Social media posting guides for archives & special collections

socialmediacollageThis past summer, I completed an independent study focused on how archives and special collections use, could use, and should use social media platforms. As part of that class, I put together a series of guides targeted towards archives and special collections (although they could be equally useful to libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions). The guides are intended to be one-page, ready reference sheets for archivists using social media. Each guide is focused on a single platform. Although much of the information could be transferred to any social media platform, each platform has its own uses and quirks. The guides include suggestions on what to post and when to post, tips for good content, a few projects to try, a few options for measuring social media “success,” and some repositories who I think use that platform to their advantage. They do not include information for how to work each social media platform (e.g. – uploading photos, adding tags, etc.). There are already a large number of resources on the web for individuals needing help with technical issues. My primary goal was to provide quick, useful resources to those people who wanted guidance on how to best use social media platforms for their repository.

I based each guide on my own experience managing a social media program for an archives, advising archivists on social media use, and as someone who follows archives and other cultural institutions on a number of social media platforms. I also took into account advice from other institutional users of social media (including the non-profit and corporate sectors), archives and library literature on the subject, and the results of my 2012 Social Media Use in Archives and Special Collections survey.

Because I wanted to keep the guides at one page each, there was a limit on how much information I could include. I intend to write a series of posts expanding on each guide – explaining them in more detail, offering more examples and advice, etc. Right now I have completed guides on using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, tumblr, and YouTube. As I continue my research on social media use in archives and special collections, I plan to put together guides on additional platforms such as Pinterest and Historypin.

I created these guides with a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. They are posted on my personal website, and with this license in mind, feel free to print, share, and repost them! All I ask is if you use them, please provide a link back to You can find all of the guides here.

2 thoughts on “Social media posting guides for archives & special collections

  1. Hi Rebecca,
    I’m having a good read of your Social Media Posting Guides. They are very handy. I just wanted to check what you mean by “raw link”. I’m assuming you mean don’t just post the link but also add some text or title to explain where the link will go, but I’m also thinking it might be to do with the length of the url and the need to minimise the characters.
    Thanks for your time with this.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thanks! Oh yes, raw links. You are correct – I always try to add context to the link (telling people where it will lead them). I also meant the length of the URL. I’m a big fan of URL shorteners, not only because shortened links take up less visual space and fewer characters, but also – if you use the same service regularly – it gives your content a clean and consistent look. Sometimes this isn’t a big deal (e.g. – “Find books for your research paper here:“), but when you have an unwieldy link it makes your post long and rather unattractive (e.g. – “Find books on British historiography here:” vs. “Find books on British historiography here:“). Plus, with Twitter, I’m personally always a bit put off by those tweets with links that trail off (“Read this article: . . . “). I like to see the whole link I’m going to be clicking on!

      I think it’s best when a repository chooses one service (,,, etc.) and sticks with it for a consistent look. And, if you track how many clicks your links get, using one service will make it easier to go back and check. Some people may even have access to a custom shortener. At my university, we have (our mascot is the Terrapin turtle, so we’re the “Terps”), which is available to use for anyone who has a university login. I always use it because I think it adds to our brand and is recognizable to the biggest chunk of our researchers (plus, I think it’s pretty cute!).

      So there is my very long answer to your question! I hope this helps.


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