Friday, November 16, 2007

OCLC Webinar on Promoting VR Services

The event took place yesterday (11/15/07). I saw this along with our Business Librarian, who scheduled it at his workstation. They had two speakers.

First speaker: Ms. Beth Cackowski, of New Jersey's This is New Jersey's statewide collaborative 24/7 virtual reference service. It uses QuestionPoint as its platform, and it handles about 4,500 questions a month.

  • They used some of the usual promotions: bookmarks, posters, stickers.
  • They ran an ad in campus newspapers.
  • They placed their bookmarks in bookstores.
  • The highlight of this presentation was their MTV ad. The ad is now featured on the service's website as well as other state sites and public access channels.
    • The commercial used images about patrons and targeted teens.
    • They meet with their local cable provider. With their help, they determined a coverage area, dates for the campaign, and audience. The airing of the ad cost $4800.
    • They also hired a video producer to make the 30-second spot. This cost $2200.
    • The ad first aired during the MTV Video Music Awards. It aired twice during the broadcast, including a spot right before Britney Spears (i.e. a coveted spot for ads), in the New Jersey market.
    • They found usage go up 50% the night of the broadcast; over the following month, usage was up 20%.
    • For this type of campaign, cost depends on the market, channel(s), day and time, etc. After the VMA's, they did a 9 week run on various MTV shows.
  • The ad is also on their MySpace, which was launched last spring.
  • They did a movie theater campaign.
    • This cost them $10 a week per screen; they got the deal on a nonprofit rate, which for them for those theaters was a great deal. You need to inquire with your local theaters to do this.
  • Any web advertising, such as on local library sites, was pretty much free.
  • The idea was to target school students, since they make up about half of their users.
  • They used to create polls to measure effectiveness of the service.
  • Overall, when advertising, consider your goals, target audience, and budget.

Second speaker: Ms. Diana Sachs Silveira, of Florida's AskALibrarian. This state service does both e-mail and chat reference. They work with 97 libraries in Florida. Last year, they got 43,844 questions. They use Docutek's platform.

  • They also did the traditional marketing: posters, bookmarks, etc.
  • They did a back-to-school campaign.
  • They did ads in 17 community college and university newspapers. Duration and size of the ads varied in each case.
  • Their highlight is a YouTube contest for their next AskALibrarian commercial. It is for students in grades 9-12, and the public picks the winner. Prizes include: a digital video camera (1), a Wii, (2), and a digital audio player jukebox (3). They found these prizes were actually cheaper than hiring a producer, etc. The contest is ongoing until January 2008.
  • Other forms of PR they have tried:
    • Teen blogs.
    • Library websites.
    • Schools.
    • School media association publication.
    • Social network sites.
  • On their use of MySpace:
    • They use the blog feature of MySpace for a "question of the week."
    • They use widgets when they can.
    • As people "friend" them, they do a small comment of thanks in that person's MySpace.
    • They also keep comments open on their own MySpace.
  • On Facebook:
    • They found it more difficult to use. They got their page shut down during the time Facebook was refusing any institutional profiles. FB has sort of backed off that now.
    • Instead, the service has created FB widgets.

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