I recently read “The Social Media Police: Nonprofit Edition.” In it the authors discussed how you should use social media at a nonprofit and it made me curious about how museums are using Twitter. So I did the logical thing and started researching.

The Gibbes Museum of Art, for example, does a great job of using Twitter to share announcements about exhibits, raise awareness for their events, and start conversations with groups scheduled to attend the museum (see below)…

However, for every one Gibbes-like Museum that I see using Twitter effectively, I see ten that aren’t getting the most out of the tool. It’s discouraging to see organizations missing out on the benefits because they aren’t using Twitter effectively.

Here are eleven things your museum should should do to get the most out of Twitter:

  1. Create a Twitter account. It’s amazing how many organizations still are not on Twitter.

  2. Engage your visitors. Don’t expect Twitter to be your “silver bullet” for reaching your fundraising goals. Make sure your tweets are related to your exhibits, programs, or mission rather than your fundraising campaign.  Gull Wings Children’s Museum does a good job of tweeting about their programs. Remember: Visitors can become your future members and donors if you treat them well.

  3. Be relevant. Offer messages that your audience cares about, which means you need to know your constituents and what they are interested in. If you are known for modern art, Tweeting an article about Rembrandt is not going to get their attention (or at least not positive attention).

  4. Create two way communication. Engage with your followers by asking and answering questions (i.e. what do you think of the new exhibit?).

  5. Include pictures in your tweets. According to Buffer, tweets with pictures get twice the level of engagement. Good thing you have lots of picture-worthy things at your organization!

  6. Promote your followers. Retweet your followers and favorite their tweets, especially if they are posting about your organization. If you engage with them, they will engage with you. Dia Art Foundation does this well on their account.

  7. Encourage visitors to “tweet” you during their visit. (Think about how cool it would be to answer exhibit questions for someone over social media!).

  8. Solicit Twitter followers. Encourage visitors to follow you on Twitter by posting your Twitter name in prominent places. This includes your website, your lobby, your tickets, and on promotional materials.

  9. Promote upcoming events your organization is hosting or participating in. If you’re participating in someone else’s event, make sure to tag them in your Twitter post.

  10. Make your website mobile friendlyOver 40% of tweets come from mobile devices according to Mashable.

  11. Tweet consistently. You can’t tweet once a month and expect to see a high level of engagement. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on social media to be effective, but you do need to use it daily. The Hands On Museum does a great job of using Twitter consistently.

This list is just to get you started. What other ways are you using Twitter to engage your constituents? Want me to take a look at your Twitter account? Tweet me @wryan_ki and I’ll be happy to give you feedback on how you’re using Twitter.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryan King is the Senior Channel Marketing Manager for Arts and Cultural Organizations. Ryan has over 5 years experience working with nonprofits to increase their revenues via fundraising, ticketing, and online marketing. Follow Ryan on Twitter for tips on fundraising and marketing: @wryan_ki

 

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