Tag Archives: social media

Museums at Night 2013 last minute marketing tips

There’s nothing like a Museums at Night event to get people excited, and already  we’ve seen lots of media coverage of your events. Want more? Here are some last-minute promotional tactics that you can carry out in the next 15 minutes.

1) Register!

Make sure that your Museums at Night event is registered in Culture24′s database! With two days till the festival kicks off, this is your very last chance to benefit from our national PR campaign: if journalists ask us what’s happening in your area, and we don’t have details of your event, we can’t spread the word about it! Here’s how to register.

2) Make sure your event is listed on your own website

Double check that you’re promoting whatever your Museums at Night event is on your own site (and Facebook page, if you have one). It sounds obvious but at the very least you need to list the date, event times and ticket price, along with contact details for potential visitors to make a booking or find out more.

3) Chase your local media

If you’ve already sent press releases, that’s great – but now’s the time to follow up with a phone call. Your local newspapers and radio stations are looking for content – so could you do a short interview with them on Thursday morning about the Museums at Night excitement you’re planning?

Will they send a reporter or photographer along on the night? Phone them now!

4) Use your social media channels

Reach out to your followers on Twitter, Facebook, your blog, and any other social media channels you use. Share your excitement as you get ready – we’re already seeing some great behind-the-scenes photos being tweeted, such as this teaser from artist Julian Wild:

… and this costumed preview from Chiltern Open Air Museum:

However, in your messages, be sure to include a link to your event listing online, or to the site where people can find out more and book tickets. Rather than just broadcasting, if you want your followers to take action, make it easy for them by giving them a link to click rather than forcing them to Google for more details.

Don’t forget, the Twitter hashtag for Museums at Night 2013 is #MatN2013 – if you use it, we’ll retweet you.

5) Send an email about your event

Send a quick newsflash reminder to your email network about your Museums at Night event – this is their last chance to book tickets! Bonus points if you have a good image to include.

6) Guerrilla marketing on the night

You’ve already distributed posters, flyers and leaflets around your area, but you want to attract new audiences on the night too – but if you don’t have enough staff to stand outside welcoming potential visitors, how can you grab their attention?

Good signage can make a big difference: if your venue’s on a side street that doesn’t get much passing traffic, use pop-up A-frame signs to catch people’s eye.

Don’t have signs? Simply chalk on the pavements! During Museums at Night last year several venues chalked a trail of arrows to direct passers-by to their front doors, and were delighted to report that this drew in curious new visitors.

7) Keep us updated!

If your tickets are selling slowly or quickly, if you may have to cancel or if your event’s now fully booked, please update us! Call 01273 623336 or tweet @MuseumsAtNight.

A basket of champagne bottles

To be opened very soon … they’re from the champagne tasting night at Bath’s Fashion Museum, and they’ve got our name on! (c) Bath Fashion Museum

Thanks to everyone who’s shared their marketing highlights with us, including blog posts by poets performing at events; a teaser feature about artist Richard Wentworth’s Museums at Night plans for Manchester;  and this promotional video from Liverpool’s Light Night:

LightNight from the Hatch on Vimeo.

And finally, thanks for all your lovely comments about this year’s BBC History Magazine Guide to Museums at Night!

Guest Post: Ross Graham on the Granary Gallery’s portrait evening

Hope everyone had a good long weekend! Our latest Museums at Night guest post is by Ross Graham, discussing the newly-converted Granary Gallery’s first ever Museums at Night event.

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Two visitors view artwork a gallery

Visitors admire some of the art work on display in the gallery.

The Granary Gallery is a very recently opened gallery space located in the newly converted (you guessed it) Old Granary building found on the historic walls of that most northern of north towns, Berwick Upon Tweed. Although the gallery is located in The Granary (now a very modern YHA building with great food), it is owned and run by Berwick Visual Arts, part of The Maltings Theatre and Cinema which is just 2 minutes away.

A Portrait of Portraits, our Museums at Night event

This will be the first time we have taken part in Museums at Night and are very eagerly awaiting the response we will get.

