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Extending Our Facebook Reach Through Local History

In January, 2018, one of our Facebook librarians began a local history quiz.  It was favorably received, but just as the feature was getting some traction, one of our library's key staff members left, which resulted in a duty shift that compelled us to postpone the quizzes until late March, 2018, when they were resumed as a daily Facebook posting through the present  time (end of May, 2018).

Take a look at our Facebook reach statistics so far for 2018 (click images to enlarge):

That's quite a jump for April and May.  The only significant content change in our Facebook postings has been the daily local history quizzes, so we're fairly confident that the reach explosion is due primarily to that feature.

Here's a typical example of one of our local history quizzes:

Facebook Analytics provided the following statistical analysis:

These local history quizzes engage our Facebook patrons more effectively than any other content.  Perhaps Mooresville, Indiana just has the most interesting history in the country, but I frankly doubt it.  I've lived here for over 20 years, and our local history is about the same as anywhere else, John Dillinger and other famous Mooresvillians notwithstanding.  The quizzes' success stems simply from the power of remembrance.  Nostalgia is an effective hook, and Facebook seems to provide a reasonably efficient platform through which to interest our patrons.

If your library hasn't tried featuring local history on your social media or website, you might experiment with it and see if your numbers increase.  My library sponsored a local history blog that has been viewed (over the past eight years) a total of 158,352 times (as of today).  That's not earth-shattering by any means--it's not even my library's most popular blog, which is one written by a cat and has been viewed (as of today) 529,029 times--but it's respectable.  Furthermore, my library's local history (and genealogy-related) web pages (see herehere, and here) usually appear regularly in our top ten web page visitations.  Plus, my library has featured several local history videos on its YouTube channel, which has over 1.3 million viewings (although, admittedly, it wasn't the history videos that drove viewership, but they have a small following).  So there's some indication that local history can be a popular topic with library patrons.


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