Facebook is a free and simple way for your museum to capitalize on the phenomenon of social media. It doesn’t take much time to add a quick update about what’s going on or a photo of behind-the-scenes preparation for an exhibit or event. Once you get started, you may find it difficult to limit yourself to one post a day! But overposting could lead to fans “blocking” you from their Wall Feed, and they will only see your posts if they seek them out on your page.
Here are some ideas to get you started using Facebook for your museum:
Highlight your collection. Create a weekly feature where you post an artifact or photograph from your collection. To get people talking about it, ask a question that encourages people to leave comments. You can use a Photo or Artifact of the Week to promote an upcoming program, exhibit or event.
Run contests. Ask a trivia question and ask your fans to post the correct answer. Choose a winner randomly from those who got the question right. Prizes could be as simple as a small trinket from your museum shop or as valuable as a year membership or tickets to an upcoming event.
Create virtual tours. You don’t need fancy movie cameras to create a short video highlighting your museum. Almost any digital camera on the market today can make a quality video to post on Facebook. You can film a segment of a docent’s tour, ask the curator to speak about an object or exhibit, or a demonstration of a historic craft. Interview a member about why he or she joined. Or ask a longtime resident to recall a memory of your town.
Raise money. Museums have had success with funding restoration and conservation projects by creating a Facebook page for the project itself. You can post regular updates, including how much money you have raised to date.
Promote what you do. Use the calendar feature to list everything your museum is doing this year. Invite those who “like” your page to specific events. Highlight new products in your museum shop.
Ask questions. Find out what people love the most about your museum. Gather ideas for future exhibits, programs, newsletter articles, etc. People love to share their opinions, but sometimes you have to ask them a specific question in order to get them to open up. Use the poll feature for an easy way to gather information.
Post a coupon. Encourage your virtual fans to become real visitors with an enticing coupon offer. Most museums offer $1 off, half-price admission, or buy one get one free. Maybe you would rather offer a discount in the museum shop or a free item. Choose whatever works best for your museum.