For a small town, Berwick-upon-Tweed has a large bunch of artists from all kinds of backgrounds, with all kinds of skills. With this event we are hoping to draw them all in – painters, sketchers, crafters, photographers and film makers of all ages.

The evening will be an open door event with no pre-booking required, and the activities will be… well, they will be ‘active’ from the start! We currently have the Ruth Borchard Collection of Self-Portraits in the Gallery, so what better than a night for visitors to create their own self-portraits?

There will be all kinds of materials available from simple pencils and paper to craft materials and even (fingers crossed) digital face editing. We will also have an artist on site who will be creating portraits for visitors even if they don’t want to try designing their own – although we hope that everybody who visits on the night will be inspired to create something.

People looking at artwork in a gallery

Visitors looking at the artwork in the Granary Gallery

Marketing

To spread the word about our Museums at Night event we have done the usual: creating posters, sending emails, using our social media channels, spreading  word-of-mouth through gossip, sending owls etc.

However, the new marketing idea we’re really excited about is starting a competition. We are asking people to submit photos of their own portraits to our Facebook and Instagram pages. The top 5 pictures on each page that get the most ‘likes’ by the 17th May will be put up for judgement by visitors at the actual event – and the winner will receive complimentary film tickets to The Maltings.

See you on the night!

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Picture of a man in a hat and dark clothing Ross Graham has worked in The Maltings Theatre and Cinema for about 6 years: he has worked in most areas throughout that time and now works at the Box Office, helps with Youth Drama and is the Education and Community Development Worker for the Theatre.

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Thanks, Ross!

If you’re reading this and you have an interesting story to tell or case study to share about planning or marketing after-hours events at your arts or heritage venue, I’d love to publish your guest posts as well. Please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Guest post: Antonia Grant describes Handel House Museum’s first Museums at Night event

Here at C24 Towers we’re delighted with this year’s BBC History Magazine Guide to Museums at Night: copies of the brochure should now have arrived at all participating venues. We’re dressing up smartly to head off to the Museums at Night launch at the Cutty Sark this evening, and will report back tomorrow!

Our latest guest post is by Antonia Grant from London’s Handel House Museum, who introduces their first ever Museums at Night event.

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Handel House Museum is located just a stone’s throw from Bond Street, tucked away on Brook Street. It offers the more intrepid tourist a historic haven to relax and have an intimate glimpse into the life and home of one of the world’s greatest composers, George Frideric Handel.

The museum, part of London Small Historic Houses, is built over two floors reflecting both the private and public persona of Handel, while intriguingly, over 300 years later another iconic composer and musician moved in next door, the legendary Jimi Hendrix. You couldn’t get a more musically fantastic cocktail!

An open harpsichord in the corner of a room with pictures on the wall.

A harpsichord on display at Handel House Museum (c) Matthew Hollow

Overcoming challenges – Hallelujah!

I was very excited at the prospect of Handel House taking part in this year’s Museums at Night for the first time. I’d run a similar event last year at Edinburgh University’s Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, which proved extremely popular, attracting a diverse audience. At Handel House, again, one of the main challenges was the space and accessibility.

Our idea is to have a series of activities taking place throughout the evening, centered on this year’s theme ‘Handel by Candle!’ We’ll be running candlelit tours and harpsichord recitals for small, intimate groups as well as offering free admission for visitors from 6:30 – 10pm.

Four poster bed and visitors.

Visitors viewing the bedroom at Handel House (c) Niusia Winczewski

A unique selling point

As part of the museum’s public events programme, a Baroque music concert takes place in the historic Rehearsal and Performance room. This is the very room Handel would have used to rehearse his next operas or oratorios to an invited audience and we keep this tradition alive every week.

By offering a concert during Museums at Night we hope to share this special space with a new audience. There will be an opportunity for our younger visitors to interact with the House on the evening too, with fun family trails and activity sheets and Georgian costumes to dress up in.

Publicity tips – from Baroque to Rock star!

