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A Year of Socialising

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A summary of National Museums Scotland's work with social media over the last year and a look at our overall approach.

A summary of National Museums Scotland's work with social media over the last year and a look at our overall approach.

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  • Introduction, coveted pre-lunch slot, try to whizz through my slides. I’ve been in post at National Museums Scotland since last July – Digital Media is a new area for the organisation, so we’ve been putting in place a number of different bits and pieces over the last year.
  • Firstly some context. National Museums Scotland is the country’s national museums service – five museums across the country.
  • There are literally millions of objects in our collection and one of the challenges we have when it comes to social media, and indeed with our digital work in general, is how do you build experiences around so much diversity? Concorde doesn’t really relate to Dolly the Sheep who doesn’t connect to the Lewis Chessmen. One of the mistakes I think a lot of organisations make is thinking social media is about reaching tens of thousands of people – actually it’s often much more effective to consider how you serve niche audiences on specialist subject areas
  • The term ‘social media’ makes me a bit grumpy. It gets banded about all over the place and I think this leads to a whole load of misinterpretation and in some cases blind panic. People get hung up on the need to have a page on Facebook, or a presence on Twitter, or a bunch of videos on YouTube without necessarily considering how this adds value to their overall digital presence or benefits the organisation. Not being part of this is unlikely to make or break any museum or gallery or library.
  • That said, there are potentially huge benefits in connecting with audiences via the channels and websites that they are actually using. Facebook is ranked number 2 in the most-visited sites in the UK, there isn’t a library, gallery or museum website ranked within the top 2000. For cultural organisations it means extending their reach far beyond geographical boundaries and it gives people a real opportunity to contribute and collaborate in exciting and inventive ways.
  • Digital Media sits within the Public Programmes directorate which means our strategy is rooted in audience engagement. All of our social media work is tied to our overall digital presence and we have strong links to our Marketing, Learning and Technology teams – our objectives tie back to the organisation’s objectives, but they’re also about what the audience gets out of it.
  • We’re defining social media as any sort of two-way relationship you have with your audience, using digital channels.
  • At this point in time our objectives with social media are about sharing our content, building community and driving traffic (to our web portfolio but also to try and increase physical footfall in the museums
  • It means we use different platforms in different ways. More depth on Twitter and Flickr on following slides Learning & Teaching Scotland’s Glow network for instance allows us to hold interactive curator talks with school pupils all over Scotland, but also allows them to discuss and contribute to what we post on our Glow Group – so we’re sharing content and building community With Wikipedia we’re engaging in a very minimalist way by making sure links to our hero objects are up-to-date, which helps nudge additional traffic to our site.
  • Twitter objectives Extend the reach of our existing communications Uncorporate: informal, conversational voice to promote engagement Build a local, national and international group of followers - Edinburgh obviously has a strong and influential culture scene, but it’s also got a very active and collaborative digital community Promote events and exhibitions Publicise our news and press items Drive traffic to the National Museums Scotland website Drive traffic to other Museum web portfolio sites
  • Where are we at? Launched our presence in June 2010 , managed between Digital Media and Marketing & Communication teams Just over 1,050 followers Sending 2 to 3 outbound tweets a day Averaging 4 to 5 conversations per day – ‘listening’ for mentions of our museums and events Tracking via Google Analytics, bit.ly, Twitter Search and other tools Over 160,000 ‘opportunities to see’ significant news stories Traffic from twitter to our website has increased by over 3,500% and has contributed to 25% increase in overall web traffic year on year
  • What else have we learned? As much as we might like to think that this is all about audience outreach 50%+ of our followers come from the arts and culture sector: Business-to-business rather than business-to-consumer? Popular subject areas include: our exhibitions, economic impact report, a recent award win, launching our blog, events at the National Museum of Scotland – wide and varied pick-up Our request for Flickr volunteers was retweeted more times than any other post – social media bias? I love this quote from the author William Gibson, who coined the term cyberspace: “twitter feels like the street”. Part of the joy of twitter is its serendipity – dipping in and discovering new stuff, but that means it’s never going to be a 100% reliable business tool.
  • Flickr objectives Involve our audience: share their photos of our museum collections Content outpost for our own fantastic photography Engage with an enthusiastic international community Encourage participation around large scale events
  • Where are we at? Launched our presence in October 2009 , managed between Digital Media and Learning & Programmes teams Individual profiles for all five different museums Nearly 40,000 image views to date Photosets from all our current exhibitions as well as elements of our permanent collections Piloted ‘digital only’ initiatives: SnapScot , What’s In Your Bag? and World Cup Collection
  • Where else have we learned? Not all ideas succeed – it’s vital to test and learn from different approaches It takes time – it’s only in recent months that we’ve started to see significant increases in traffic It takes resource – we’re now working with volunteers to help moderate our groups Cute and quirky works…
  • Among the most popular photos: horse on a winch, wellies, Toffee the pig and her piglets, Bob the stuffed dog. For all the good ideas you have it’s still human interest and intrigue that drives social media
  • And finally… we need to move towards new goals and use social media to co-create experiences, exploit niche interests and truly embody participateion

A Year of Socialising A Year of Socialising Presentation Transcript

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  • Millions and millions of things…
  • Grumpy Credit: Tina Phillips / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • The world is our oyster(s) Credit: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Set clear objectives
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  • Use different platforms in different ways
  • Extend the reach of our existing communications Uncorporate: informal, conversational voice to promote engagement Build a local, national and international group of followers Promote events and exhibitions Publicise our news and press items Drive traffic to the National Museums Scotland website Drive traffic to other Museum web portfolio sites
  • Where are we at? Launched our presence in June 2010 , managed between Digital Media and Marketing & Communication teams Just over 1,050 followers Sending 2 to 3 outbound tweets a day Averaging 4 to 5 conversations per day – ‘listening’ for mentions of our museums and events Tracking via Google Analytics, bit.ly, Twitter Search and other tools Over 160,000 ‘opportunities to see’ significant news stories Traffic from twitter to our website has increased by over 3,500% and has contributed to 25% increase in overall web traffic year on year
  • What else have we learned? 50%+ of our followers come from the arts and culture sector: Business-to-business rather than business-to-consumer? Popular subject areas include: our exhibitions, economic impact report, a recent award win, launching our blog, events at the National Museum of Scotland – wide and varied pick-up Our request for Flickr volunteers was retweeted more times than any other post – social media bias? “ I was never interested in Facebook or MySpace because they feel like (shopping) malls to me. Twitter actually feels like the street. You can bump into anyone on Twitter.” William Gibson
  • Involve our audience: share their photos of our museum collections Content outpost for our own fantastic photography Engage with an enthusiastic international community Encourage participation around large scale events
  • Where are we at? Launched our presence in October 2009 , managed between Digital Media and Learning & Programmes teams Individual profiles for all five different museums Nearly 40,000 image views to date Photosets from all our current exhibitions as well as elements of our permanent collections Piloted ‘digital only’ initiatives: SnapScot , What’s In Your Bag? and World Cup Collection
  • Where else have we learned? Not all ideas succeed – it’s vital to test and learn from different approaches It takes time – it’s only in recent months that we’ve started to see significant increases in traffic It takes resource – we’re now working with volunteers to help moderate our groups Cute and quirky works…
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