Large academic libraries with a decentralized structure can lead to individual library units creating and maintaining their own social media accounts with little standardization or cohesiveness across the library system. As a result, social media account owners often duplicate efforts, overwhelming patrons with communication channels, and lacking a consistent message. At the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I), for example, the library system comprises nearly thirty separate library units, and maintains nearly eighty social media accounts. These accounts are spread across platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, and Flickr, as well as a plethora of blogs. Having a vibrant social media presence is important for libraries to be able to reach patrons in spaces where they are frequently spending time. However, social media trends and platforms are continually evolving, making it challenging for librarians to keep pace with technology while effectively engaging and communicating with patrons online.

In response to these issues the U of I Library created Social Media Working Group (SMWG), which has developed templates for policies and best practices and created channels for streamlined communication. The group hosts speakers and discussion panels on topics such as content strategy, assessment, diversity, scheduler tools, crisis communication, handling negative feedback, and politically sensitive posts.

Developing a consistent message about the overall mission of the library system together will result in increased impact in all areas, including engagement, collections, and services.