Library marketing via social media: The relationships between Facebook content and user engagement in public libraries

Soohyung Joo, Namjoo Choi, Tae Hyun Baek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold: to explore what kinds of social media content public libraries create to communicate with users online, and to examine the relationships between social media content types and corresponding levels of user engagement. Design/methodology/approach: The sample comprises 4,637 Facebook posts collected from 151 public libraries across the USA. The authors identified ten types of Facebook posts based on the open coding, and calculated the degrees of user engagement for each type of Facebook post, represented by the numbers of likes, shares and comments. Also, The authors examined the effects of the inclusions of images or video clips on user engagement. Findings: The authors observed that the most frequent type of post was related to announcing upcoming events held in libraries. This study also found that posts about community news or emotionally inspiring messages elicited much engagement from users. Posts having an image or images tend to receive more user engagement. Practical implications: Based on the findings of this study, the authors discussed practical strategies for public libraries to effectively use social media to better facilitate user engagement. Originality/value: This study is one of a few attempts that examine the relationships between the types of social media content and the degrees of user engagement in public library environments. Also, the authors have proposed a coding scheme useful to analyze social media content in the context of public libraries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)940-955
Number of pages16
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 13 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Online marketing
  • Public library
  • Social media
  • Social media marketing
  • User engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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