Social Media on a Shoestring Budget


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Presentation given for Tennessee Association of Museums 2013 Conference in Franklin, TN.

Most museums are involved in social media as a part of outreach. But, in this constantly shifting field—and in museums with a small budget—how do you sustain a social media program, and how do you know if the precious staff resources you are investing in your outreach are really working? This session will investigate how "listening" and learning from one's audience on social media, coupled with a few free tools, can provide you with the right information to implement a social media strategy. Measuring your museum’s social media successes will also be discussed through the deployment of simple, free tools, such as Google Analytics and Excel.

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  • -It used to be that we had to pull out stats with museum directors and colleagues to prove that it was worth our while, but today, it is pretty much a given that since the average American spends three hours a day on social media, that museums simply have to be in that space.-Nevertheless, with everyone here doing the jobs of three people, and with small budgets, how do you sustain social media outreach at your museum, and how do you know if the return on your time and resources is worth it?
  • -Something I battle myself, but I hope to share a couple of tips and techniques I’ve picked up working in social media positions at both the Smithsonian, and at the McClung Museum.-While most of us no longer have to justify social media participation, I think a lot of us still face hurdles to understanding the purpose of, and the effort involved in social media, and the need to spend museum time on it. -So, I wanted to show this tweet I came across just a few days ago—it’s a former Smithsonian colleague talking about speaking with her director.
  • -So, what is social media?-Part of the problem is with our definition. Why is social different from marketing? Yes we promote events on Twitter and Facebook, but social media is about creating sharing, and connecting—you’ve got to create killer content, and you’ve got to focus on the relationships that you’re creating.-Good Examples: Glad to have Met you from the Met Museum and a behind the scenes tweetup at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
  • -So, in thinking about social media, there are a lot of myths that have to be addressed.-First, It’s important that we don’t give the duty solely to interns or to grad students that are passing through. It’s important to remember that just like with real life friendships, to form a meaningful community you have to spend a lot of time listening, responding, and developing those relationships. And you are getting a lot of information from these relationships. You can’t just have an intern do it for 2 months: you’ll not only lose information, you’ll lose relationships.-If we do it, we’ll automatically have people that love us and come to all of our activities. Building relationships takes lots of time.-If we have 5,000 followers, it means we’re doing awesome.
  • -Okay, let’s do a poll—how many of you have metrics or performance indicators for your social media outreach?-Do you know how your content is performing, who is sharing it and why, or what happens to it?-Don’t worry—a lot of people don’t, but I think it is important that we ask ourselves—why are we doing this, and how are we going to sustain these efforts and know that they’re working.
  • -All of this leads me to some of the keys I’ve found in social media that we’ll cover today.
  • -Before I started my job at the McClung about 6 months ago, I decided to do some research about our museum. So, of course, I started with Google and quickly started to find some patterns: ways that people were talking about us, groups of people that were talking about us, and some missed opportunities on our social media networks that would be easy to fix. For example, we weren’t listing our events on our Facebook page, and a lot of students on Twitter and Foursquare talking about our location because they went to class there, but not really interacting with the museum much.
  • -When I came to the museum, as I was tasked with social media responsibilities along with curatorial and outreach duties, I asked staff what our goals were with social media and why we were using it. The answers were familiar: people knew they should be doing it, but they weren’t sure of any exact outcomes that they wanted. They wanted to reach the “general public”, and they had no idea if their efforts were successful beyond our follower counts slowly but steadily creeping up on Twitter and Facebook.-There was a clear need to ask and answer the questions here, and to come up with goals for our social media.-You may even want to do an audit of your social media—I have examples in the resources listed at the back of the presentation
  • -But before we could figure out where we wanted to go, I wanted to understand where we were coming from, and how we were interacting, or not interacting with people already on social media, and what people were saying about us.-So, I started our process by doing some listening.
  • -Of course, this is all challenging, because there’s so much noise out there. When you’re one person working on social media for a quarter of your work time, how do you filter out the noise?
  • -The good news is, there's so much information out there about your organization to be had for free with just a little bit of work, and by using some free tools. -For a few years now, I’ve been using a system whereby I set up Google Alerts and RSS feeds of Twitter searches and feed this back into Google Reader. Note that Google Reader might be shutting down this summer, but I have a list of resources at the end, which include a list of alternatives.
  • -Here’s how I track all of the information that comes through in my RSS Reader.
  • Need to blank out names
  • Next, we’ll look at a case study using one of our desired audiences—University of TN students.
  • -In addition to finding a lot of student comments about the museum on Twitter, we were finding that they were sharing photos a lot.
  • -We decided to use Instagram.-Chances are you have specific collections and content that you create at your institution—whether you’re an art, history, science, or cultural museum. Aldo, chances are there’s something unique about your institution that you can and should take advantage of in your social media. You have you figure out who you want to reach, and your have to engage with that audience where they already exist—in other words you have to fish where the fish are.
  • -Students are sitting around anyway waiting for class, so how can we encourage sharing and engagement?
  • Insert planning diagram
  • -You never know where ideas might come from—so much of social media success is about realizing that great ideas can come from multiple people on your staff.
  • -And more pleasant, engaging with a student on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Insert image of us posting up a QR code in galleries
  • Social Media on a Shoestring Budget

