far from the last, and I’d like to talk a bit about some others that are building momentum, both in the business world as well as ours.

First, let’s look at Vine, an extremely new addition to the social media world, but already with millions of users. It’s the audiovisual analog to Twitter (and is in fact owned by Twitter), and instead of 140 typed characters, the limit is six seconds of video. What could you possibly do with six seconds of video? Glad you asked! Most cellphones and smart devices can take at least ten seconds of video, which is more than enough for this service, and the short time-limit encourages the creativity to say more with less. A little clever advertising with video can go a long way to promote your services and events, or just convey a humorous or interesting message ( does this very well. No direct link because of its occasional NSFW-ness).

Next, Branch. This form of social media revolves around the idea of conversation, to solicit feedback, answer a question or simply talk about some topic of common interest. For example, Justin Hoenke (formerly of Portland Public Library, now at the Chattanooga Public Library) hosts a collection of Branches pertinent to libraries. Branch encourages an ongoing discussion to which anyone may contribute. Companies like Hyatt are asking how to improve their own services, while others such as Frontline are using Branch to discuss politics. Still others are creating campfire-like discussions, not seeking anything more than to build community.

Finally, in addition to the first two, let’s talk a bit about Storify. Storify centralizes social media (such as video, articles, tweets and so on) for consumption. Rather than needing to point your library’s followers to several resources, Storify aggregates them to create a single page. For example, the blog Musings About Librarianship reveals several successful implementations. The Library Marketing Toolkit blog likewise offers other ideas for libraries using Storify for self-marketing.

What sorts of ideas spring to your mind about how you could use these resources to promote your library’s awesomeness?

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