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An Infopeople Online Learning Course

June 3rd, 2014 12:00 PM
June 30th, 2014 4:30 PM

Course Instructors: Peggy Barber and Rachel Smalter Hall

Photo of Rachel Smalter Hall Photo of Peggy Barber

How can you go from just a few people talking about your library to everyone talking? What makes your library's message go viral or become contagious?

The most powerful marketing occurs when one person is talking and listening to another, face to face or through social media. This word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is an affordable tool in a world of communication clutter. How can you harness WOMM to build a buzz for your library?

In this course, you'll learn:

  • The basics of marketing in general and the specifics of word-of-mouth marketing
  • What makes things contagious, from YouTube videos to consumer products
  • How these experiences provide actionable techniques for libraries
  • Steps to using WOMM to promote a specific service or program

How we listen to our customers is as important as telling and selling. You'll complete the course convinced that WOMM is a positive endeavor that you can use to engage with your community, build a buzz for your library, and turn your customers into champions.

Course Description: Through checklists, practical exercises, and a marketing template, you will develop a WOMM action plan that is organized, focused, and consistent. You'll see examples of in-person campaigns and the effective use of social media. You'll hear interviews with librarians, sharing real life advice about what works. You will be able to apply the concepts and techniques immediately. You will be encouraged to ask questions and participate in discussions with others.

Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:

  • Week 1: Marketing Is Two-Way Communication
    • What you should know about marketing basics
    • The value of a communications audit and how to use a simple checklist
    • Why a WOMM plan is essential and how to use it
    • How and why WOMM works
  • Week 2: Word-of-mouth Marketing in Action
    • The five "must-haves" for effective Word-of-Mouth Marketing: a good product and great customer service; a plan; a clear, consistent message; a prepared and committed sales force; people willing to testify.
    • Why things catch on, as described in Jonah Berger's book Contagious
    • How to employ these techniques for libraries
  • Week 3: Social Media
    • Like marketing in general, social media is two-way communication.
    • How to choose a social media tool that will best serve your library's WOMM strategy.
    • Ground rules for sharing your WOMM message via social media.
    • How to use posts to inspire your customers to share your WOMM message, providing social currency, an emotional boost, practical value, or a good story.
    • How to write WOMM messages with a tone that is human and full of personality.
    • How to assess the performance of your WOMM strategy in social media.
  • Week 4: Build a Team for WOMM
    • Specific strategies for building an internal sales force
    • When, where, and how to become part of the community's conversation.
    • How to develop and deliver a personal message with confidence.
    • How to anticipate and deal with negative comments and questions.
    • Steps for implementing WOMM for promotion of a specific library service or program.
    • How to measure outcomes for WOMM

Pre-course Assignment: To gain maximum benefit from this course, learners should have a specific service or program that they want to promote using WOMM.

Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments, discussions, or online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.

Who Should Take This Course: Any library staff responsible for marketing. Because this is an introductory course on word-of-mouth marketing, library trustees, Friends, and foundation staff may also find this course beneficial.

Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at:

Course Start: This online learning course starts on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.

Keywords: Marketing and publicity, Social Media