case studies, engagement, Facebook

The Intersection of You and Them is Value

7 Comments 10 December 2012

My colleague Kristy Graves, who happens to live in Seattle, tipped me off to the Seattle Public Library’s Facebook presence. When I first glanced at the page, I thought “genius!” What the Seattle Public Library is doing with its Facebook Page is straightforward: merging its interests (encouraging the public to read and love books) with the interests of its Facebook fans (what books should they read), to produce real engagement. The result has been incredible on-page engagement, deeper fan loyalty, and likely higher post reach.

Their core engagement strategy packs a ton of value for fans. They very proactively present themselves as a forum for librarian book recommendations, and encourage questions from Facebook fans. An important ingredient for Facebook success here is the human factor: they provide each recommendation in a real and human way.

One of the problems with a Facebook fan page is that it’s hard to connect with fans personally when you are…a logo. The Seattle Public Library has transcended this problem by offering individualized, customized book suggestions, prompted by Facebook fan queries. Honestly, it’s brilliant. And just as importantly, why isn’t every organization trying some version of this?

On November 14, the Seattle Public Library held a three-hour “Librarian Happy Hour.”

At the start of the holiday shopping season, the Seattle Public Library was ready to offer suggestions. This is the Facebook post that first intrigued and inflamed my passion for this library on Facebook, posted December 6, 2012.

So what is the intersection of “you” and “them?”  It’s meaning. It’s relationship-building material. It’s the beginning of engagement. It’s why they clicked “Like” in the first place.



Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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