With years of collective experience in social media engagement, many museums are stopping to ask themselves: what have we really learned about the audiences we are connecting with? Have we formed more meaningful relationships with our community and in the process, are we better serving the missions of our institutions?
#Musesocial is a tag on Twitter which I was first introduced to by Erin Blasco, from the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. A few weeks ago, I noticed she was asking provocative and probing questions such as ‘after following a museum on social media, have you visited its website more or less?’ or ‘what do you wish museums were doing more of with social media?’ These questions were sparking conversations, some receiving unexpecting replies (for me, I’m not going to speak for Erin). But it was very interesting and eye opening.
Erin explained there was going to be scheduled chats for these and more questions asked. I was soon hooked. Although I was still unsure as to the ‘Why’ this was taking place, it didn’t really matter – what mattered is it was igniting important discussions between cultural venues, staff, visitors and everyone inbetween. (I later found out that it’s related to MW2012 Social Media Professional Forum).
The conversation was semi-hosted with several questions on the ready should required. For example, on the Wiki there were five conversation starters:
- What do you know about social media in museums NOW that you didn’t know when you started?
- What is difference between a social media community and an audience? How do you cultivate a community?
- Which social media metrics do you find the most useful?
- What are the top 3 goals of your museum’s social media outreach?
- Everyone should be able to speak on behalf of museum, unfiltered, on social media.
These main topics were the vessel which spurred so many wonderful and fascinating questions/ answers/ experiences. For example, I came in mid-way through Audience and communities conversation and jumped in unsure of what was already said. However, this helped me see the difference between US / UK dilemmas and changes in certain ethos depending on size of organization.
Other discussions included who should write social media policies? It’s easy to say ‘Social Media department’ but what if there isn’t one? What if the Twitter account was created by a lovely lady in Payroll? Or a casual front of house worker?
This soon morphed into a discussion on how many accounts were created not by IT people but by people who ‘Jumped in and got their hands smacked later’. What was so brilliant about that conversation is it unified the issue – it’s happening Internationally – not just in one area.
Another discussion of social media metrics led to discussion on what type of information is management asking for (if any) and if they even know what to ask for. I personally suggested not to pay for metrics unless hire ups are asking for more details and are willing to put their hands in their pockets to pay for it!
What are you thoughts on these topics? Feel free to leave a comment or join in on the Twitter tag!
I’ll be looking forward to see what the next couple of #musesocial chats bring up!
Storify on the tweets are here
I’ve also archived all the Tweets here
Updated: Archive of all tweets from second week here.
Updated: Storify of the tweets from second week here.