The sixth in our social media series from Louise Winters.
Using your museum’s collection as inspiration
If you’ve got your social media profiles all set up and you find yourself thinking “What on earth do I post about 5 times a week?” you are not alone. This is usually the most difficult bit of managing social media.
First thing to do is turn to what you have around you in the museum. Curating a collection is all about telling the story of your exhibits to preserve them and the stories around them for the future and your collection is a fantastic source of stories to share on social media.
Try picking a different object in your collection each week to highlight on social media. You’ll need:
- A good photo of the object
- An interesting fact or part of the story around this object that your followers will like
- To write up a short bit of text for a Facebook / Twitter post that tells the fact / story
- OR to write up a longer description for a blog telling visitors a bit about the story of the object
Here’s an example from Worthing Museum: https://twitter.com/WorthingMuseum/status/846402992811184129
How can I choose which objects to feature?
Even if your museum is small you may have a lot of exhibits: how do you know where to start? Here’s a few ideas.
- Ask your staff what their favourite objects are and why they like them and feature one per week.
- Ask some of your visitors each week to say what their favourite exhibit is and use their choices. Don’t forget to ask if they use social media and mention them or link to them in your post.
- Think about events coming up at your museum, any new exhibits or collections, any important patrons and choose objects that are linked to write up a post about.
- Think about what is going on outside the museum – any school or national holidays coming up (bank holidays, Christmas, Easter), anything seasonal (e.g. snowy weather, spring flowers), anything in the news or any TV shows that your museum is relevant to and choose objects that are linked.
The Essex Fire Museum posted some archive photos of female officers on International Women’s Day: https://www.facebook.com/pg/EssexFireMuseum/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1001441896656224
As an example of something a bit different: Social media for the Tate galleries talk about the weather using paintings from their collections https://twitter.com/Tate/status/822414664306950144
Ask yourself what will be interesting to people who might come to visit? What can you have some fun with to catch the attention of social media users? How can you catch the attention of people who wouldn’t normally visit your museum and cultivate a more diverse audience for your museum?
How do I tell the story in only a few words?
As you’ll know if you’ve read the blogs on writing for Facebook & Twitter, you need to be concise! On Twitter you only have 140 characters and on Facebook only the first part of your post will be shown in the timeline.
Here’s a few thoughts to help you keep your information about the object concise:
- Definitely include a photo of the object in your post so followers can see the object
- Remember you don’t have to write in a formal way
- Pick a few evocative or interesting words that describe your object and focus on them
- Try describing the object in 5 words only, this way you don’t need to write a full sentence, you could just write the 5 words and invite followers to comment on your photo and share their own 5 word descriptions.
Let us know how you get and share your own thoughts on how to create content for social media for your museum on by leaving a comment below.
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