As the evening will be open to families and adults, we’ll use a number of ways to reach out to both these groups. We will issue a press release to local and targeted newspapers and magazines, as well as adding the event on various family-friendly and event listings sites. Not forgetting social media: Facebook and Twitter are great ways to reach our audience and link with similar organisations and people.

We’ll build interest by revealing different elements of the evening – but not too much to spoil the surprise! And so as not to forget our already loyal audience, we will let them know about the event by including it in our season brochure and monthly e-newsletter.

Children in historic costume and wigs

Young visitors dressing up at Handel House Museum (c) Niusia Winczewski

As it will be the first time we’ve participated in the Museums at Night festival, we can’t wait to find out how it goes!

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A woman in a white jumper

Antonia Grant has worked at Handel House Museum for over a year as the Learning and Events Officer. She obtained a BA Degree in History and Classical Civilisation from University College Dublin followed by a MSc in History, Theory and Display from Edinburgh University.

Antonia is interested in making the arts as accessible as possible to a wide audience, and creating innovative and exciting learning programmes and events.

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Thanks, Antonia!

If you’re reading this and you have an interesting story to tell or case study to share about planning or marketing after-hours events at your arts or heritage venue, I’d love to publish your guest posts as well. Please email rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Tips on using Twitter: making the most of your tweets

Museums at Night intern Amy Strike has been using Twitter to market various events: here she shares her experiences and recommendations.

craft fair flyer design featuring a kitten in a hat

Flyer promoting the Fairytale Fair

A week of Tweeting

This week, I find myself working on a number of projects. Museums at Night is coming on apace, and the votes are flooding in for the Connect 10 competition. Outside of my work with Museums at Night, I am currently preparing to launch some of my own artwork at The Fairytale Fair. I’m also getting ready to exhibit my work at the 13 Women exhibition, and helping to organise the marketing of the event: it’s a busy week!

Naturally, this means tweeting. One of the things I have discovered from running my own business is that this particular form of social media marketing can be incredibly valuable in reaching target audiences and keeping your business and upcoming events in the forefront of people’s minds.

It’s also a great way of attracting an audience. For example, the 13 Women exhibition involves 26 artists, and most of the marketing for the exhibition is designed to convey the feel of the exhibition through one overall theme.

However, by using Twitter, I’ve been able to give each of the artists some individual promotion, so that in the lead-up to the event the people following our news feed have multiple opportunities to read fresh tweets about new and exciting artists. Meanwhile, the artists themselves are retweeting these messages, reaching a much wider audience.

Flyer design with white writing on a black background

13 Women exhibition flyer

When in doubt, tweet the weather

Having used Twitter for some time as a marketing tool, I enjoy the way that it can be used to give an impression of an event or project, and to keep up a steady flow of information.

The best kind of tweets, I have discovered, are those that ask something of the reader. People may not answer a question, but they do tend to remember them. Especially when they are topical:

“I’ve just finished a new piece of book art about winter ghosts. Is anyone else feeling the cold as much as me?”

This particular tweet got a few responses: there’s nothing like the weather to get people talking.

Latex or pet portraits?

It also helps to target tweets to a particular audience. In my case, an artist emerging from the fetish industry and using latex as a medium would need a different style of promotion to a pet portrait artist.

It’s also important to include the Twitter names, or @handles, of people and organisations you’re talking about, along with links to further information about whatever you’re promoting. And if you have pictures to share, these are great too!

Finally, a catchy tweet speaks a thousand words. Which is not to say that it is all right to wheel out some dreadful pun from the Dark Ages – if people are groaning I take that as a bad sign – but with only 140 characters to play with it’s useful to leave readers with something that rolls off the tongue.

Connect with us!

From the @MuseumsAtNight Twitter account, we’ll be tweeting about your events every working day from now until the festival kicks off in May, and retweeting your tweets about your event plans, so keep them coming!

Happy tweeting, and remember, the Museums at Night 2013 hashtag to use is #MatN2013.

Punching above your weight online: Rosie’s article in the AMA’s Journal of Arts Marketing

I recently had an article published in the Arts Marketing Association’s Journal of Arts Marketing which I thought would be useful to share here.

