The second in our social media series from Louise Winters:
It’s really easy to think of social media as something you do to tell everyone about your museum. Social media is also a way for people to talk to you, tell you what they’re interested in, ask questions about your museum or the work you do.
The fact that it can be a two way conversation way makes social media very different from traditional PR and it’s a much more approachable way to reach out to potential visitors. Through social media, your visitors are much more likely to see you and other volunteers / staff as people like them. Listening to what other people say or post is an important as what you say or post.
What does community mean to you?
Why do you work at the museum? Do you volunteer your time or you work at the museum because you’re interested in the history of the objects, people and organisations your museum is working hard to preserve and share? Are you interested in the local area and the local people and maybe you like seeing children enjoy the museum? What other things motivate you?
Answering these questions about you and your colleagues can help you figure out who / what is part of the community of your museum. And these are people and organisations who may want to talk to you on social media. Some examples:
- Staff & volunteers
- Visitors or supporters you
- Charitable organisations your museum or colleagues support
- Local schools
- Organisations or local businesses whose work & stories your museum documents or links to
- People or organisations who’ve donated to your museum, sponsored events or added to its collection
They’re all part of your community and you can use social media to follow as many of them as you can find on there. Once you have your own social media channel set up (it could be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – it doesn’t matter which):
- Write down a list of people & organisations for your museum by using the list above
- Look to see if they use social media and follow them if they do. If they don’t you can try to find a website for any organisations.
- ‘Like’ any social media posts they make that you think are interesting, especially if it has an obvious relevance to your museum
- Re-share interesting posts from those you followed (this is retweeting their posts on Twitter or Sharing their posts on Facebook)
- Post positive replies on their posts (e.g. “We love your photos” or “Good luck to everyone involved in the event”)
- Take photographs if you visit another interesting organisation and share on your social media account with, tagging it with their social media name.
- Share the link to blog posts written by other organisations or people , if you think they’re interesting or relevant to your museum.
Why should I spend time talking about what someone else is doing?
The great thing is while you’re talking about someone else who is important in your community you’re also promoting your museum. Because social media is public potential visitors (and many other people) will see you talking about other organisations they like. They may never have heard of your museum before and you may not know they’re out there, but this will give them a reason to notice you and maybe come into your museum.
Those you talk to and promote on social media are also more likely to follow your social media and then share your posts, so your posts will then be seen by more people. It works in the same way you make friends: if people realise that you and they have something in common, they’ll take more of an interest in what you do and what you’re interested in.
And so your social media community begins to grow … and grow … and soon it will take over the world. Mwuahahahahaha! Ah, sorry, I mean it will help you find more visitors and help more people appreciate the excellent and hard work that goes into running your museum 😉 Almost as good as taking over the world, isn’t it?
Do you have any suggestions on how to be a part of the local community using social media? We’d love to hear them and they may be really helpful to other museums so please share them in the comments below.
Please do get in touch, I love saying hello:
On Twitter: @pinkyandnobrain
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisewinters/
My website: http://louisewinters.com/