#PSUsocialpros: Social Media Boot Camp for Student Organizations

On December 3, my Social Media for PR class at Penn State led a crash course for student organizations to learn how to best utilize their social media accounts. We had 45 students make it out to the event, and I had a great time presenting and working hands-on with a few student organizations.

I helped lead the presentation on blogging, with tips on how to set it up, figure out what to post, and more. You can check out the presentation slides below and read our recaps here.

You can also read up on all of the sessions over at the blog I created for the event, prsocialmediapros.wordpress.com.


Art Museums on Pinterest

Pinterest can be an incredible social media tool for art museums. Creating a board is like curating an exhibit, and it can get people interested in the collection of a museum that they may have never visited before.

I’ve noticed that, for the most part, the Pinterest accounts of art museums can fall into one of two categories. Let’s give them the generic titles of “traditional” and “creative.”


Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 1.39.48 PM
The Indianapolis Museum of Art on Pinterest

The Indianapolis Museum of Art takes a more traditional route by creating boards based on artistic style or culture, with such simple categorization as “African Art” or “European Painting and Sculpture.” Using Pinterest like this can almost be a replacement for an online archive, and a more interactive one at that. Users can scroll through a museum’s collection as if they’re walking through an exhibit, re-pinning and liking along the way. But most museums already have an online archive — if people want to simply look through a museum’s collection, they’ll probably go to the website, not Pinterest. Pinterest should offer some exclusive, unique content, something other than what’s already available.


Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 1.40.57 PMThe Metropolitan Museum of Art on Pinterest

The Met takes a different route by creating boards based on a theme, allowing for boards that aren’t limited by any one particular style or culture. They highlight and connect works based on themes such as various emotions, animals, seasons, or even body parts (I’m looking at you, “The Nose”). Pinterest accounts with quirkier, interesting, topic-based boards probably get more repins or likes than the more traditional ones. Using this style can really show off a museum’s personality and humanize them to a great public.

While the traditional route definitely has its merits, I have to say that I’m a bigger fan of the “creative” style. The museum I interned with over the summer used this style, and one of my first Pinterest assignments was to walk around the museum looking for any and all artworks that had a man with a mustache and create a board titled “From Our ‘Stache.”  Linking works from different cultures and eras through a fun or quirky topic is a cool way to keep your audience interested and engaged.

#Museum Podcast Episode 1

#Museum Podcast Episode 1

In this first episode of the #Museum Podcast, I talk about the top museum Twitter accounts, using the Royal Ontario Museum as a prime example.

Do you think social media is the best way that smaller museums can really break out and bring more attention to themselves? Or is it really not all that important when compared to more traditional marketing techniques?

Leave a comment on this post or send me a tweet @kaitlynzurcher.


2013 Shorty Awards: Best Museum in Social Media

Thoughts on #AskACurator Day

On September 18, 622 museums from 37 countries participated in #AskACurator, a day-long Twitter event that sought to engage curators of art, science, and history with people interested in those topics.

Although it’s been around for a few years, this was the first year I’ve been exposed to #AskACurator Day. Being a fan of museums, it was so incredibly cool to see both diehard museum lovers and casual museum visitors have the opportunity to talk to curators. It’s a fantastic way to highlight the people who bring us the exhibits we love, as well as get some insight into how a museum runs.

From a PR standpoint, it was fascinating to see the levels of engagement museums received in just one day. Mar Dixon, the woman behind #AskACurator Day, said on her blog that 27,311 tweets were posted with the hashtag “AskACurator” on September 18, reaching 439.8 million users.

The #AskACurator movement created a web of communication lines that went beyond just curators and museum visitors. Artists, art critics and journalists, educators, and museum employees all got in on the action. As I scrolled through the #AskACurator tag that day, I was exposed to dozens of new museums and, because of the way they handled the event, I’m now following them and taking interest in what they’re doing. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I wish #AskACurator wasn’t just once a year. While it might be difficult to ask busy curators to set aside full workdays to answer questions on Twitter, it’s a fantastic way to get people interested in your museum. The big lesson here is that you shouldn’t shy away from letting other museum employees take over the Twitter account for the day and engage your audience in a fun, educational way.


via channah on http://www.sxc.hu

Museums need to be “social” on social media

I’ve noticed that a lot of museums aren’t really using social media.

Of course, they’ll all be quick to list the sites they have accounts with and use regularly: a Facebook page to post upcoming events, a Pinterest board with pictures of a new exhibit, and a Twitter account that links to news articles written about them.

But too often, museums — even major, well-respected ones — don’t go much further than that. There are no retweets from interesting followers or replies to Facebook comments. There’s hardly any audience engagement. It’s a lot of talking about themselves with little to no attempts to build a relationship with their audience.

And that’s not exactly social media, is it?


Royalty Free Stock Image | seer on sxc.hu

One-sided communication like this makes a tweet or Facebook post look like nothing more than an advertisement. People don’t use social media to be bombarded with ads; if they’re a follower, they’re most likely already sold.

A recent study from Syncapse found that the top reason people follow companies on Facebook is to show support for the brand. Assuming the same is true with museum accounts, the followers are people who already like the museum, so simply promoting basic event and exhibit information isn’t going to cut it. Basic updates need to be balanced out with attempts at audience engagement. (@Tate, an institution of art galleries in the UK, is a great example of museum marketing done right.) Museums who lack this balance need to start spending a lot more energy developing creative ways to get followers to come back for a visit.