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[NOTES] Organizing the World's Museum Social Media Managers

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[NOTES] Organizing the World's Museum Social Media Managers

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NOTES for a presentation given by Lori Phillips and Ryan Dodge at Museum Computer Network in Dallas, 2014. The presentation highlights the collaboration and camaraderie that came out of the International Museum Social Media Managers Facebook group, and is offers a rationale for the value of collaborating more openly on a pan-institutional scale.

NOTES for a presentation given by Lori Phillips and Ryan Dodge at Museum Computer Network in Dallas, 2014. The presentation highlights the collaboration and camaraderie that came out of the International Museum Social Media Managers Facebook group, and is offers a rationale for the value of collaborating more openly on a pan-institutional scale.

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[NOTES] Organizing the World's Museum Social Media Managers

  1. 1. NOTES: Organizing the World’s Museum Social Media Managers Museum Computer Network 2014, Dallas Today we’re going to talk about how a little bit of community organizing can make a lot of impact. At last year’s MCN in Montreal, we had a dream. Wouldn't it be great if social media managers at museums around the world could collaborate on projects, share successes.... and failures, and have a place where we could chat, ask questions, or just complain about things that only other social media managers could understand? Rather than feel like we have to be one-­‐upping one another’s social campaigns, or, let’s be honest, getting jealous when someone else is lucky enough to get some press -­‐ -­‐why couldn’t we feel like we were in this together? We should be supporting each other across institutions. Or, here’s a crazy idea -­‐-­‐we could even share other museums’ amazing campaigns with our own institution’s audiences! Really, what’s stopping us? I personally think that sharing another museum’s success on our own museum’s social channels shows confidence and a really positive tone. So to that end, we created a Facebook group. (Because where else would you expect social media managers to organize?) We created a closed Facebook group, to help establish a secure, authentic place for museum social media managers to come together, named “International Museum Social Media Managers.” The goal is always to make members feel welcome and comfortable posting anything related to our jobs – whether it’s a question, a crazy idea, or even promoting our own campaigns. In fact, that’s encouraged. We want to know what awesome campaign you’re up to so that we can support it! Thanks to the momentum of MCN, the group got off to a great start and has grown consistently over the past year. We now are truly global. • There are currently 337 members from 14 countries. • Represented in the group are museums, science centers, and galleries of all types and sizes, as well as zoos and aquariums. To maintain the integrity of the group, we have generally kept it to true social media managers, and try our best to avoid lurkers from outside of the cultural sector. And before we go any further – if you’re a museum social media manager and are NOT yet in this group, please do join us. We can invite you if you tweet or DM us your email. • I know this sounds strange, but more often than not, people who are uber-­‐ connected feel a little isolated in their work but sometimes that’s exactly how community managers feel. Even though we’re supposed to be social, it can feel really lonely sometimes. Many in our organizations don’t really know or choose not to know what we do, although that is changing • When Lori and I met last year at this conference we talked about how great it was to meet others in our field and share our thoughts, practises and challenges. Then we said, “why does it have to end here, wouldn’t it be great if Organizing the World's Museum Social Media Managers Lori Byrd Phillips - @LoriLeeByrd Ryan Dodge - @wrdodger #museusocial #MCN2014 Google Map Why it’s good
  2. 2. we could keep the conference attitude of sharing, communication and collaboration going all year?” • We talked about how we could do that and we settled on starting the facebook group. The group immediately eased the feeling of isolation and we started to feel like we were all a part of a bigger community. The group quickly grew and when it started we just let it evolve on its own. The group is a closed group and to keep the conversations focussed we only admit people who work in a cultural institution and who work online with digital engagement. • The group quickly became a space for dialogue with people from all over the world contributing to the discussion and it was great to see the enthusiasm in those early days. After the initial introductions, the group quickly became a sounding board for tough questions, for sharing resources, ideas, best practices and FAILURES • But don’t take my word for it, I’ve sifted through the thousands of posts in the group and found 3 of the most common themes. Let’s take a look. A big topic of discussion is User generated content in museums and how to bring digital conversations and content into the physical museum. It seems that we always come back to this every few months. Many of the group members have experience in this area and many in the group do not so it is always great to see the ideas that get thrown around. Often, the conversation will inspire others to try out something new at their institutions and we’ll hear about how that played out after a few months. Strategies for convincing senior management to allow this connection of the physical and digital space are also discussed. Personally I always keep an eye on these posts and I am glad that there is always a lively discussion in the group! Another BIG topic is advertising on social. There are lots of conversations about the merits of advertising on social. With most of us working with a very small or non-­‐ existent budgets, sometimes borrowed funds from other departments, people in the group are always asking for input on the myriad of paid advertising now available to us. For many of us this is quickly becoming a new reality and