Museums Online

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

One thing … October 30, 2009

Filed under: social media — museumsonline @ 4:06 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
2863099607_9cecfcc952_t

Bridge 13, West Coast

Some final thoughts from the West Coast museums …

‘Blogging – connecting something to our existing website – to show them a wee bit more about our museum. And adding objects to our NZMuseums page.’

‘Organise the photos and audio and information that I’ve gathered for my museums studies project and add it to the West Coast Kete project.’

‘For our genealogy and history group, all of the things we’ve looked at are relevant because it’s about reaching out.’

‘I’m looking forward to visiting the Northern Buller Museum, which I haven’t visited before!’

‘I’m keen to update our presence on NZMuseums – add photos, update the text.’

‘I’m going to develop some strategies for the use of social media. If you know why you want to use it, it’s easier to decide which tools to use.’

‘I’m going to get the staff more involved in our current social media activities (take photos and write status updates for our Facebook page and make updates to NZMuseums and NZLive). We’ll strengthen what we’re already doing before taking on new stuff.’

‘Integrating blogging and Twitter on to Facebook, and initiate some conversations about our future website at this early stage in our redevelopment.’

‘I’ve realised that you need to use a number of tools to reach different audiences. It’s possible to reuse content – translate your media releases into a blog post, promote your latest post on twitter etc.’

image cc electropod

 

One thing … October 23, 2009

Robert Burns in the Octagon

Robert Burns in the Octagon

As at the other workshops in this series, participants at the Dunedin workshop shared the one (or two or three!) things that they’ll do next with social media:

‘Develop a social media strategy to give direction to our efforts.’

‘Involve younger people in our organisation through technology.’

‘Gather community contributions, as well as push out our own content and information!’

‘Report back to the team, show examples of what others are doing, and demonstrate that using social media is possible and manageable.’

‘We’ll review our website – make sure we are updating it regularly – and establish blog to promote various projects. We need to identify specific purposes and uses for each tool we’re using, have a play to explore possibilities, and include all the businesses we work with in this process.’

‘Try some simple ways to promote our major festival. We’ll contribute events to NZLive.com and add visitor comments to our website while we develop a longer term social media strategy.’

‘Social media is not necessarily frivalous but could be a key promotional channel for us.’

‘Time to explore the tools! We need to schedule social media activities in our diaries: expand our events listings on NZLive.com and other services, and set up analytics to measure website stats.’

‘We need to value ‘virtual’ visitors, and develop visitor involvement in all future exhibits.’

‘We’ll create a strategy to identify priorities and small steps – selecting one or two activities that will serve us best. This might include refining our e-newsletter, exploring Facebook and getting our friends group on Flickr.

‘Refining our existing strategy is the next step – getting a listing on NZLive.com and exploring Facebook and a blog.’

Participants came up with some great ideas at the workshop, such as:

  • using wikis to gather stories and reflections from the community – maybe partnering with a school and inviting students to gather oral histories and build the wiki
  • blogging about a museum and building redevelopment project to demonstrate, amongst other things, progress and value to project sponsors
  • getting the gardner to blog
  • creating short videos for posting on tourism sites to target international audiences
  • using social networks to support ¬†‘friends’ groups and reach young families.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their ideas and social media experiments. Great to hear that some of you are already getting promising results from promoting events on Facebook and other services and from networking with related websites!

image cc filippo_jean

 

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 ūüôā

image cc by rengber

 

The story behind the Otautau Museum blog

Filed under: blogging,social media — museumsonline @ 3:38 pm
Tags: ,
Otautau Museum

Otautau Museum

I’ve asked Cathy about the story behind the lovely Otautau Museum blog. She wrote back to me – thanks very much, Cathy! (I like the way she included all her web links and exhibition info in her email signature). If you’ve got a question for her, feel free to leave a comment …

‘I actually started with a blog for our town and then liked it so well that thought that having one for the museum would allow me to add more content for those specifically interested in what we are up to.

‘Having a blog¬†has been the most flexible outlet for us in terms of adding content easily¬†plus it’s cost effective. We are a very small, volunteer-run museum and have to keep all costs down. Having a domain name and server costs for a website¬†is really out of the question for us at this point.

‘Google Analytics shows we get around¬†0 to 1¬†visitors a day. Sometimes I’ll post on the Otautau Blog and mention that I’ve put something on the museum blog and that drives visitors over. We’re a small town, around 750 people, and most are not heavy internet users so getting visitors is tricky. It’s possible we are a little ahead of our time with regard to our own community but hopefully someday the visitor numbers will be higher if we can keep adding worthwhile content.

‘It would be great if other small museums were into blogging. Rural museums are rather isolated from each other so we don’t often get to know what others are doing.’

Cathy

Otautau Museum
146 Main Street, Otautau
Mailing address: c/- 11 Knutsford Rd
Otautau 9610
New Zealand

Current displays
Student artwork – and – Local Transport
On now until 31 Dec 2009
Open Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm-4pm

On the web
Otautau Museum Blog
Otautau Museum Website
Otautau Blog

 

Bay of Plenty museums explore blogging October 15, 2009

Filed under: blogging,social media — museumsonline @ 12:16 pm
Tags: , ,

We’re talking about blogging at the moment. We’re pretty impressed that the wordpress service (and others like it) is free. Here are some great ideas from today’s participants about how museums might use blogs.

Blogging for museums is good for:

  • adding a personal touch – making it real to people
  • generating feedback and interaction with your audiences
  • keeping your information more lively and up to the minute (if your website is cumbersome to update
  • promoting specific events or exhibitions and creating ‘buzz’
  • featuring guest bloggers – maybe experts on the topic of your exhibition, a visiting artist, children’s work from the education programme.

Attending the workshop: Karen and Karen from Taupo Museum, Pip, Fiona from Tauranga Heritage Collection, Irene from the Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum, Toni from Massey University, Kathy from Tauranga Art Gallery, and Rangipai and Kay from Whakatane Museum.

 

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).