Engaging Audiences with Collections via Social Media

Talk/Presentation

You know best the unique stories your collections have to tell and work hard to preserve those collections for future generations. But how do you take collections care activities from “behind the scenes” to front and center, engaging and educating the public? This was the central question addressed by a four-part series of webinars for small museums and libraries on the topic of collections care outreach. The series was hosted by  Heritage Preservation‘s Connecting to Collections Online Community.

My session focused on the strategic use of social media for outreach related to collections. I talked about how to set goals, select the right  platforms for your  audience, create compelling content, and evaluate success. I showed examples of how organizations can leverage tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, and Google Hangouts to connect with today’s audiences and engage them in meaningful conversations about collections.

I also suggested the following key questions to consider when developing a social media strategy:

  1. Why are you using social media? What do you hope to achieve?
  2. Who are your target audiences? (Tip: “Everyone” is not a useful audience segment.)
  3. What content can you use to connect with and engage audiences? What existing assets can be repurposed? What new content needs to be created?
  4. What do you want to sound like? (Tip: Try creating a list of contrasting values that illustrate the tonal qualities you want to use as guidelines. For example, “friendly, not cutesy” or “clever, not snarky.”)
  5. What does success mean for you? How might you find evidence of success?

The presentation deck is chock full of great examples from museums and libraries—from the Brooklyn Historical Society to the Shakespeare Library. Take a peek at the slides below or watch the webinar recording on the Connecting to Collections website for the full experience.

Have you seen other great examples of social media being deployed by cultural institutions to connect with audiences about the care and appreciation of collections? Please share in the comments.

 

Opening Up Museum Studies with Social Media

Talk/Presentation

How can museum studies professors—and educators of all stripes—incorporate social media into their teaching? How does social media help us enhance learning and open up access to expertise? I was invited to give a brief presentation on this topic for COMPT (Committee on Museum Professional Training) at the AAM (American Alliance of Museums) 2013 annual meeting. My talk covered the social dimension of learning, how social media has changed museums and its audiences, and examples of social media tools being incorporated into the curriculum.

Highlights:

  • Learning is social – Knowledge is socially constructed – Social media supports the learner
  • 3 Cs of Social Learning: Consume, Communicate, Collaborate
  • My favorite example of museum studies, social media, and social learning: musete.ch, which blends wikis, podcasting, and blogging to provide students direct experience talking to experts around the globe and the ability to share their work with the world through open access.
WebWise workshop presentation cover

Engaging Visitors with Social Media

Talk/Presentation

What outcomes are you hoping to achieve with social media?
Are your social media practices engaging online communities to their greatest potential?
How do you know if you are achieving your goals?
How can you take your social media initiatives to the next level?

These four key questions were explored during the “Engaging Visitors with Social Media” workshop I presented at the IMLS WebWise Conference (March 6, 2013).

Participants saw and heard about:

  • Inspirational case studies from inside and outside the museum and library sectors
  • Pursuing marketing, education, crowdsourcing, and advocacy goals through social media
  • Organizational models for social media management
  • Optimizing social content through data analysis
  • Taking your efforts to the next level with a paid-earned-owned mix of activities

We discussed and brainstormed about:

  • Defining the value and goals of social media for your organization
  • Identifying desired outcomes
  • Setting the right tone and voice for your organization
  • Overcoming fear and risk-aversion

Hands-on activities helped us explore:

  • How content goes viral
  • Connecting social tools to organizational strategy and capabilities
  • Determining which social media platforms are right for your target audiences and goals

Platforms covered included:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Wikipedia
  • Vine

View the presentation on Slideshare.

The Heart Truth Poster

The Heart Truth: Using Social Media to Reach and Motivate Women to Address Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Published Writing, Talk/Presentation

This poster presentation was co-authored with Megan Yarmuth, Jennifer Wayman, Sarah Temple, Ann Taubenheim, Ph.D., for the Digital Health Communications (DHCX) conference in February 2012.

Objective
To educate women about heart disease and prompt action against key risk factors by empowering women to spread The Heart Truth® via social media tools.

Background
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) launched a national social marketing campaign—The Heart Truth®—in 2002 to increase women’s awareness of their #1 killer and prompt them to take action to reduce their risk.

In 2007, The Heart Truth® campaign began to utilize social media to disseminate messages, foster online community,
and promote events and resources to reach and motivate women to lower their personal risk for heart disease. Each year, social media efforts have been expanded to include new channels and tactics in support of the NHLBI campaign and key events such as National Wear Red Day® and the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show.

The Heart Truth Poster

National History Day. Image by Keith Jenkins.

Podcast – “History Explorer Meet Our Museum: National History Day”

Talk/Presentation

Learn what it takes to develop a great National History Day project from some museum staff members who have judged the national level in the past. National History Day is an annual competition that engages students in the past through their own well-researched projects.

  • Listen to the podcast (Interview with Dana Allen-Greil about what makes a good Web project begins at 15:30.)
  • Check out some of the student Web entries from the 2011 National History Day competition.

Evaluating Social Media

Talk/Presentation
How to navigate a sea of social media technologies and begin to measure success. This presentation explores planning for implementation, developing metrics, defining success, measuring costs and benefits, and applying lessons learned to other online and offline efforts.
American Association of Museums Annual Meeting May 2010. Session panel included Angelina Russo, Associate Professor, Swinburne University Faculty of Design.

From Construction Site to Museum: Managing the Opening Process

Talk/Presentation

Solutions to the challenges of museum building projects, such as determining an opening date, managing staff and board expectations, establishing and managing priorities, and funding. Other topics include getting off on the right foot, dealing with uncertainty, handling delays and cost overruns, and opening with grace.
American Association of Museums Annual Meeting 2009
Session panel included:
  • Judy Gradwohl, Associate Director for Public Programs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institition, Washington, DC
  • Elaine Heumann Gurian, Sr. Museum Consultant, Arlington, VA
  • James Volkert, Exhibition Associate, Exhibition Associates, Conway, AR
  • Dana Allen-Greil, Project Manager, New Media, National Museum of American History, Washington, DC
  • Susan Leidy, Deputy Director, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
Endorsed by:
AAM Museum Management Committee
AAM National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME)
AAM Public Relations and Marketing Committee
AAM Development and Membership Committee
AAM Museum Association Security Committee