Titled Punching above your weight online, it’s advice for small arts and heritage organisations with limited budgets about how best to use online communication channels.

An adorable kitten with the shadow of a lion

I like the editorial decision to illustrate the article with an adorable punching kitten who has a shadow the size of a lion. Courtesy JAM / AMA

I’d like to thank everyone who’s shared their case studies with me over the last few months – interesting examples that I cited include:

Download the Punching above your weight online article here.

Find out more about the AMA’s Journal of Arts Marketing here.

Social media in museums

I was recently invited to talk about social media platforms to Sussex museum staff and volunteers at the Arts Council England / Museum Development Service training day “Doing Digital: Using Social Media in Museums“.

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare an image-heavy presentation with lots of screenshots, so livened up these rather text-heavy slides and made the presentation more social (and Christmassy) by cracking open a Chocolate Orange and sharing segments with every audience member who called out a question, idea or case study.

An open chocolate orange

Chocolate orange segments are a great inducement to sharing and interaction! Image shared under a Creative Commons licence by Flickr user VerseVend

As always, the most interesting challenges were raised in the Q & A session afterwards!

Take a look at my slides for a whistle-stop tour through different social media channels and a few examples of how museums and galleries are using them:

This event also brought home to me the importance of local networks and learning from each others’ experiences: it’s immensely valuable to be able to compare notes about what’s working well and what you’re finding challenging with similar organisations in the same position.

My top recommendations for getting started with social media

If you’re not sure what terms like Twitter or RSS mean, I highly recommend watching the super-simple CommonCraft videos for step by step introductions to all kind of online services like Twitter and blogging: http://www.commoncraft.com/videolist

Set up free Google Alerts, and you’ll get a weekly email linking to any mentions of your museum that have been published online: this won’t send you all the press coverage you receive, but it can help track what bloggers and people using social media are saying about your organisation.

You’re not alone!

If you have any questions about how other arts and heritage venues are tackling projects, and would like the support of a great community of professionals, I recommend joining two mailing lists that both send out a daily digest of questions and answers:

1) GEM, the Group for Education in Museums
2) The MCG, the Museums Computer Group

Are there any essential social media resources or sources of support that are useful to you? Please let me know in the comments or via Twitter!

Guest post: Signe Troost on social media at Amsterdam’s N8 Museumnacht

Our former Museums at Night intern Signe Troost is part of the blogging team at Amsterdam’s Museumnacht, N8. In our latest guest post, she shares her experiences as part of the social media team during their big night: if your town or city is running a cluster of events for Museums at Night 2013, these ideas could be useful!

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One night.

50 venues.

250 events.

Museum Night Amsterdam 2012 (N8) was spectacular and magical in many ways!

NEMO, the Amsterdam Science Centre, held an event focusing on sustainability and recycling which culminated in a silent disco.

As a N8 blogger, I was asked to join the Social Media team: the whole idea was set up by our community manager, Sezayi.

The Social Media team’s mission

25 museums had Live Stream screens up during the night, showing all the #museumnacht tweets and the tweets with their own hash tag. The Social Media team made sure the stream kept on going with tweets, re-tweets and pictures.

Women dressed like 1940s pinup Bettie Page

Dressing up to the nines for Bettie Page night at the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum (c) De Fotomeisjes

All the venues were covered, because each member of the Social Media team was asked which venues he/she was planning to visit. I visited about 10 venues, which is a lot, because a very nice guy with a scooter was kind enough to drive me around the city that night!

What should you tweet?

The members of the Social Media team were asked to live-tweet from every venue we visited. Information about any queues, descriptions of the atmosphere and reviews of the events were really useful, because they helped potential visitors decide where to go next.

Dancers wearing costumes from the early nineteenth century in a historic house at night

Don’t miss this! Historic dancing in costume at the Geelvinck-Hinlopen Huis (c) Maarten Jüngen

N8 is a platform for all museums in Amsterdam, and each museum puts money, time and effort into creating its Museum Night events. As a blogger and part of the Social Media team I had to keep this in mind.

