Museums Online

A blog to go with a series of workshops for museums on social media

One thing … October 19, 2009

Whakatane

Whakatane

Just as we did in Whanganui, we ended the session in Whakatane with the Bay of Plenty museums commenting on the one thing they’d like to try next. Here are those things:

‘I’d like to start a twitter account for the profiling our collection.’

‘We’ve already done some research into social media and even tried a few things – we need to develop a strategy that focuses on where we want to be further down the track.’

‘Build a business case for using social media for our council.’

‘I’m keen to see a blog set up for museum studies students to get communicate and get some experience prior to job hunting.’

‘Build professional networks … but first I need to process all the options before choosing!’

‘I’d like to use twitter for out museum and I’m trialling Facebook at home with my family … plus I think a blog would give us the opportunity to easily and quickly reflect the changing life of our museum.’

‘Develop a strategy for each of our council’s services – I can see that you need to match the tool to specific needs and audiences. We need to be able to justify what we are doing and be credible to funders and sponsors.’

Thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm – and some great blogging and tweeting 🙂

image cc by rengber

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One thing … October 7, 2009

Whanganui Regional Museum

Whanganui Regional Museum

At the end of our Whanganui workshop, here’s what participants said was the one thing they’d do next …

‘Visitor contributions are a ‘next step’ for our website – to keep the website fresh and to target younger audiences and families.’

‘A blog is a very flexible tool.  I think we can generate a spark of interest in staff and our community through a blog – using the blog to gather information, stories and feedback from around the country.’

‘Blogging, enhancing our pages on NZMuseums and social networking – using Facebook to connect with our alumni.’

‘Getting a Twitter account – it’s a natural progression from our new e-newsletter.’

‘I can see how we can strengthen the museum – using social media may appeal to a new wave of volunteers.’

‘I’m going to make a case for the museum to be more visible on the larger website because it contributes to the revenue earned by those other services. Maybe I’ll set up a museum blog to highlight our unique stories.’

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories and expertise!

 

Yellow pages are dead – long live social media! October 6, 2009

It’s been a great session with the Whanganui museums today. Participants said they wanted to get these things out of the workshop:

  • ways to connect to the collegiate community
  • avenues to earn money
  • making my museum more visible
  • increasing the value of the museum to the community
  • increasing the professionalism of our museum
  • what comes next after a website?
  • new, smart ideas to encourage contributions from the community.

Of course, the yellow pages aren’t dead – Mark points out that social media is another channel to reach audiences. This means more work for stretched museums, so prioritising is important.

First steps – make sure your museum is on NZMuseums and NZLive – these organisations will do the marketing for you if you provide the content. Send them content regularly – press releases and events. They love getting new content and will post it to their sites. They’ve also got staff on hand to help you out.

Then maybe contemplate a blog – especially if you don’t have a website at all – to share your stories and engage your community (and don’t forget to promote your blog to your networks). Further down the track, perhaps a twitter account to promote your events and highlight your collection and also a flickr page for photos and images.

Social networks are another step up again … What’s important about these sites is that you can put your information in the places where your audience goes. They are likely to spend more time on Facebook and Twitter than on your website.

‘There’s so much out there that you have to remain focused and in control – or you’ll be overwhelmed and confused … even depressed!’, says Mark from MAVtech Museum.

I think the key is focus on your goal – what you want to achieve – and then use the tools that will best help you achieve this – whether it’s increasing audience visits, raising money or professional development for staff. You’re likely to use a range of marketing methods (print, online, environmental) to achieve your goal.

‘You have to realise that there is redundancy – what you do on twitter and the blog and on Facebook may overlap, but that’s not a problem – you are making sure you reach as wide an audience as possible’, Mark adds.

As well as marketing and building audiences, social media are invaluable for supporting the professional development of museum staff. Again, information overload is a potential problem – find one blog you want to read and one community to join (it might even be a community that relates to your personal interests instead of your professional ones, to get you started).