When people hear the word “library” a few things typically come to mind; namely librarians and books. But a library is run by people working in many different roles. They’re all helping community members with much more than book recommendations. Our series Spend a Day with a Library Worker takes you inside the lives of our Library staff in different roles and follows them on a typical workday.
Most people would probably get reprimanded by their boss or called into HR if they spent all day posting Instagram Stories on their phone and scrolling through Twitter. But not when you’re a Social Media Specialist! The Library’s social media presence is managed by Austin Winters and his job involves a whole lot more than posting, sharing, liking, and scrolling.
“I start each day at the Library by responding to our customer’s questions, comments, and concerns on each of our social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter being the main ones,” said Austin. “Since starting as the Library’s Social Media Specialist in August, one of my initiatives is to give the Library a more accessible feel online. This begins with being responsive and transparent on social media, which includes even responding to things as small as a nice, 5-star Google Review of one of our Library Branches (Shoutout to the Anderson Branch for the most recent great review!).”
Once he wraps up responding to customers, he begins the search for relevant content to share on the various social media channels throughout the next few days. “I believe that it’s important to have our social media represent all people groups, just as the Library does each day in an actual, face-to-face manner,” said Austin. “This means that I am very conscious about the kinds of content I post and where some of it comes from.”
As the Social Media Specialist for not just the Downtown Main Library but all of the Library’s 41 locations, Austin is frequently running around gathering content from different sites and branch libraries. He often uses the Library’s online event calendar to decide what branch to visit to showcase a certain event or program.
During the afternoon, Austin shifts his focus to lengthier campaign concepts he has planned for the coming weeks. This can be anything from storyboarding a new Instagram Stories campaign to prepping for a Facebook Livestream.
“I love the amount of creativity I’m allowed to incorporate into the Library’s social media strategy,” said Austin. “Although I’ve only been working at the Library for a few months, I’ve still been able to work on some pretty exciting ideas early on. This includes establishing an IGTV channel for the Library, covering a Library fashion showcase, and this past Halloween, I ran around to different branch libraries and filmed the adventures of a plastic skeleton (we call him Skelly) using our Libraries and resources. Social media is a perfect place to try out different strategies, be creative, and stay fun, all of which are some of my keys to success.”
Working from the Downtown Main Library isn’t without its challenges. “It can be hard to make sure I’m doing enough to cover all of the awesome events at our 40 branch locations. That’s why I came up with a plan to visit at least two branches per month to gather content from them and create more tangible relationships with the employees. Our Library is active on so many social media channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and more) that it can be difficult to gather enough content for posting. This is why it’s so awesome to receive promo requests from Library employees—if any Branch Library employees are reading this, please send me content!"
At the end of the day, Austin’s primary goal for the Library’s social media is for it to become a representation of how much good our Library does in the community. “Before starting this job, I was completely unaware of how many incredible, life-giving services the Library offers to the community—most often for free,” said Austin. “I hope that our social media can become the go-to resource that facilitates all the people of Hamilton County to the ideal branch and ideal event, service, or product that they are seeking.”
You can follow the Library on Instagram, opens a new window, Twitter, opens a new window, Facebook, opens a new window, YouTube, opens a new window, Tumblr, opens a new window, Pinterest, opens a new window, and SoundCloud, opens a new window at @cincylibrary and LinkedIn, opens a new window at Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.