CIL2017 – Finding Your Social Media Voice

This topic was given by the following four people, who did a great job talking about how they developed social media at their different locations.

  • Meghan Kowalski, Mullen Library
  • Kirsten Mentzer, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Alexandra Radocchia Zealand, Arlington Public Library
  • Lennea R. Bower, Montgomery County Public Libraries

This was not a talk about what is social media, or how to use it.  But more about finding a consistent voice for your social media platforms.  They started talking about what to do when you take over the social media account, or do you end up creating a new one?  When you are taking over an old account, look at where you are at now and where you want to go.  If it does not work with your new social media plan, consider creating a new account.

One of the things they talked about was that your social media presence and platform have a voice., not just to post facts.  They talked about how in writing a persona or tone develops after a while, and that users can tell when someone else posts.  It is important to have a standard voice when working with multiple contributors.  One thing that Alex did was find others at the branches that were tweeting professionally, and set them up with professional library accounts that she could then re-tweet.  Also, having posts pre-written that are ready for someone else to post if you are away is another way to keep a consistent voice.

They also talked about how the posts and the voice of the posts will differ across different platforms.  The three platforms they focused on were Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  When posting on Twitter you want to keep the text shorter due to the text limit, and use links for more information.  For Instagram links are the problem, so in the description of the picture you want to provide more text and information.  With Facebook however, you don’t have the text limit and you can insert links.  So a combination of the two previous methods works.  Below is a picture from their presentation showing how the posts looks different on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Managing multiple platforms can be a lot of work, and there are tools out there like Hootsuite, or setting up automatic cross platform posting.  The problem with this is a lot of the time they truncate your text with links, which can make you look lazy and your followers will notice.  An example of this is if you have Facebook posts automatically being sent to Twitter, the post will get truncated with a Facebook link, and any images will not be posted.  As we live in a visual society, this means that as users scroll through Twitter, they will most likely fly right by your post.

Another good point that they made is when you post for your library or institution, make sure you are using your professional voice and not your personal voice.  This may mean even if you feel passionately about something, it might be best not to post it on your professional feed and keep it to your personal feed.  Also if you do follow staff on their personal accounts, make sure to get their permission if you re-post something on your professional feed.  As this could allow trolls to follow them back to get personal information from their feeds.  Setting up other professional accounts for these staff to use is a good way to handle this.

This was a great presentation and gave me a lot of good ideas for how to use this for both my organization as well as our member libraries.  A copy of this presentation can be found at the following URL,