Tweets with a negative tone of voice are no use to anyone, because they can put people off the idea of going to a particular venue, and threaten the success of ongoing events there.

The solution: if a museum seems empty, or the activity doesn’t turn out to be as much fun as it sounded, you can tweet something like ‘Plenty of space here, come down to the X museum and get this party started!’ 

A man and a woman in front of multi-coloured diagonal stripes

A couple share a quiet moment at the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art (c) Roderick Nijenhuis

Useful apps

Two very useful apps for the Social Media team were Moby and Tweetdeck: our manager made sure we could all log in to these using the official N8 account.

Tweetdeck was great for posting messages to Twitter, while allowing us to keep track of what other people were writing about N8 so we could respond to them if necessary.

Two girls sticking post-it notes with writing on to an art installation shaped like a horse

Visitors add their comments to an interactive artwork at the Allard Pierson Museum (c) Maarten Nauw

Moby came in handy to shoot pictures and share them immediately – and we asked visitors to share their pictures of the night with Moby, too. All the tweets and pictures are gathered together on the N8 website – take a look, because it looks really cool!

Atmospheric descriptions

I’d never used Moby before that night and I have to admit, I didn’t really have time to figure it out. So I mostly tweeted descriptively, trying to convey the ambience of the museums I went to.  This led to some interesting discussions about the empty buildings in the Amsterdam Architecture Centre, and the magical atmosphere in the Portuguese Synagogue which was lit up by a thousand candles.

Musicians play to a large audience in a historic synagogue lit only by glowing candles

Violinists play for a hushed crowd as part of a candlelit concert at the Portuguese Synagogue (c) Coockie Manella

It was great to contribute to the endless stream of tweets and share everything that I saw, did and felt with other N8-goers.

Uniting Amsterdam’s museums

The fact that half of the participating venues had Live Streams up and running is amazing, because it means that our museums are not only embracing the possibilities of social media, but visibly experienced its benefits.

Social media provides a new way of connecting heritage venues and collections with their audiences, and, as N8 proved, it also established a bond between all the museums in Amsterdam.

A smiling woman with auburn hairSigne Troost is a Cultural Heritage graduate and blogs for Museum Night Amsterdam. She is currently doing an internship at the Art Committee of the Dutch Ministry of Finance, but hopes to be a museum director by the time she is fifty.

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Thanks, Signe!

If you’re reading this and you’ve got something to say about any aspect of audience development, after-hours event planning or marketing for arts and heritage venues, I’d love to publish your guest posts too. Drop me an email at rosie@culture24.org.uk.

Get the Museums at Night 2012 PR Toolkit!

An impressive stone castle at night

Get new visitors in through your doors for Museums at Night with our PR Toolkit. Dover Castle photo (c) English Heritage

Every year I rewrite our PR toolkit to help venues promote their Museums at Night events, and I’m delighted to share the latest version with you!

Museums at Night 2012 PR Toolkit (Word document)

Museums at Night 2012 PR Toolkit (PDF)

This document is 10 pages long and includes tips on:

Crafting a compelling event listing
Planning your press campaign
Writing a successful press release (complete with Notes to Editors)
Making the most of pictures
Photocalls
Broadcasting opportunities
Using your own website / blog
Email newsletters
Print publicity
Social media

Every year the Toolkit gets longer as I learn more both about publicity and about the needs of participating venues – I hope it’ll be a useful resource for your teams.

In Oscar-acceptance-speech style, I’d like to thank campaign manager Nick Stockman and PR guru Pandora George for their input, the volunteers of North Norfolk’s Victorian Nights festival for asking such great questions during our recent marketing training session, and the tutors at my CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing evening classes.

Finally, do you have any top tips for raising awareness of your events to share?

For example, I recently visited a hard-to find historic property. They recommended that, if you’re not allowed to stand an A-board sign on the pavement directing passers-by to your event, then why not simply chalk a few words and arrows on the pavement to lead potential visitors towards your doors?

