ALA sessions – TikTok & Libraries: A Powerful Partnership

One of the Digital Experience sessions I joined this year at the 2022 ALA Conference pertained to how social media can benefit both libraries and communities. The speaker recommended utilizing these tools correctly from the beginning to cultivate a sizeable following on social media platforms.

Using message boards, reels, and message boards on Instagram, ticktock, and Facebook is an effective way to reach the younger and more tech involved groups of people. Bulk creating content at the beginning of the week, set it aside, then upload it daily to keep attention coming. It’s important to post something relevant and engaging daily, otherwise they will lose interest and find your page boring.

Makerspaces can be great for getting people involved and can lead to fundraising. They raise awareness quickly of a need, and can easily lead to fundraising without having to host a special event.

Unless you’re running a book group, don’t limit yourself to posting only about books. Your page needs to be enjoyable, informative to a degree, but fun and easy to engage with. Posting fluff with bits of solid information peppered in is great for keeping it light and easy-going.

For TikTok you need a video-creating device, and enthusiasm. The TikTok platform is designed to push well-made videos forward, so the better video you make, the more impact you’ll have. A microphone is important, as are captions, so those in the deaf community can also view your videos. Consistent and pleasant background that people will recognize as being part of your video.

Get involved in the current trends while they’re trending. Not afterwards. Once a trend is done, it’s over and people have moved on to the next trend. Getting up to date on content and trends will take up some time, so make sure it’s already part of your schedule so you’re keeping up.

When you post anything online, someone is likely to disagree or dislike it. They will probably reach out and inform you of their opinion as well. When this happens, and it will, it’s best to respond democratically. Prepare yourself for criticism, because social media comes hand in hand with it.

The possibilities are fairly endless by using TikTok and other social media platforms to reach the masses. The presenter also recommended vocally telling patrons to follow and like their pages online. Many people don’t think of libraries as having social media accounts, so it helps to tell them directly.

By Gretchen Hendrick Gardella, MLIS

Gretchen Hendrick Gardella is a Librarian with administrative, research, and vast technical skills. Ms. Gardella brings over 16 years of experience working in academic and public libraries to the discussion.