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:
- Why are you using social media? What do you hope to achieve?
- Who are your target audiences? (Tip: “Everyone” is not a useful audience segment.)
- What content can you use to connect with and engage audiences? What existing assets can be repurposed? What new content needs to be created?
- 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.”)
- 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.
Before we can measure social media success, we must first be able to answer the question: Why is social media important for museums and what are we hoping to achieve? Continue reading
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:
Have you ever been kicking around an important question or idea and wished that you could just bring all the smartest people you know together for a little while to hash out the answer and pick their brains? I have two big issues I’m been mulling over for a while now and my magic genie appeared in the form of an invite to join the advisory board for Social Media Week DC. All I had to do after that was click my heels three times, email favor requests to some of my amazing colleagues, and *poof* my wish will be coming true! (Yes, I know I’m mixing storylines and metaphors here but I’m just SO excited.)
While I’m being somewhat selfish in my selection of topics and speakers (I want those burning questions answered!), I think everyone working in museums and/or education is in for a treat with these two upcoming events. If you are in DC, I encourage you to attend these free sessions. If you are unable to participate in person, rest assured that we’ll be live-tweeting, Storify-ing, and blogging about what we learn!
Defining and measuring social media success in museums and arts organizations
Friday, February 22, 10:30-noon (stay for lunch!), National Museum of the American Indian
Join social media practitioners from local museums and arts organizations for a lively discussion about the value of social media to our institutions. Are our current social media practices engaging online communities to their greatest potential? What outcomes are we hoping to achieve? And how can we better evaluate the success of our efforts and take our social media engagement to the next level?
Our panelists will:
*share recent research about how social media has transformed the arts in America
*present lightning talks on the social media outcome that matters most to them
*discuss your ideas, needs, and concerns
Come prepared to share your burning questions or big idea! Following the formal program, you are invited to buy your own lunch in the museum’s Mitsitam Cafe and take part in informal discussions in smaller groups.
Social studies: How educators are using social media
Thursday, February 21, 5-6:30pm, The Fridge DC
How are teachers using social media in the classroom? And how can your organization or museum best reach and support educators by providing relevant resources, facilitating social activities, and connecting them with your social content? Join us for a discussion of the rapidly evolving role of social media in teaching and professional development in the education sector. Speakers include a science teacher, the organizer for DC’s EdTech MeetUps, and a museum educator.
Other museum-related events during Social Media Week DC:
- Behind the Scenes Tweetup at Smithsonian’s National American History Museum, Tuesday, February 19, 1-4pm
- A Mobile Smithsonian, Wednesday, February 20, 3-5pm
Museum-related events during Social Media Week New York:
- Telling Stories with Scientists, Wednesday, February 20, 6:30-9:30
- ARTIFACTS: A Gathering of Innovators in the Arts & New Media, Wednesday, February 20, 8-11pm
Authored two chapters: “Measuring, Analysing and Reporting” and “Case Study: National Museum of American History.”
In its 360 pages, Conversations with Visitors shares the experience of some of the world’s leading international thinkers and doers in the field of social media and museums. Together, these essays provide sound, practice-based advice on communicating with, involving, challenging, and analysing museum visitors (and non-visitors) through the use of many different types and styles of social media.