New Social Media Case Study ~ New York Public Library Success with HootSuite

Success with HootSuite in Social Media Case Study
Case Study on New York Library

HootSuite in Social Media WeekThis week is Social Media Week, and there are events and celebrations happening the whole world over — including the SourceCon Conference in New York City — and HootSuite’s head owl, CEO Ryan Holmes, has flown to New York City just for the occassion.

While in town, Ryan will make a stop in to The New York Public Library to celebrate with the folks who use HootSuite for their social media endeavors.

We at HootSuite HQ thought it would be the perfect time to release our latest case study. This one is all about The New York Public Library’s use of HootSuite to increase brand awareness.

Check it out in our media library where we’re collecting all of our helpful info sheets and extraordinary case studies — it will also be available in Spanish and Japanese. Share it, download it or embed it on your blog so that your friends, your colleagues or your followers can enjoy all the helpful info too.

Bigger Than Books

New York Public Library@nypl is the leading online public library on Twitter worldwide, providing free and open access to more than 50 million items in its physical collections and electronic resources such as the Digital Gallery, eBooks, and online exhibitions. More than 17 million patrons visit the space annually and millions more around the globe use its resources at

Because the Library wanted the highest level of expertise when engaging with their audiences online, they developed a unique decentralized staffing model for coordinating social media efforts. A social media working group was formed to advance the use of Twitter and other social media channels.

Filed Under Challenge

So how does one of the world’s most recognized libraries engage with the world of social?

The staff set out to expand the Library’s online presence by increasing @nypl’s following, driving website visits, making @nypl a discovery tool for library resources, content, and expertise, and therefore building greater brand awareness on the social web.

But maintaining a consistent Tweet volume was a concern. In addition to the flagship profiles @nypl and, the individual neighborhood libraries and divisions of The New York Public Library manage a total of over 100 social media accounts. With no dedicated social media staff, coordinating a large team of decentralized contributors was a challenge.

The Library needed their messaging to come from all facets of their organization in order to accurately represent the depth and range of the Library’s staff, services, and collections. Plus, they needed a way to ensure that messaging was going out at an appropriate pace and volume.

HootSuite Help

Using the right tools and educating staffers helped make NYPL’s Twitter endeavor a success. The Library identified staff in various units to educate them on the use of Twitter as a communication tool and to take intellectual initiative.

New York Library uses HootSuite

The resulting streamlined workflow was coordinated using the efficiency-increasing features of the HootSuite dashboard:

Scheduling tools: Several NYPL staff members contribute to and curate the @nypl feed which necessitated tools to coordinate their social media efforts throughout the organization.

Shared search columns: Team members needed to be able to respond from many locations, so the staff monitoring the feeds shared search columns in the dashboard with the appropriate team members.

Assignment features: The staff could easily monitor conversations about NYPL in the HootSuite dashboard and either respond to Tweets directly or assign Tweets to fellow staff for follow-up.


The results of The New York Public Library’s flagship @nypl Twitter campaign showed incredible growth directly stemming from their coordinated efforts.

Not only did the Library’s following grow from just under 7,000 to over 90,000 in 2010, the Library also increased the number of visits to coming from Twitter by 353.98% over the previous year (2009).

To top it all off, the Library won the PR News 2010 Nonprofit PR Award for Use of Twitter recognizing the Library’s unique coordinated staffing model. Congrats!

Currently closing in on 100,000 followers (February 2011), @nypl continues to lead the flock as the largest public library in the world on Twitter.

Plan for Success

Team of HootSuite CollaboratorsInterested in how HootSuite can help with your social media initiatives?

There are several plans available from HootSuite that are designed for all levels of use. The premium plans can be customized to suit your team and your campaign — advanced analytics, team collaboration, even custom vanity URLs — tailor the perfect plan with a la carte features on the Pro plan, or go for Enterprise for even more support.

And let us know about your success using the dashboard. We enjoy hearing about the new and unique ways that HootSuite users are engaging with their audiences and achieving results.