    1. 1. Overcoming the Odds:Social Media on a Shoestring Budget Catherine Shteynberg @cshteynberg McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN Association of Museums 2013 #tam2013
    2. 2. What is Social Media? Nina Simon:Tools that enable people to create, share, and connect with each otherImage credit: NY Times (left); Han Nguyen (right)
    3. 3. Reality Check…
    4. 4. Social Media• My teenager can do it! It takes lots of time, care, and knowledge• It’s Instantaneous! It’s fast moving, but not fast results• It’s all about the followers, baby! Does following = caring?
    5. 5. What happens to your stuff?Image credit: NASA
    6. 6. Keys to Social Media1. Self-Examine2. Listen3. Fish where the fish are4. Plan, plan, plan5. It’s a team effort6. Respect & engage with your fans7. Measure!8. Fail Frequently, Fail Fast
    7. 7. SELF-EXAMINE• What are our goals? Who am• Why are we doing social media? I?• What social media are we using?• Does it fulfill our goals?• How much time are we spending?
    8. 8. LISTEN WHO is talking and WHAT are they saying?Flickr User: Social_Stratification
    9. 9. FILTERout theNOISE!
    10. 10. Listening ToolsTools/Methods- What to track-• Come up with Keywords • Organization Keywords• Set up Google Reader/alternative • Twitter hashtags and lists RSS reader • URLs of site, blog (on  Google Alerts Twitter, Google Alerts, Wikipedia)  Twitter Search RSS • Events, exhibitions, services, progra• Feed it all into your Reader m names• Archive & Track mentions with • Names of people in org. Bookmarking Service • Related organization blogs • Social Media blogs • Influencers on social media channels • Your evangelists
    11. 11. The Good
    12. 12. The Bad, and The Ugly
    13. 13. Why Listen?• Discover key influencers• Find new ideas• What you’re doing well/failing at• Discover your most popular mediums• To figure out which ideas are “sticky”• How can you add value to the conversation?
    14. 14. Where are our fish?
    15. 15. Fish where the fish are
    16. 16. • Instagram• Engaging with students directly on Twitter iPad iPhone
    17. 17. Plan, plan, plan• Can you get together a team?• Social Media Editorial Calendar & Meetings• Hootsuite
    18. 18. Content Strategy• Facebook: – Content: Event/activity photos, object photos, events – Audience: Moms, community members• Twitter: – Content: Anthro, Archaeo, Nat. History news; Conversations w/ audience; Press – Audience: Students, professionals, local businesses/colleagues• Instagram: – Content: behind-the-scenes and interesting/weird photos – Audience: Students, 20-30 somethings in Knoxville
    19. 19. It’s a Team Effort
    20. 20. Respect & Engage with Your Fans (andFrenemies)
    21. 21. Measure! From Goals to Measurement What do you want your audience to do?Goal:Increase engagement with UT students on SM.Measurements:• Quantitative: Avinash Kaushik: Increased Conversation (comments/post), Amplification (RTs or shares/post, Applause (Favorites or Likes/Post)• Qualitative: interesting conversations, positive sentiment, awareness of what works
    22. 22. Google Analytics Useful when trying to filter SM visitors to|bitly||blogger|bloglines|blogspot|delicious|digg|facebook|feedburner|flickr|foursquare||||instagram|linkedin|newsgator||pinterest||reddit|stumbleupon|technorati|twitter|typepad|tumblr|wordpress|youtube||hootsuite|tweetdeck|||
    23. 23. Google Analytics
    24. 24. Fail Frequently, Fail Fast• Why did it fail?• What did we learn?• What insights can we use next time around? Credit: Beth Kanter
    25. 25. Experiment
    26. 26. ResourcesReading:• Tools:• "Mission Accomplished?“ by Linda Norris • Google Keyword Tool• “Good Research Isn’t About Asking • Alternatives to Google Reader Audiences What they Want,” asking • Google Alerts audiences • Sociable, Twitter RSS Feed Creator• “Five Cool Twitter Search Tricks,” MakeUseOf • Diigo, or another bookmarking tool• “Actionable Listening,” by Beth Kanter • List of Social Media Listening, Monitoring, Measuring, and• “The Listening Primer” Social Media Management Tools, Social Media Listening Listening Wiki, by Beth Kanter Wiki, by Beth Kanter• “Best Social Media Metrics: • Twitter RSS Feed Generator Conversation, Amplification, Applause,” Avinash Kaushik • Editorial Calendar Template, via Erin BlascoTemplates: • Museum Analytics• Social Media Audit Template, The Other • True Social Metrics Media• SMART Chart, Spitfire Strategies• Creating Your Organizations Social Media Strategy Map, Beth Kanter• We Are Media, Social Media Strategy Worksheet and New Media Strategy Map based on We Are Media