Enhancing an Academic Library's Social Media Presence Using Peer-to-Peer Marketing: The Benefits of Student Content Creators

Enhancing an Academic Library's Social Media Presence Using Peer-to-Peer Marketing: The Benefits of Student Content Creators

Laurel D. Eby (San José State University, USA) and Elisabeth A. Thomas (Monterey Peninsula College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8097-3.ch009
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The San José State University Library first became involved in social media in 2011 with the formation of a social media team. The team quickly realized that maintaining an academic library's social media presence—creating original content, monitoring posts and feeds, and maximizing exposure to the library's target audience—can take a sizeable chunk of time. Additionally, it is important to understand student preferences regarding the kind of content they are interested in seeing from their university library on social media so that the time spent creating content has not been wasted. This chapter will discuss how the social media team dealt with these questions and others, such as how to adapt to the regularly changing world of social media and how to reap the benefits of hiring student assistants to help create an engaging, relevant social media presence.
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Organization Background

San José State University (SJSU) is the oldest campus in the California State University system and the first public university on the West Coast (San José State University [SJSU], 2016). The mission of the university is to “transmit knowledge to its students” and “to expand the base of knowledge through research and scholarship” (SJSU, 2018a, para. 2). The San José State University Library serves a broad community with varying interests and needs. There is a diverse student body of over 32,000; the top undergraduate majors are design studies, psychology and kinesiology, and the top graduate majors are software and electrical engineering and library and information science (SJSU Institutional Effectiveness & Analytics, 2017b). The university employs over 2,100 faculty members, including professors, lecturers and librarians (SJSU Institutional Effectiveness & Analytics, 2017a). In addition to hiring faculty and staff, the university has a long-standing tradition of employing students, both to benefit students’ career and academic goals and to help support the work needed for the campus to function (SJSU, 2018b, p. 4).

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library

Located at the northwest corner of the campus in the center of downtown San José, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library (King Library) houses both the SJSU Library and the main branch of the San José Public Library. As a joint academic and public library, it serves both the university and the City of San José communities. The services and resources provided by the SJSU Library include library instruction, one-on-one research consultations, technology lending, software training, 3D printing, digital archives, an institutional repository, and much more. Over the years, a great deal of attention has been given to providing student services but not as much to marketing those services. Finding the best solutions for marketing the library’s services to the entire student population has been an ongoing challenge.

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