There is no denying that 2020 was a tough year for the University of Pretoria community and the entire world around us. The Marketing & Quality Assurance Office had to navigate the new territory of crisis communication and adapt to these unique challenges by taking a new approach to its social media strategy. Our main concern was to provide direct, useful, and efficient communication regarding the new procedures set in place when visiting a UP Library. More importantly, we focused on marketing the comprehensive online collections and virtual information support services to our library users who could visit our libraries due to the many restrictions.
The mission of the DLS has been to reassure students that we are here to help them through this period of uncertainty. With so many updates regarding the UP’s campus re-entry plan, we have adopted a more flexible social media strategy which prioritises updates regarding the Library’s support services. Before March 2020 the @UPLibrary social media channels focused on regular library communications such as announcements of library service updates, book recommendations, suggested library training and activities, celebrations of specific occasions or individuals and notices of upcoming events. The overall focus has remained the same and we have continued to communicate all of these important library updates, but the majority of the posts now consist of relevant COVID-19 responses.
We are also continuously reminding staff and students to use the new UP Library information channels on our website. We do this is by using social media marketing to highlight specific areas of service and to guide users on how to use our website in order to access online resources, contact details, booking services and more. One of our most engaging posts in September exhibited the colourful help boxes found on the Library’s homepage.
Image 1: UP Library Website Help boxes
During the month of October, the social media committee heavily marketed a series of webinars for Open Access Week (19-23 October) and encouraged followers to register and attend these informative sessions. We created designs for each webinar and marketed them across all our social media pages, tagging the relevant audience and drawing in as many attendees as possible.
Image 2: Open Access Week invitations
We urge all UP Library staff members to get in touch with us if you would like to bring more attention to your unit or any new projects you may be involved in - we are always looking for new ways to collaborate with our colleagues and shine a light on our wonderful library. Below is an example of how we marketed the Makerspace Centre and their new developments.
Image 3: Marketing the Makerspace
Although we mostly use social media to communicate library updates, we also prioritise balancing this content with more light-hearted and motivating content aimed at keeping our followers motivated during these challenging times. Our top-performing Facebook post for November offered best wishes to all UP students for their exams and reminded them that the Library is available to assist with any information or resources they might need to study.
Image 4: Best wishes to our students for their exams
The UP Library is currently the top performing SA Academic Library on Instagram and the second top performing SA Academic Library on Facebook – and we would like to keep it that way! With the help of our colleagues we can ensure that the UP Library social media content will always be new, exciting and engaging.
Image 5: UP Library on Instagram
Image 6: UP Library on Facebook
We would like to extend a warm thank you to the Social Media Committee for their creativity and commitment to their weekly posts. We kindly ask that our colleagues support our online presence by liking and sharing our content. If you are interested in marketing your department or unit’s services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Marketing & Quality Assurance office. Email: [email protected]
Make sure you stay up to date with the Department of Library Services by following these social media pages: