Citation for published article

Cotter, K., & Baron, S. (2018). Actively engaging with patrons on social media. In R. L. Sittler & T. J. Rogerson (Eds.), The Library Outreach Casebook (pp. 59-68). Available from

Document Type

Book Chapter


Gumberg Library


Using social media for outreach entails more than just creating engaging content— it also means actively engaging with patrons. In our experience, using social media well involves a heavy emphasis on two-way communication with patrons. We have built a social media presence that, above all, seeks to build relationships with our patrons. It provides a venue for building relationships with both those who already closely associate with the library and those who do not. Establishing and strengthening ties to the library makes patrons more likely to share their positive perceptions of us with friends, family, colleagues, and coworkers. Because word-ofmouth remains the most credible mode of advertising (Nielsen, 2015), social media has the potential to greatly enhance the image of the library. This chapter lays out the strategies we have found most successful in building relationships with patrons via social media and will help librarians take advantage of it as a tool for two-way interaction by providing best practices for engaging with patrons. Our strategies revolve around listening to and seeking opportunities to engage with patrons and assessing the appropriate mode of interaction.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.