Tag Archives: social media

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.

Connect10: How are London’s Ragged School Museum and the Museum of Soho competing for Terry O’Neill?

In our second article highlighting the promotional and outreach efforts of venues involved in the Connect10 competition, we look at the two London venues vying to win iconic photographer Terry O’Neill – the Museum of Soho and the Ragged School Museum.

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

 Tony Shrimplin, Chair of the Museum of Soho, reports:

As soon as we heard we were finalists in this years Museums at Night Connect10 competition our trustees and volunteers swung into action. This is our first time and it’s going to be memorable!

We initially set about using our mailing lists letting Friends of the Museum, colleagues and associates know we needed their vote and for them to forward the info to as many people as they could, hopefully creating a snowball effect.

Social media has been key in getting our events promoted, we have a Twitter page and were able to announce we were finalists pretty quickly. Facebook has also been used by our friends and families to promote our event.

We really are a community group and were able to enlist people power from burlesque dancers to window cleaners, businesses and residents who have all helped us spread the word.

We also have a unique resource in the West End in having a large, interactive, touch screen in Sherwood Street W1. The screen promotes the area by having galleries and articles showing Soho in a historic context. It’s a local amenity that residents and visitors alike are invited to submit content to. We announced the event on our screen and added a QR code directly linking smart phones to the voting site, so that passers by could take part in the public vote.

Our local newspaper The West End Extra has been notified and we expect something in this week’s edition.

I persuaded one of our trustees to dress up as a woman (not very difficult) and canvass for votes on Friday night, but alas no one batted an eye – this is Soho after all.

I however have been walking up and down Dean Street over the week-end with gorgeous burlesque girls on each arm in my fur coat. When asked about our poll position I was left stumped! But that’s another story…

This has been a great exercise for us, as we’ve never had to move so quickly and it is great to see the support we can get when needed.

Erica Davies, Director of the Ragged School Museum, reports:

To galvanise our advocates to vote for us and spread the word, we began by emailing our friends and supporters.

We’ve sent press releases out not only to our local newspapers but also to a TV programme – aiming high!

We’re using Twitter and Facebook to maintain interest in the competition and remind people about how they can vote.

A screenshot of an exchange on a Facebook page

An example of how the Ragged School Museum use their Facebook page to interact with their fans

We’re also very thankful for Twitter as it’s a great shortcut to talk with people: when we had a dramatic water leak last week (it was like a fountain) Twitter was the only place we could go to. Very soon we had loads of suggestions and recommendations for plumbers, and the problem’s been sorted out now!

Vote in Terry O’Neill’s Connect10 poll here – where will you send him?

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