|Source: Meghan Jordan|
The nature of social media communications should not be an alien concept to the museum community. The brief, concise language used in social is similar to the ways in which curators distill long histories and boil them down into meaningful, single-paragraph exhibit placards.
Several institutions have successfully tackled the digital challenges facing museums, including The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Indianapolis Museum of Art and The Brooklyn Museum. According to an article published in the New York Times in March 2011, “The Spirit of Sharing," these museums have harnessed social media and technology to engage their visitors more meaningfully and personally, while still remembering to "keep people in a heads-up mode, to make sure they are looking at art.”
Social media can enable museums to more deeply fulfill their most fundamental mission: to bring stories directly to the public in an interactive, meaningful and memorable way.
1. Tell your story - sometimes in 140 words or less Post stories about your collection to your blog, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook. Use Pinterest to create virtual, sharable exhibits.
2. Embrace technology Social media is not only a tool for reaching outside the walls of your museum, but for engaging with visitors who are there right now. Work with your technology department and curators to creatively incorporate social into exhibits.
3. Get people talking It seems obvious, but really and truly understand that social sharing is nothing more than the digital form of word-of-mouth. Get people excited to share something they learned from you! Encouraging social participation among current visitors will help make their friends want to visit themselves.
By leveraging their long-standing ability to creatively convey complicated stories in a limited amount of space, museums have the potential to be among the savviest and most effective social media users in the business community.
Meghan Jordan (@mjIMC) is a marketing communications professional currently pursuing an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Meghan enjoys traveling, history, cooking, swimming and music.