Tag: social media

so, is this Facebook stuff worth it?

I asked this question about Social Media in general a few weeks back.    I also noted how at the C.H. Nash Museum we do not want our newsletter, website, and Facebook to be simply different versions of the same thing.  We routinely use Facebook to interact and with our fans.  So how is that going and what are we learning?

The first thing I learned was the need to give up control.  This seems somewhat contradictory to my position as the Museum Director, but all of our staff and graduate assistants are now administrators of the Facebook page.  We routinely discuss the type of content we think will work.  I thoroughly enjoy that the posts I at first might cringe at, are in fact those that engage our fans the most.  Further, this interactivity is driving increased awareness and participation in our on-site events, such as our annual 5k run.

Second, the ability to interact with other Museums, cross promote activities, and simply share and be engaged with other folks experience is tremendous.  The page Museums on Facebook lists some 600 different institutions with fan pages.  I am a fan of a couple dozen different regional, Native American, and archaeological museum pages.  The types of posts from these museums is diverse.  Most museum web pages continue to just push product.  However, an increasing number are becoming more interactive and “social” in their approach.  For example the Newseum Facebook fan page always ends their posts with a question to engage their fans.  On the C.H. Nash Museum page, we find that questions posed are always answered by at least a couple of fans.

A recent post on Beth’s Blog discussed Facebook analytics.    Options range from the complex such as Google Analytics to not so complex analytic options.  For example, the simpler Insights link available to administrators of each individual Facebook fan page actually has a wealth of data.  There are also links with lots of Online data on Facebook fan page analytics.  A good starting point for me was a download that reports on comparative data based on Facebook Insights.  The report contains abundant detail on averages for Fan Pages, on everything from number of fans, average posts, number of comments per post – more stuff than you can shake a stick at.  This downloadable report allows you to see how your Fan Page stacks up against the norm.  For example, on the C.H. Nash Museum page, we are above the norm on the most of the various feedback measures.

However, these data still do not directly answer the question, is this Facebook stuff worth it?  If a page maintains above average rankings on all measures, does that mean it is working and is worth the time expended?  I’ll play with this more in the future.

What are your thoughts on how to measure if your energy expenditure in Facebook is worth it?

So, is this social media stuff worth it?

So, I have posted on this blog for a little bit now.  My goal from the start was to provide a venue for folks to consider means for taking Museums and/or Archaeology to the public.  So from a modest start I am seeing a respectable number of hits for each post.  However, I also know that the number of hits and comments is really not the true measure of whether a blog is meeting its intended purpose.

I have written before that I religiously follow Nina Simon’s blog at Museum 2.0.  So if my loyalty is any indication, Nina’s experience at Museum 2.0 might prove useful.  I dropped her a note and she pointed me to a couple of posts.  The first post is from about a year ago on her own Museum 2.0 blog.  The thrust of the post Nina pointed me to is not unlike another Museum 2.0 post on overrating self-expression in museums.  Simply, in the same way that the majority of folks want to go into a museum to observe and not create, the same for blogs.  She notes seven comments left from over 10,000 unique user hits.  Quite a dismal rate, if comments is what you are after!

She also pointed me to a post on Beth Kanter’s blog dealing with metrics and evaluations – How Nonprofit Organizations Can Use Social Media to Power Social Networks for Change.  The post is quite helpful with a ton of good stuff found within.

The punch line on all of this for me is that if we are going to spend the energy to move toward Social Media or even just Web 2.0 to reach out to the public in promoting Archaeology and Museums, then we should really have some way of measuring the worth – not just doing it because it seems cost-effective when postage stamps and printing continue to climb in price.

Read what Nina has to say about blog comments and what she sees that blogs are really able to do.  Beth provides a ton of resources for measuring the effectiveness of measures such as “audience growth” and “authority.”  At the C.H. Nash Museum I am quite pleased at the return on our input in social media as measured by site hits and the “word-of-mouth” authority type measures such as Google Alert and Technorati (both discussed in Beth’s post).

Is it time for you to assess your digital media efforts to date?  Take a look at posts from Nina and Beth for some ideas.