A cheeky guerrilla marketing idea, but it worked for them … what’s worked for you?

Further tips on raising awareness from museums and galleries

This is the fifth in our series of posts highlighting how venues vying to win an artist in our Connect10 competition are raising awareness about the public vote among their local communities. If you’re involved in audience development or marketing, the ideas we’re sharing may be useful!

The three venues competing for installation artist and sculptor Susan Stockwell are Wolverhampton Art Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery.

Where will you send Susan for Museums at Night? Cast your vote here.

Elaine Lees, Communications Officer at Creativity Works reports on Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery‘s Connect10 publicity:

To drum up support we’ve taken a digital approach, mainly posting news stories on websites and using social networking and email to spread the word. Old friends and new are showing their support, and local newspapers and BBC Radio Lancashire have also encouraged people to vote.

News of our Susan Stockwell bid has appeared across the websites of Creativity Works, Artsmap, Blackburn Life, the local council Chief Executive’s blog, the council intranet, the Perspectives of Pennine Lancashire Visual Arts network and more!

Now we just need to enlist the help of the hundreds of thousands of Blackburn Rovers supporters…

Lucy Theobald, Marketing and Press Coordinator at the Fitzwilliam Museum, reports:

We’ve sent out a press release about our bid for Susan Stockwell, together with the bid of one of our partner museums: the Polar Museum are also in the running to win novelist Jon McGregor. Combining the two bids makes more of a story for local media: here’s an article that appeared in Cambridge News.

There’s a news story going out in our local paper, and we’ve also been pushing the story online through our social media channels, Twitter and Facebook.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery report:

We’ve also sent out press releases to the local media, and are raising awareness online through our own website, Twitter and Facebook.

We’ve also added a line about the competition into our email signatures, along with a link to the voting page!

Vote in Susan Stockwell’s Connect10 poll here on Culture24 – where will you send her?

The competition is open until Monday March 5th, and the winning venue will be announced on Tuesday March 6th.

More top publicity tips from arts and heritage venues attracting competition votes

This is the fourth post in our series for arts marketers highlighting what venues competing to win a top artist for Museums at Night are doing to reach out to their audiences. So far, it seems that press releases to local media combined with the use of social media and email newsletters are the most popular tactics.

The three venues competing for top taxidermist Polly Morgan are Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust in Bristol; Yorkshire Museum and Gardens, York and Liverpool’s Victoria Gallery & Museum.

Where will you send Polly for Museums at Night? Cast your vote here.

Kim Fisher, Visitor Services Assistant at the Victoria Gallery & Museum reports:

We’ve been using Twitter and Facebook heavily, and contacted our email list. We’ve also printed leaflets to put around the gallery for visitors to see.

Our Education Officer Kirsty has told her contacts at the universities, and teachers who may be interested.

Finally, all our admin staff have added a link to the vote into our email signatures!

Lee Clark, Media Co-ordinator at York Museums Trust reports:

We’ve contacted all our staff as well as our mailing list, and are also spreading the word through Twitter, Facebook and our blog.

We’re also concocting an idea for a photocall to capture the press’s attention – watch this space!
Felicia Smith, Public Engagement Manager at Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust reports:

We’ve sent out press releases and have lined up a joint interview with ss Great Britain (who are hoping to win jellymongers Bompas & Parr in Connect10) on Bristol Community Radio on Saturday. The aim is to get Bristol people voting for two amazing artists to be brought to the city, not just one!

We’ve shared our press release with our planned event partners M Shed / Bristol Museums & Gallery and WildOwl, and Bristol Natural History Forum who are our partners for the Bioblitz event happening the weekend after Museums at Night. If we win the Connect10 competition, we hope to use Arnos Vale’s wildlife to link these two free events together.

We’ve set up a webpage for competition news, and are using Twitter and Facebook: we’re really grateful that other local organisations are supporting us on their pages too.

Vote in Polly Morgan’s Connect10 poll here on Culture24 – where will you send her?

The competition is open until Monday March 5th, and the winning venue will be announced on Tuesday March 6th.