@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
  • Behind the scenes: When @TextureKortrijk took over @52museums

    April 3rd, 2019mardixonCulture, International

    Guest blog by Ann Vanrolleghem who runs social media for Texture, museum of flax and river Lys in Kortrijk, Belgium. About how she experienced the Instagram takeover @52museums.


    Who could have known that meeting Mar Dixon at a FARO conference in Brussels would result in an amazing social media adventure? When Mar talked in November ’18 about her initiative @52museums, a weekly international Instagram takeover for museums, all my alarm bells went off. Would this not be a great opportunity for our small museum Texture to show ourselves to the big world, an international community of museum lovers? Yes, I was immediately won over by the idea, so I jumped right in (yes, I’m impulsive… read my previous guest blog) and I’ve put Texture, museum of flax and river Lys, on the waiting list for 2019. And it felt like a Christmas gift when I heard the news we got accepted! And then the big fun started…

    Episode one: OMG, having an identity crisis

    It is one thing to apply in all your enthusiasm, it is another thing to actually do it! My first reaction was total excitement, but then I started to have some doubts… The account @52museums is not a small account and I didn’t want to embarrass myself nor the museum. I wanted to do a great job (who doesn’t?), so I started to think how I was going to structure the week of the takeover. Content planning like the experts call it. What would I tell? How would I tell it? What pictures would be great? And in this process of thinking… I had an identity crisis (OMG)… Do I know enough about the museum I work for to tell both interesting as well as fun stories? So, step one for me was to dig deeper into our collection. I digested a lot of info in a small period of time and also took the time to wander off into the museum. Yes, you really should do that! Armed with all the extra intel, I felt more confident and started to put up a schedule for the takeover. In seven days I would build up a story, starting from what is flax and how we use it in everyday life. It was an important lesson for me to find a way to tell our story to people who don’t know us, but who would hopefully like us. And that is a lesson I will keep in mind when writing posts for our own museum account.

    Episode two: Relax, just do it and have fun!

    When I was making up the schedule, it felt like Mar was sitting upon my shoulder (like a devil or an angel… who knows ;)) whispering that you should have fun with this account. Try new things. Think outside the box. Hmmmm, doing content planning isn’t that much fun, it is often hard and lonely work. And how was I going to incorporate new and fun things on the account? A little voice in my head said ‘why not try a riddle?’ and so I did! On the first day I would start with an easy peasy riddle. Looking back, this was a great idea. The riddle triggered interaction and the reach of this particular post was beyond all the others. Other new and fun things like small quizzes, polls and video I would preserve more for our Instagram Stories. And even so the content planning is hard work behind the scenes, I’ve had some fun with it. Thinking of crazy hashtags, an occasional joke now and then, taking new pictures. And at the end, I had some sort of script to follow. I highly recommend doing content planning for this project, because doing 5 to 8 posts a day, including doing Instagram Stories, over a period of seven days… you really need to be prepared! Off course, you always have enough space to freewheel. No worries. I freewheeled a lot during the takeover, just you know 😉

    Episode three: 3, 2, 1… GO!

    And then it was time! After feeling like a horse in a stable… I could finally break free and run! And this is the moment the adrenaline really kicks in. Doing the first post and immediately have people responding from all over the world. What a rush!  And I guarantee, this feeling lasted the whole week and more. Yes, this is better than eating chocolate which gives only five minutes of joy. The interaction with a broader, but highly interested museum community, was awesome. We got responses from all over the world. How neat is it to have people from Hawaii interested in our local story of flax! To have people sending you even private messages with great lace tips of other countries! Or just the way people responded to our posts. Every single emoji was heartwarming and encouraging. Thank you to all those who followed our takeover in the beginning of March ’19.

    Episode four: the one with the poll button

    Only posting pictures doesn’t do the trick. It is not a one-way street. The greatest thing about social media is the interaction. That moment when you make a quiz or poll and you see people responding. That is the goal! For me it was quite a shock when I’ve put up a poll to know if the viewers were liking the Instagram Stories so far… I got more negative feedback than I expected. But because I wanted to learn (and probably also because I’m a people person), I decided to send a personal message to all the viewers who replied negative to my poll. Asking them what they didn’t like about it. Asking for their advice. I took it as an opportunity to learn since this was the first time I ever did a poll. And I got great response! Saying that they didn’t mean to vote NO, but that the poll button (with NO) was on the place where they swipe through the stories. You cannot believe how relieved I was. And also how stupid I felt about it. But it also made me smile… and so I didn’t delete that scene from the story, but instead I explained it in the next few scenes. And the YES votes rose in numbers… luckily for me 😉

    Episode five: the days after

    After putting up the last post and signing off… the social media fairy tale was over. It was quite intensive. And even though I missed it… I was also completely low on battery. Being out there, seven days in a row, with a high density of posts and also trying to manage the takeover with my other work, it was a miraculous piece of time management 😉 And the fact that I had to manage a birthday party with 10 (yes, 10!) seven year old girls in the weekend, was off course not my smartest choice… but I survived! And the days after, the adrenaline rush lowered and it was now time to do statistics! Oh yes, after all the fun came the fun of statistics. What worked well? What didn’t? What could we do better next time? A lot of things you can read in the numbers… but the overall feeling that it was a great social week, that we’ve put Texture out there on the map, that we’ve tried new things is perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from this experiment. Oh yes, and I also learned that taking over this account is highly addictive 😉

    And now… are you ready for a sequel in 2020?

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