Future of Museums

One of my favorite websites to find good things to think about is at the Center for the Future of Museums.  Of most utility is the email Dispatches from the Center for Museums you can subscribe to and receive weekly updates.  

So what have they got?  Each Dispatch contains links to a dozen or so different articles or websites that stimulate thinking out how we will carry our missions into the future.  Things I read in the recent Dispatch that were relevant or “good to think” for me around issues of Public Outreach and Education included:

  • America’s Information Consumption Soars – Article in the San Francisco Chronicle – I found this interesting in demonstrating that the actual amount of information we receive today is dramatically increased with digital technologies.  How do we mesh our public outreach with the way folks are receiving this information today?  This all reminds me of a free webinar I listened to earlier this year on the AAM website that dealt with Gaming and Museums.  The basic thesis was that if we could get youth (and others) to invest the amount of time currently spent in gaming for pleasure on gaming for social good, then the sky is the limit . . . 
  •  Ten Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010 – from the website trendwatching.com – A list and discussion of trends, about half of which I found good to think about, such as:  Business as Usual – How the end of the Recession will not bring about a return to the past; Real Time Reviews – How the good and bad of what we do in our presentaiton and events is judged by the visitor and immediately spread through digital media to the world; and how digital interactions can ultimately be turned into real time interactions – certainly a goal we wish to move toward in Public Outreach efforts
  • The Use of Handheld Guides in Museums – from Learning Times – I really enjoyed this piece.  The handheld/audio tour is an issue we continue to grapple with at the C.H. Nash Museum.  We take up at what point are we pushing more interacivity on our visitors than they want?  How do we balance different visitor learning styles?

All this and more comes once a week to your in box. 

What other tools do you use to find ideas that are “good to think” about for Public Outreach?

Social Media – Facebook, enewsletters, blogs . . . oh my!

At the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa in Memphis, Tennessee, United States – we are slowly moving into digital media through our website, enewsletter and Facebook page – all with a good bit of success. Perhaps one of the best features of digital media is the viral nature of the process. For example, with our newsletter Chucalissa Anoachi – in two years we have gone from 0 to about 1500 subscribers. The newsletter is also linked in various University of Memphis regular electronic communications that are sent to thousands of additional individuals. The newsletter is linked to our website homepage and Facebook page. We print 50 or so hard copies a month just to have in the Museum. For the newsletter, the total time investment each month to write/produce, load to our website, email the link to subscribers, and maintain the address database is approximately 5 hours. Given the targeted nature of the audience, I am convinced the time and energy of the process is a good use of resources.

We are also appreciate that a website, newsletter, Facebook page, and blog should not simply consist of the same material in different formats. Each tool works toward a specific Outreach task of our Mission.

What are your experiences with Social/Digital Media?

Podcasts for Outreach via Social Media

I listen to a lot of podcasts – most often when driving or riding bike. A couple that are particularly helpful to me for public outreach and marketing are Social Good and Digital Marketers Quick and Dirty Tips for Growing Your Business with Digital Tools. Both can be downloaded form iTunes – just search on the titles.

Social Good is hosted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy and provides insights on how nonprofit groups can more effectively use social-media to spread their messages and/or raise money. Although the slant is often toward fundraising the tools are useful for any outreach effort where you are attempting to engage the public. Recent podcasts discussed topics included: How to use Facebook to attract supporters; Effective video on a small budget; Creating an internal online culture; Developing online relationships with donors; and Communicating with volunteers online. Each weekly or so podcast runs12-15 minutes.

The Digital Marketer is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips suite of podcasts that includes the award winning Grammar Girl. The Digital Marketer focus is just that – how to market, promote, and publicize your event, organization, or whatever through digital media. With over 75 weekly episodes produced to date, recent episodes discussed: Enhancing your Facebook page; The places to get blog post ideas; A bunch of podcasts on Twitter; Using Google Apps and Google Analytics; Building your personal brand online; Tips for making e-newsletters work; Leveraging your rss feeds; and Social media productivity issues. I find that about 50% of these podcasts are relevant to my own work at the C.H. Nash Museum. Each podcasts runs 6-8 minutes.

What podcasts do you find most useful?

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