there is no better place to ask questions about this than in our little group. As with the user generated content discussion, you can usually find people in the group who have tried it all and can offer invaluable insight into an aspect of our work that is quickly becoming essential to the day-­‐to-­‐day operation. Also, another very important aspect of the group, it is a safe place to our frustrations on being served Ads about ads… And the last theme I’ll touch on is new platforms. In my opinion, this third big topic is a very important one. Everyone is looking to stay relevant and reach new audiences, so these conversations about new tools and platforms as well as the tactics deployed within these new platforms are extremely valuable. It is fascinating to read all of the comments on these posts, especially when group members explain the strategy behind their choices as it relates to their communities. It is always interesting to hear why people choose to use certain platforms and not others. There was an Ello frenzy a few months ago and Snapchat also caused a stir this summer when Hyperallergic featured the trailblazing museums with accounts. Community User Generated Content in-Gallery To Advertise, or not... New Platforms
  3. 3. Something that we envisioned happening and are extremely glad to see it take off, is international collaboration between institutions. Before this group, many of us would keep an eye out for these international campaigns or tweet ups but there was always a few questions around them. Now, we have a place to ask these questions behind the scenes, before the events and we have found that it has really brought these campaigns to the next level. We’re not taking credit for the success of #AskACurator, we’re just using it as an example. ….in previous years there was no behind the scenes coordination beyond what Mar Dixon was able to do. This year saw increased activity in terms of museums and countries represented. The level of activity also jumped this year. We were all ready for it, we prepared ahead of time and you can see the results here. Many of the conversations ahead of time were about how best to attack the day and it was very interesting to see how some museums had organized themselves to capitalize on the day. But #AskACurator isn’t the only example, other international campaigns that have been given the International Museum Social Media Managers treatment include: #InstaMuseum, #MuseumSelfie, #MuseumWeek, #WorldCups, and everybody’s favorite: #MuseumCats Museums taking part: 721 / Countries: 43 47,546 tweets, tweeted by 12,952 different users. This is, an average of 3.67 tweets per user. On a personal level, we also use the group to promote our own campaigns and if there is a connection, ask the others in the group to give a shout out or a helping hand along the way. In my case, on March 19th the ROM celebrated its centennial and I was able to make my colleagues aware of this important day for the ROM and ask them to send us a happy birthday tweet. March 19th, 2014 is now a record day for the ROM on social media. The activity on social on March 19th far outweighs anything we have ever done, on that day @ROMtoronto sent 163 tweets with #ROM100, the majority were replies and thank yous. We had 608 retweets, 92 replies, 429 favourites, and gained 293 followers. That’s a 8.6% engagement rate, a pretty healthy rate in my opinion. Our #ROM100 reach was 6.685 million that day and because of all the help from my colleagues around the world we trended in Toronto and Canada for a little over 8 hours (8:50am -­‐ 6ish pm). It was a busy day. 2,579 tweets mentioned #ROM100 on our centennial. I’m sure that a centennial celebration would have been busy either way but I am grateful to this group for helping to push it over the top. I also saw incredible support from the group for a campaign I ran for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis on the 10th anniversary of our popular Dinosphere exhibit. I put a call out to the group to help us #PartyLikeADino on a single day in March by virtually gifting Dinosphere presents or greetings in whatever way would relate to their museums. We were astounded by the response. Museums created memes, photoshopped greetings, .gifs, and thoughtful “gifts” from their collections. • 30 organizations in 6 countries tweeted gifts and greetings in 4 languages. • The #PartyLikeADino hashtag received 355 mentions from nearly 200 users. #AskACurator http://blog.lamagnetica.com/2014/09/19/askacurator-through-social-network-analysis/ #AskACurator ● MUSEUMS: 721 ● COUNTRIES: 43 ● TWEETS: 47,546 ● TWEETERS: 2,952 ● AVERAGE: 3.67 tweets/user #ROM100 #ROM100 ● MUSEUMS: ● COUNTRIES: ● TWEETS: ● TWEETERS: ● AVERAGE: #PartyLikeADino
  4. 4. Collaborative social campaigns like #AskACurator and those coordinated by CultureThemes have shown that when museums work together we're a force to be reckoned with. But it's even more impressive when other museums are gracious enough to do this in celebration of a single museum. I hope that campaigns like this can inspire many more celebrations and collaborations in the future. LORI We asked others in the group to share what they felt to be valuable, unique, or surprising about our community, and here are some of the responses. • Two members shared that this group inspired them to create similar groups for their own more specific communities, including Chad at the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, which helps all of the Balboa Park museum social media managers collaborate, and Anna from the State Historical Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, who created a group for Russian museum social media managers. • There were a lot of mentions about sharing ideas, resources, and inspiring one another to think bigger. • Specifically, there’s a lot of value in having so many of us in one place, to ask a question and get answers from varying perspectives quickly. Most importantly, though, is the level of support and camaraderie that’s been established. As one member said, “This group is a constant reminder that we aren't alone out there!” So I’d say that means we’ve accomplished our goal. #PartyLikeADino ● MUSEUMS: 30 ● COUNTRIES: 6 ● LANGUAGES: 4 ● TWEETERS: 200 ● MENTIONS: 355

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