February 17, 2018

Hottest Social Media Trends

Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools available and it is vitial to stay current on trends. Just before Thanksgiving I attended a meeting of my local Social Media Club chapter for a presentation on this topic. Here’s what was covered.

1. QR Codes.

QR codes stand for Quick Response code; Wikipedia does a good job of explaining it in more detail. Basically it’s an image that appears unrecognizable, but once you take a picture of the image with your cell phone a message appears. It can be anything from your contact information to sales discounts. It’s being used in ads, print media, in store, direct mail, business cards and packaging. Toys R Us is using QR codes within its store and customers receive discounts by taking pictures of the various images.

 QR codes are being used a lot in Japan and are just starting to take hold in the U.S. While developing a QR code is a fun and unique thing to try, continue to examine your marketing strategy to determine if it meets your overall goals.

To create a QR code, you can use goo.gl which is Google’s short url. Here’s a blog post more about that.

2. Transparency and Culture Marketing

The basic idea is that your organization’s culture is your brand. They story was told of a  call center where the turnover rate was large. They developed several internal communications strategies to help build a better internal and external brand. They had an internal blog as well as a Facebook page. The purpose is to discuss internal promotions and communications, but customers can also find the information. By doing this, they are creating a transparent company both internally and externally. The ROI on this project is now that the turnover rate is only 6.5% compared to around 20% a few years ago.  The main difference between Web 1.0 and 2.0 is it now requires human interaction. It requires someone dedicated to Web 2.0 and social media for an organization. It’s no longer passive it’s truly interactive.

3. Socializing an Entire City

Creator of Cbusr Matt Martindale discussed his idea behind developing a social networking site geared towards a specific geographic region. He created Cbusr after moving to Columbus from New York City and found it difficult to meet new people. This tool is similar in some ways to Facebook and LinkedIn, but is geared towards networking and meeting people within your own city. As social networking brings us all closer, there is something to be said about being able to meet those you’re connecting with in person and focused locally.

This social networking site offers more real life interactions and Meetups.

4. Mobile Apps and Games

Any one who has a smart phone knows how much a must-have this is. Having just returned from a week in Italy, we used my Iphone apps for sight-seeing, to find restaurants, to identify historic sites, to check on the status of our flights and to keep up to date with friends via our Facebook app and the world with our New York Times and BBC News apps. I longed for my library to have an app so that I could reserve titles of books that I came across but didn’t want to buy. Oh, and don’t get me started on the Angry Birds game!

 5. Group Buying (Groupon)


Groupon is available in 85 cities and sends approx. 9.5 million emails a day with local deals. It is basically a coupon you have an option to buy. I’ve seen them for yoga classes at 50% off or restaurants and retailers.  In order for your deal to be selected by Groupon, enough people have to buy it/want it and reviews on Yelp, Urban Spoon and other sites need to rate the company product highly. I’m not exactly sure how libraries can benefit from this trend, but give me a chance to think about it and I’m sure something will come to me!



6. Social Search

We all enjoy seeing how many new people have “liked” us on Facebook and now it means something even more. The more likes you have the higher your organization appears on the Facebook search function. Here’s something else to try – go to Google and type in the name of your library.  On the left hand side you can click “latest”; this information is the latest that has been written or mentioned for your library I did this for Columbus Metropolitan Library, and here’s the link.

Why is this important?  Because there is often times content that was not created by you, which can impact what people see when they search for your library. Monitoring what is being said about your organization is key in being able to respond to questions or head off a possible social media crisis.

Each of these trends are already impacting how our customers want to interact with libraries. In order to stay relevant we need to embrace these ideas quickly.

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. Regarding a mobile app for your library (No. 7), there is one that will interface with many library automation systems called LibraryBooks. Here’s a link: http://www.librarybooksapp.com/

    It exists in an iPhone and a Mac OS X version. Don’t know if there are plans for Android, etc. versions.

  2. Alison Circle says:

    Thanks, Patrick. That’s a great suggestion.

  3. Lori Pulliam says:

    I think libraries could use the Groupon concept for optional programming and services. For example, if you wanted to bring in authors, but their fees were prohibitive, you could see how many of your patrons would commit to purchase tickets to the events before setting them up.