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How Your Museum Can Use Social Media During COVID-19

Category: Technology
A person holding up their phone with the Instagram Explore page open on it.
Photo credit: geo uc on Unsplash.

With the current COVID-19 pandemic deeply affecting museums across the world, many museum professionals at big and small museums alike are wondering how they can still connect and communicate with their audiences, each other, and the broader population. And for many, that answer is social media.

Whether you’re a social media manager or just looking for a way to leverage the power of social media for your museum, we’ve gathered examples of how museums are using Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and other platforms in innovative ways.

We hope these examples inspire you! Let us know if you try any and be sure to share any other creative initiatives your museum is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Involve your audience in museums’ advocacy efforts!

A graphic reading "#4BillionForMuseums. Congress, we urge you to include $4 billion in economic relief for nonprofits museums." with the AAM logo underneath.

 

The Alliance is currently urging Congress to include nonprofit museums in economic relief. Not only can your museum be involved, but you can help your audience amplify their voice. Ask your audience to support your museum by writing to their elected officials using our easy-to-use template and by sharing why your museum is important to them using #4BillionForMuseums and #MuseumsAdvocacy on social media. We’ve created a few social graphics to help make sharing easier (with an option to include your museum’s logo). Download them here.

Create resources or posts that encourage audiences to learn and explore from home.

A calendar for March 2020 with a different drawing challenge for every day; for example "el dinosaurio que imaginas" for March 24.

In addition to these examples, Marilyn Hoffman of Museum Search & Reference suggests promoting things that can help bring revenue to your museum even if it’s temporarily closed, including early renewals of memberships, gift cards that can be used for later events, donations, and gift store and cafe purchases.

Proactively look for ways to form digital partnerships and join online conversations.

A tweet reading "ATTN MUSEUM FRIENDS: if your institution is closed for #COVID-19, we invite you to take over our @instagram and show off your museum to our audience. DM for details. Let's make the best of it."

Use images, video, and text to create virtual tours.

A graphic reading "Leonard Bernstein - The Power of Music. Celebrate the centennial birthday of one of the greatest composers and conductors of the 20th century. Enter virtual exhibit."

Repurpose older content or create unique content for new channels or features.

A graphic reading "Sapelo Square & Pillars Fund present A Written Testimony: Virtual Listening Party. Saturday, March 21, 9pm EDT. Join us on Facebook Live as we explore Jay Electronica's hit debut."

Open up the conversation or content to a live format, like Facebook or Youtube Live.

A tweet from Monterey Bay Aquarium reading, "Hey everyone, our next Morning MeditOcean will premiere tomorrow at 8am PST—this time, with the Open Sea! Tune in to YouTube and Facebook here:"

Host a tweetchat on a past or upcoming public programming topic.

A tweet from Erin Becker reading "A5. My 'office assistant' grumbles nonstop and has a real tendency to sleep on the job. #MuseumEdChat" with an image of a small white dog napping attached.

  • #Museumedchat is a great example of a long-running and well-attended museum field tweet chat.
  • Ohio Museum Association’s #OHMuseumChat is another great example.

Follow and contribute to hashtags to join the ongoing conversations.

A tweet from Cleveland Museum of Art reading "Today's #MuseumMomentofZen is "Mount Starr King, Yosemite" by painter Albert Bierstadt. Have a favorite nature or landscape photo, drawing, or artwork? Share it in the replies below! cma.org/art/221.1922 #MuseumFromHome"

  • Following #MuseumFromHome and #LaCulturaEnTuCasa, plus the more general #VisitFromHome, are a great way to discover curated content museums want you to see in place of visiting. Every Sunday, Seema Rao @artlust and Mar Dixon (@MarDixon) are running #MuseumGames for an interactive take on things to do, from crossword puzzles to jigsaw puzzles and more. Learn more in our blog post about how the Akron Art Museum uses these strategies.
  • For content from visitors and museum admirers more generally, @CultureThemes organized #WhyILoveMusems on March 18th and #MuseumMomentofZen captures both museums and visitor’s favorite, peaceful moments.
  • For teaching and education purposes, more generally you can follow these conversations that museums frequently take place in: #edchat #CovidCampus #edtech #LearninginPlace and #VirtualFieldTrip. For example, many of these digital project resources from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) found in those conversations also include the work of museums.
  • As Seema Rao (@artlust) has pointed out about #MuseSocial conversations, that these professionals have been tracking what nonvisitors do and how to get them engaged with museums for a while. While the work is not “business as usual” right now, it’s not completely outside the realm of the types of engagement going on in that conversation generally.

Create or join Facebook and LinkedIn groups for your favorite museums to connect with a community from a distance.

A facebook post of a plant pot, with other group members commenting with praise.

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