If you’re reading this and are a children’s librarian, then you’re a celebrity. Really. Unless you live in a big city, you are the most recognizable person to kids in your area. I mean, who else is there? You might be thinking, “what about teachers?” Nope, teachers are definitely recognizable, but your kiddos see them every day, you’re a much more rare and special find. You’re more of a celebrity than they can be. Librarians are the grandparents of the education world–they just do a bunch of fun stuff and load kids up with sugar before dumping them back off!
The point I’m trying to make is that you are seen by many different children every year and they see you as fun, engaging, and kind. That’s amazing. And, that can be used for marketing.
It’s something I learned early on when I started realizing that parents kept coming up to me, telling me about all the things that their kids learned in story time or school visits. You’re talked about a lot and you’re recognizable. So if you have a program coming up, you should be on the poster. They do it on movie posters all the time, so why not do it on a library flyer? Just think about the last flyer you saw, what grabbed your attention or got you to stop scrolling? It most likely wasn’t a static image, or an image without any action or people. It was most likely a dynamic image, an image of somebody doing something.
Your families come to your storytime to see you. Not just to hear books or sing songs, they can find that on YouTube. They specifically come to your library to see you. You’re their rock star, so act like it. You as a children’s librarian as are important to the branding as a logo. You’re the face of the franchise.
So that needs to be reflected in your marketing. Dynamic images keep eyeballs on your posts for longer. You’re competing with so much so in order to really promote a program, you or someone else should be front and center, demonstrating that it’s fun, entertaining, and worth their time. We had a rather expensive summer kickoff last year with aerial dancers, and to ensure a turnout I knew I wanted to do a large ad campaign. Showing the dancers would be great, again that’s a dynamic image, but I still wanted to make sure I got eyeballs and for people to stop scrolling. So I went and reused a previous idea I had to promote an animal handler we had a few years earlier.
What the acrobats are doing is so impressive, and it becomes even more impressive when you see that I have no clue what I’m doing. People want to see you be silly, out there, worth their time. These images got A LOT of buzz on our Facebook page, and thus the event got a lot of buzz. The more engagement you get, the better it is for your brand. I rarely get asked the question, “do you work here?” I still get strangers come up to me and say, “oh you were the guy that tried acrobatics!” Dynamic images make the program pop and sell the product better.
It can also be a great teambuilding exercise. These last few ones were really fun to make and were really memorable. Asking your co-workers to do something weird shows initiative, but also that you’re willing to put yourself out there. Marketing is designed to grab new people. And new people don’t know who you are. Introduce yourself through your marketing.