Let’s Get Digital

Recently, AIM travelled to Brighton to attend the  ‘Let’s Get Real’ conference produced by  Culture24. The conference was created as a platform to discuss how organisations – and the people in them – can adapt to digital change, and how using different narratives across your digital channels can transform how your organisation is seen by existing and new audiences.

There’s no denying that ‘digital’ has been one of the biggest buzzwords of the past few years, but for many museums, galleries and heritage sites, using digital tools can often feel like yet another task to contend with. Not all AIM members have the capacity, time or manpower to dedicate to digital, so we have rounded up some of the top tips from the  ‘Let’s Get Real’ conference – and added a few of our own – to help you with your digital communications. There is also an AIM Success Guide available to download called ‘Successful Social Media’ for any museum getting to grips with digital communications.


Healthy debate and good tips from the speakers at Let’s Get Real

 What’s Your Story?

The best way to view digital is as handy tool for telling your visitors your ‘story’. As Seb Chan, one of the speakers at Let’s Get real said: “It’s not about how digital we can be, but how human we can be.”

*Show the ‘behind the scenes’ processes of your museum across your digital channels to intrigue and inform potential visitors. The ‘human aspect’ of a museum is a powerful marketing tool!

*Storytelling that goes beyond your main website content will help to build new relationships with new and existing visitors – what could you put online that you haven’t already?

* Use photos in your online content to help tell your story whenever you can. For example, Research has shown that Tweets with photos get 313% more engagement

*Give your collections database a narrative – include human interest stories and fun facts to make objects come alive.

*Can you use digital bring your collections to life? A great example is the ‘Pen’ at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum  which allows visitors to explore the collections and collect their own images which they can then access from home. When launched, 64,040 pens were used in 158 days with a 94% take up and over 1,442,000 works collected.


Involve Everyone                        

*If you are due for a website update, consider using the user friendly ‘Wordpress’ platform so that all members of your team can contribute content. A good example of why this works here.

*Create ‘Photos Allowed’ signs throughout your museum with any guidelines for photography clearly stated – ask visitors to share selfies or interesting shots on your social media. A great example is from The Horniman Museum and Gardens who have created a Pinterest page for  ‘Selfies with the Walrus’

*Give your visitors explicit permission to play, make your interactive experiences social and help your visitors to remember their experience

*Invite staff, volunteers, Trustees and even visitors to contribute blog pieces – everyone will offer a different perspective on your museum.

*Be courteous – everyone likes to be thanked, so don’t be afraid of sharing tweets or thanking your Facebook followers for their comments and likes

*Reward followers – turn followers into fans by offering rewards. This could be money off coupons on Twitter for museum visits or maybe exclusive discounts in your museum shop for Facebook followers.

* Tweet Chats – these are a good way to engage with others and to attract new followers who are interested in your content. Some tips on Tweet Chats here.


The walrus is the star at The Horniman Museum and Gardens

Make Digital Work For You

* Consider using Pinterest to showcase interesting images from your museum or collections to attract new online audiences and actual visitors. You can find some inspiring museum Pinterest accounts here

*Digitise collections in a fun way – the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum created  ‘The Immersion Room’ which allows visitors to select wallpapers from the Museum’s permanent collection and see them projected on the walls from floor to ceiling.

* Give any new museum digital project time & space so you can experiment & reflect on next steps.

*Thinking of using digitised archive photos to attract audiences? Chris Wild aka The Retronaut who spoke at AIM Conference in 2012, uses the SPEED acronym to decide his content:

S – Seeable (images are the currency of the internet – makes your images stand out)

P – Positive (ensure your images benefit the viewer)

E – Easy (use images where no explanation is needed)

E – Emotive (images with emotional impact are the best)

D – Disruptive (images that disrupt people’s perceptions of museums/galleries/heritage sites and of history itself)

More info on Disruptive Marketing can be found here.

*Analytics are nothing to be scared of – make the most of your Facebook insights or website analytics to reveal your most popular content and pages – and who your followers are. Understanding your audience and what they enjoy, can help you to create and schedule content that will get noticed.

Ponty Butchers

Emotive images can bring the past to life (Photo credit: Torfaen Museum Trust – Pontypool Museum)

More Tweets from Let’s Get Real can be found on the event  Storify

Thanks to Culture24, and all the ‘Let’s Get Real’ speakers for an inspiring day!

If you are an AIM member and have any questions about your digital content, please contact: sassy@aim-museums.co.uk


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