Libraries Get Social at Social Media Summit

The Libraries’ first Social Media Summit was held on Tuesday, April 19. More than 20 of our colleagues gathered at Alexander Library or attended remotely for a day-long program focused on all things social media at the Libraries and beyond.

The morning began with a presentation by Karen Smith, assistant director of new and emerging media for Rutgers University. Smith discussed the key elements of building an effective social media strategy as well as the most popular social media platforms and their uses. She also shared best practices developed from the experience of managing the university’s primary social media accounts (RutgersU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat).

The emphasis for RutgersU social media is encouraging conversation — asking questions, posting interactive materials, highlighting student contributions (everyone likes their 15 minutes, and the RU Speaks campaign featured below is a good example of this). Some takeaways:

  • Rutgers invites a student to guest post on their Instagram each week – creates lots of student-friendly content and interest.
  • Tease out big news by asking “Guess who?” or “Guess what?” questions. We tried this for our Rutgers Day John Morton reveal and it generated a lot of chatter and feedback.
  • Run lots of contests for prizes like mugs (they will do person on the street — “show us your follow on any social media and you can win a prize”)
  • Try to create an accessible, authentic space by avoiding overly moderating contributions and academic language and jargon.

The afternoon was highlighted by a presentation from Aaron K. Ginoza, social media and community engagement coordinator for the University of Maryland Libraries (UMDLibraries on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat). Ginoza gave an overview of the evolving social media landscape at the University of Maryland, provided case studies of UMD Libraries’ most successful social media campaigns, and offered his own set of best practices for generating online engagement.


During Exam Wars, UMD Libraries hosted yoga classes.

Some of the social media campaigns UMD has run in recent months are

  • Parody music videos
  • Light painting (great for nighttime study breaks!)
  • Exam Wars campaign (utilizing Star Wars visuals for reading time promotions and stressbuster activities)
  • Throwback recess (complete with potato sack and three-legged races)
  • Zombie, Pokemon, and Game of Thrones-inspired scavenger hunts to encourage exploration of the libraries
  • An extensive campaign for Alice in Wonderland exhibit.

The program was wrapped up by Jessica Pellien, director of communications, who discussed a proposal for a Social Media Taskforce that was recently reviewed and approved by Cabinet. The Taskforce members will be selected with input from the Libraries’ Cabinet and will hopefully begin work over the summer.

Jessica Pellien

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