Good Twitter practice for libraries 13

I got these two direct messages via Twitter recently from two libraries who were acknowledging that I started following them.  They followed me back and then sent these messages.

To me, these simple DM’s really warmed my heart and reinforced the idea that customer service is one of the most important things that we can focus on in libraries today.  It also acts as a great way to open up the conversation with our patrons.

This is something I highly recommend that libraries practice when using Twitter.  It really can make our patrons feel welcome.

-Post by Justin Hoenke,Tame the Web Contributor

13 thoughts on “Good Twitter practice for libraries

  • joe grobelny

    i always refrain from using the term “customer service,” it makes us sound like the returns area at target…isn’t this actually an example of marketing, not customer service?

  • Patrick Sweeney

    I don’t know. I like it when a person does that, but not really an org sending a form letter. It feels fake and forced and unauthentic. If they’re going to reply as an org they should do it openly and say something about something that was recently posted by the person they are following. Take an interest in their follower’s lives and maybe share something. That personal thing is what social media is about. For example:

    -Hi @mstephens7 What are you going to talk about to the faculty at Dominican Univ California?

  • Jennie

    I disagree. As a long time Twitter user, I object to automatic DMs when I follow accounts (both personal and corporate), and almost always unfollow the account afterwards. I would never set this up for our library account. I think Patrick’s idea of making public, personal replies is an intriguing one, and one I would be willing to consider experimenting with.

  • Chris

    Agree with Jennie and disagree with Justin. Anyone who’s been on Twitter long enough comes to dread the automated “thanks for following” DM.

  • Anonymous

    I liked this idea – didn’t strike me that it was automated. It’s an invitation to not just follow, but participate!

  • Jennie

    A follow up: I just received one of these automatic via our library’s account, and I thought it would have been interesting, if it wasn’t a DM! It said “Thanks for following our Twitter page. We appreciate your support! What is your favorite thing about XXX?” (XXXing out the topic because I don’t want to out the account). Asking the question is great, but having this type discussion privately doesn’t accomplish much. However, publicly asking this question could spark a good ongoing discussion.

  • Meg Knodl

    Hmmm… in my local (Minneapolis/St. Paul) interactive marketing circles, this is a don’t. Twitter has a strong preference for original messaging- my library gets flack for connecting/reusing facebook messaging to twitter from time to time. As a personal user, I am not a fan of auto replies on twitter, they feel spammy to me. Worse however is being acknowledged publicly for following someone. At the library, we do follow back. It allows others to direct message us with reference inquiries.

  • Susannah

    I agree with the majority of commenters-this DM appears to be an auto reply that I don’t think works well for a library. If the library gets so many new followers that it is overwhelmed, then no response would be better than this. My library gets only one or two followers at a time so a personal DM to new followers is not hard to do.

  • Justin Hoenke

    I like all this conversation a lot. Thanks for participating. I do agree that personalized messages are probably much better at beginning conversation, but at the same time, it’s hard to always get back to patrons one on one…especially if social media is only part of ones job. I’m just really happy that someone takes the time even to send out a generic message. Some kind of message is better than none at all!

  • JanieH

    Our library twitter account is currently staffed by a few people, but I am the one who does the maintenance and the majority of the tweeting. We experimented in the early days of our twitter account with an autoreply for following, but got some negative feedback and after consulting with a few local SoMe types decided to discontinue.

    Our twitter voice is very casual and conversational. I know the person who is behind a lot of the local twitter accounts and many of them recognize that most of the time it is me sending the tweets. I try to actively engage in conversation on twitter and check several times a day for any mentions so that few (if any) tweets go unanswered.

    It is interesting to see the differing viewpoints on the autoreply.

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