Museums Online

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

Social media strategy October 23, 2009

Filed under: social media strategy — museumsonline @ 1:55 pm

We spent a bit of time at yesterday’s workshop discussing social media strategy. There are some useful articles and great short videos on how to develop strategy listed on this blog (see the page workshop links), as well as material in the workshop presentation.

It can be useful to document your strategy – even briefly – so that you can share it with your project sponsors, stakeholders or your parent organisation. Here’s a simple structure for such a document that might help you out here – it’ll get you thinking about your priorities and what you can realistically tackle given your resources.

  1. Vision for your organisation
  2. Audience(s) for your servies
  3. Objectives of your marketing strategy (eg increase visits from families, build international audience, attract new volunteers etc)
  4. Sections outlining your print, online and evironmental activities.
  5. Sign off by your project sponsor and, if required, other stakeholders
  6. Related organisational policies and strategies (eg organisation’s social media policy, branding guidelines, strategic plan etc).

In the ‘online activities’ section, list each activity you plan to undertake and describe:

What you’ll do: the purpose (eg revealing the behind-the-scenes operations of the museum, distributing events information etc), the content involved (events information, digitised images of objects from the collection), the tool you’ll use (WordPress, Twitter, Facebook etc).

Relationship with/implications for your main website: eg continuity with branding, sign up to newsletter or link to twitter needed on home page.

Marketing objective(s) that the activity supports

Success metrics: how you will measure the outcomes of the activity (eg number of Facebook fans, visitors to your blog, number of user contributions etc).

Resource required: who will do the work and how much time it will take, and the frequency of activity (eg fortnightly blog post).

Risks and mitigation: eg will moderation be required? will copyright constrain you?

The last section – related organisational policies and strategies – mentions social media policy. Here’s a useful link to a blog post by Janet Fouts on corporate social media policy, with some examples. As she says, ‘a corporate policy lets [staff] know what they need to know to communicate the company message effectively, and what they should and should not do.’

As well as thinking about what you’re going to say via social media channels, it’s important to think about how you’re going to respond to what others are saying about you. Here’s the US Air Force’s rules of engagement for blogging. It’s pretty thorough – the main point for me is that your response should vary in tone and content depending on what’s been posted about.

If anyone has any models out there to share for developing social media strategy, please feel free to contribute and discuss!


One thing …

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 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 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 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