Social Media Optimization: Principles for Building and Engaging Community

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Library Technology Reports, November/December 2016 (52:8)

What is social media optimization (SMO)? It’s a programmatic strategy for building and engaging community through social networks, and in this issue of Library Technology Reports, you'll receive practical guidelines for implementing this flexible and comprehensive community-building model. Authors Doralyn Rossmann and Scott W. H. Young structure this report around five interrelated objectives: create shareable content, make sharing easy, reward engagement, proactively share, and measure use and encourage reuse. Ideal for both libraries who are just starting to implement a social media strategy and those looking to enhance current efforts, this guide will help you employ SMO principles to create a self-sustaining online community of engaged users who regularly use the library and its spaces, services, and collections. Rossmann and Young provide

  • an effective social media guide that you can adapt for your institution;
  • advice for implementing SMO to connect users with relevant content and build sustainable relationships;
  • practical guidelines for creating shareable content that relates to your users along with concrete examples of social media posts;
  • instructions for adding social share buttons and implementing social media cards to your websites to enhance content sharing;
  • strategies for raising awareness of your library’s resources and services; and
  • an overview of quantitative and qualitative approaches for measuring and evaluating the success of social network activity.

Doralyn Rossmann

Doralyn Rossmann is Head of Collection Development and Associate Professor at Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman, Montana, USA. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and English and an MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration from MSU. She and her report coauthor Scott W. H. Young have published several articles and given numerous conference and webinar presentations about social media, including community building, Facebook ads, social media optimization, and social media ethics. Recently, she has been tapped to lead Montana State’s new Data Infrastructure and Scholarly Communication initiative. Rossman’s homepage is

Scott W. H. Young

Scott W. H. Young is an Assistant Professor and Digital Initiatives Librarian at Montana State University, where he specializes in user experience research, web development, and social media community building.

Library Technology Reports

Published by ALA TechSource, Library Technology Reports helps librarians make informed decisions about technology products and projects. Library Technology Reports publishes eight issues annually and provides thorough overviews of current technology. Reports are authored by experts in the field and may address the application of technology to library services, offer evaluative descriptions of specific products or product classes, or cover emerging technology. Find out more information on this publication and how you can subscribe here.