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).