Social Media During Social Isolation

Posted By: Julia Kennedy White Papers,

Social Media During Social Isolation

As many museums shut their doors to visitors, they are looking to social media and other online outlets to maintain their connection with their audience. More than ever, people are using social media in a collective way in separated spaces - museums and cultural sites can capitalize on their trend to maintain their relationships with their communities and create new fans of their
online content.

For some museums this will be a big adjustment transferring interpretation to an online space.

Here are some things to consider if you are currently thinking of how to get started:

Leverage Your Partners:

Right now all museums have the same goal - and there is a strength in numbers. VAM members should work with other institutions to brainstorm ways to collaborate on content. Link with local partners, schools, and other organizations to offer online content that fits their audience’s needs.

Think Survival, Not Going Viral:

All organizations (and people!) are in ‘survival mode.’ While it can be tempting to capitalize on so many people tuning in almost 24/7 to social media now, it may be an unsustainable goal. It is okay to simply put up relevant information about closings and shifts in programming. Beyond that, support your staff first and foremost, use this time to prepare for the future, and share easy-to-create or evergreen content.

Supporting the Switch to Social:

Get comfortable collaborating, allocating resources, and sharing each other’s expertise. While it may be tempting to type up onsite programming, online interpretation is a different medium than getting face-to-face interaction with visitors. Your educators and curators know content the best, and your social media or marketing team know your online audience the best; working together to adapt to online mediums.

Everyone’s Favorite Thing to Talk About, Money:

This moment is going to impact fundraising streams and audiences into the future. The organizations that will succeed need to start thinking about these changes today. Think about what is best for your organization. This may not mean asking for donations right now, as many are not in a place to give. Planning for simply maintaining a relationship with the community and donors will go a long way down the road. Look for ways to monetize current and newly created content.

Webinar from Cuseum: How To Keep Your Audience Engaged, Entertained, and Inspired in the Age of Coronavirus 

A Collective hashtag many are using to share ideas on how to create a museum experience at home during the COVID19 pandemic.

● #MuseSocial
Particularly on Twitter, this hashtag is used by museum professionals to share and engage in conversation surrounding issues and inquiries into museum social media.

● @TheMuseSocial
A dedicated Twitter account that shares social media resources, discusses museum social media, and shares examples of great social media from museums around the globe.

Social Media Best Practices

What’s the point of having a social media presence?

Social Media, more than any other form of media, is getting the most attention from individuals and organizations alike. Thus, social media is a great marketing tool to invest in. The greater social media presence, the better engagement we get. It’s that simple. With social media alone you have a platform to reach millions of people all around the world and introduce them to what you have to offer. Because of this social media for nonprofits, cultural institutions, and museums is essentially digital outreach.


Any social media account needs content in order to thrive, and that content needs to provide some value to our followers, such as:
● Education
● Entertainment / Humor
● Products / What You Offer
● Behind-The-Scenes
● Just Visually Great Photos

Best Practices
● Most social media algorithms prioritize posts that include photos and videos over those with just text - whenever possible, make sure your posts include a photo or video. Consider adding tags on relevant platforms that are specific to the post, or your institution.

● Reach out to influencers in the area and ask for them to tweet about your event or retweet you, Twitter’s algorithms (and Facebook’s and Instagram’s) prioritize posts that have been engaged with - getting those first few retweets and likes can be crucial as it can snowball from there. In return, be sure to also feature visitor photos or comments in relevant social media posts.

● Be sure to also answer any questions or respond to comments on posts. This can be anything from another comment, to simply liking or ❤ on Twitter or Instagram. Even responding with a fun emoji can make an interaction seem genuine and personal. The goal is to make sure the user that gave some input or commentary gets a little recognition you saw their comment.

● Post evenly throughout the day! For Facebook the minimum is 5 posts, and a good amount of posts for Twitter and Instagram are 10-20 and 1-2 per day, respectively. Keep your audience informed and entertained by posting photos, promotions, and relevant links, but be sure to keep it within the 80/20 rule (80% content, 20% promotions or products)

● Be willing to invest with money and time for social media ads or boosted posts. Find a metric you want to invest in, and make rules on what to boost, when. For example, shares have an element of social proof, so boost to keep numbers up (ex. If a post organically has 10 shares, boost for $10). Don’t post and hope for the best. Be willing to experiment on what works for your audience on different platforms.

● Remember each social media platform has different strengths, so digital content you share isn’t one size fits all. Curate your content to fit each platform you choose to post on.


Infographic: Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

Infographic: Twitter & Museums