Social media platforms like Twitter play a critical role in creating more awareness for brands. We’ve seen how it can help drive key objectives across industries, including sports, television, news, and retail. But Twitter’s latest initiative focuses on more specific interests by shedding light on museums.
A general goal of museums is to educate the public, and Twitter has enabled these institutions to do so on a much grander scale. From March 24-30, museums across Europe will take part in the first ever #MuseumWeek on Twitter. During that week, hundreds of galleries will produce exclusive content for the platform.
MuseumWeek not only demonstrates how Twitter can be used to promote history, art, and education, but it also shows how the social network is turning its attention away from text to more visual content. As you’ll see in our examples below, several museums already rely heavily on visuals to promote their exhibits and engage followers.
A recent study from Twitter confirmed that tweets with images receive more retweets. Additionally, past updates have made visual content more prominent within the stream of tweets. As a result, Twitter accounts, and museums in particular, that integrate images into their content strategy are setting themselves up for success on the platform.
While the official MuseumWeek page is dedicated to European participants, a spokesperson for Twitter told TechCrunch that any museum can participate using the #MuseumWeek hashtag. Before you start planning your content strategy for that week, let’s take a look at a few museums that are already using Twitter’s features to their advantage.
— Tate (@Tate) April 25, 2013
Last April, the Tate Modern art museum revamped the traditional gallery tour by bringing its Twitter followers along for a tweet- and image-based tour of its Roy Lichtenstein exhibit. For 30 minutes, museum curator tweeted history and imagery related to Lichtenstein’s work using the hashtag #TateTour. The virtual tour was followed by a question-and-answer segment with one of the gallery’s curators.
The tour was such a success that the museum followed it up with another one in June 2013, this time introducing the Lowry exhibit a day before it opened to the public. As one of the most followed museums in Europe, this presented art appreciators with a unique experience — especially those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit the London-based museum.
Today in 1964: Muhammad Ali becomes world heavyweight boxing champion by defeating Sonny Liston. In our collections: pic.twitter.com/6tSIcq8Jox
— amhistorymuseum (@amhistorymuseum) February 25, 2014
With an institution as large as the Smithsonian — which houses 19 museums, a zoo, and nine research centers — managing a single social media presence can seem daunting. But the social media team behind the institution are doing an incredible job at driving awareness to each one of its individual properties.
The main @Smithsonian account shares general news about the institution, but it also acts as an aggregate for tweets from all of its museums and research centers. This makes it really easy for visitors to keep up with all of the Smithsonian-related news in one place, while making it really easy to find the individual profiles of its various properties.
Rather than highlighting the work of each museum, we’d like to call attention to the National Museum of American History (@amhistorymuseum). This particular institution encourages conversations on Twitter with signs that ask its real world visitors what it thought of certain exhibits at the museum. Additionally, the team regularly creates shareable content through its “This Day in History” series, which incorporates a link to the collection if available.
Museum of Science and Industry
— MSI Chicago (@msichicago) December 28, 2013
Here’s an example of a museum that really understands the power of an image. Not only does its Twitter profile feature out-of-this-world imagery, but @msichicago’s tweets include interesting and vibrate photos that encourage sharing. Sure, the museum could tweet a text-only fun fact about chemistry, but a neon-green graphic with a quote from Breaking Bad’s Walter White will help it stand out in streams and increase shareability.
We should also point out the MSI regularly follows up with visitors and answers customer support questions on Twitter, as well as retweets user-generated content. Any first-time or prospective visitor could see that this museum really “gets” social media and uses Twitter for connecting, not just for promotional use.
As you can see, #MuseumWeek isn’t the only way you can create more awareness for a museum on Twitter. While you’re more than welcome to take advantage of the hashtag, there are several other hashtag choices to consider. For example, @metmuseum encourages visitors to share their #MetSelfie. For more general engagement opportunities, check out other Twitter hashtags like #AskTheCurator or #MuseumSelfies.
For more information on how marketers can use Twitter, download its #mktgkickstart tool kit or visit media.twitter.com, where you’ll find resources, best practices, and success stories across various industries.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.