As I stated in a previous post, I used to work in the marketing department of my local library. A library connection I have posted this video on Facebook, and six months after seeing it, still makes me smile. This video has traveled from Washington to Ohio, and I’ve even shared it on my Twitter page, Facebook page, and visit this YouTube site anytime I need a laugh. This is a wonderful example of viral marketing. As of today, the video has over 700,000 hits.
Librarians are quite the marketers! During the summer of 2009, on my six month anniversary of working in the marketing department (and coincidentally the final day of my newly hired “probation”) I entered work to discover my co-workers in crisis mode. Our budget was under re-consideration by the state government and we were at risk of losing funding. What did this mean to a part-time employee who was there to gain experience, a little money and health insurance? My job was bound to be slashed, as well as our number of branches and allowance for book buying if this funding cut was approved.
Librarians and library patrons across the state joined together and created an icon to be proudly displayed as a Facebook profile photo.
We made handouts asking people to call their local representatives and inform them what a valuable resource the library is. We also asked those who cared enough to share information via their social networking sites to do so. Other libraries across the state did similar marketing.
The Ohio Library Council created a list of demonstrations and a place to visit to have your questions answered. The budget cuts still effected our library but were nowhere near the 50% we expected. I always felt like I had a small part in saving the budget, and even though the summer of 2009 was quite a stressful one, it will be one I’ll never forget because I helped promote a place I loved and helped save an industry I hold very dear to my heart.
Without viral marketing, we may have seen that 50% cut which would have closed multiple branches (instead of the one we lost), showed me my first major stint of unemployment and of course, stopped spreading the importance of early literacy to area children.
In fact, nearly two years after the budget crisis, the Facebook cause still has over 56,000 fans. That is a lot of people still believing in their public library system and hoping the budget can continue to stabilize.