The New York Public Library has found a new way to use social media to bring life to classic literature through Instagram. This novel idea involves embracing the technology movement so central to today’s culture and shifting the idea of how to inspire young members of this generation to enjoy reading. Using the Instagram story feature, the library has adapted the ways in which books are consumed; partnered with Mother, a creative agency, and Magoz, an illustrator, they have brought “classics to life in the form of ephemeral content with each page only lasting 10 seconds in nature before disappearing” (Talbot).
Beyond the aesthetic and creative appeal behind this initiative lies quiet a number of marketing goals and strategies that led to the New York Public Library’s success story. First, they were able to find the core essence of the social media site itself, particularly the Instagram story feature, and use it to deliver relevant, fun, and creative content that Instagram users enjoy so much. Second, the New York Public library really held true to their core values throughout the entire implementation and promotional process. Their goal of this initiative ultimately matched that of their true mission: to inspire reading, learning, and thinking. They were able to do this for a whole new generation, which speaks to the “ripple effect” that came “after the launch of Insta Novels…[where] the library found a spike in eReader downloads” (Talbot). This ties into my third point, which is about the library’s success in reaching the target audience by meeting them where they are and focusing on things they care about. As the New York Public Library made deliberations about this project, they knew that the new generation that they are trying to reach dwells, as many people in this day and age do, on Instagram. With this knowledge, they adapted their product and brought content that is fun and user friendly to meet this audience where they are. And, in this, they even focused the content of their posts to the preferences and interests of this target audience. They “chose classics that would be truly enjoyable to digest from a visual perspective…[and] to create cohesiveness, the three books all have the theme of transformation, where one reality becomes another. The books also all touch on issues of diversity and inclusivity — which are core tenets of the New York Public Library and of the millennial generation” (Talbot). By highlighting issues of today in a creative way through a social platform and also touching on issues that are central to the generation of people on the platform, the New York Public library was able to bring literature to life and set an example of how to successfully use social media even when your product seems to be becoming out-dated.
What an amazing initiative! If you would like to check out the Insta Novels, their Instagram handle is @nypl and the stories are found in the highlighted stories section of their page.