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Social media optimization: making library content shareable and engaging

Doralyn Rossmann (Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA)
Scott W.H. Young (Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 16 November 2015




Social Media Optimization (SMO) offers guidelines by which libraries can design content for social shareability through social networking services (SNSs). The purpose of this paper is to introduce SMO and discuss its effects and benefits for libraries.


Researchers identified and applied five principles of SMO. Web analytics software provides data on web site traffic and user engagement before and after the application of SMO.


By intentionally applying a program of SMO, the library increased content shareability, increased user engagement, and built community.

Research limitations/implications

Increasing use of SNSs may influence the study results, independent of SMO application. Limitations inherent to web analytics software may affect results. Further study could expand analysis beyond web analytics to include comments on SNS posts, SNS shares from library pages, and a qualitative analysis of user behaviors and attitudes regarding library web content and SNSs.

Practical implications

This research offers an intentional approach for libraries to optimize their online resources sharing through SNSs.


Previous research has examined the role of community building and social connectedness for SNS users, but none have discussed using SMO to encourage user engagement and interactivity through increased SNS traffic into library web pages.



© Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. This work has not been published previously in its current or substantially similar form.

Susan Borda of Montana State University created the data representation in Figure 7. The authors would like to thank the members of the Research and Writing Group for their feedback and support: Ryer Banta, Susan Borda, Sara Mannheimer, Kirsten Ostergaard, and Leila Sterman.


Rossmann, D. and Young, S.W.H. (2015), "Social media optimization: making library content shareable and engaging", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 526-544.



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