Using Social Media to Cope with a Budget Crisis

In March 2010, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library was notified that it must plan for a 50% reduction in its operating budget due to a drastic shortfall in county revenues. With an already depleted communications budget, the institution’s Office of Marketing and Communications looked to social media to implement its crisis communications plan.

In this fascinating case study of the incident, a library communications and marketing specialist details how she used Facebook and Twitter to inform the public about the monetary shortfall and ask for their assistance in mitigating it.

Starting out by “listening” – determining the public’s opinion of the library organization and brand – and then moving to relationship building, the communications staff learned that the public wanted more transparency about the budget crisis.

They also learned that public meetings to discuss the crisis were held at inconvenient times, so they established a way for pertinent comments to be threaded through a Twitter account and shared with board members and staff after the meetings.

After the two months of budget crisis, the library had raised more than $400,000 from 1,900 contributions traced to its social media efforts. The money will go to defray the loss of $2 million from the library’s budget.

To read the full case study, click here: