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Tips For Creating A Good Social Media Plan (for Museums)

November 22, 2011

1 – RESEARCH

Research is key when creating a social media plan. You need to know who your audience is if you are going to communicate with them effectively. Part of this is figuring out how they use social media. For a practical way to do this, I would check out Nina Simon’s article on how museums should define and understand their social media audience.

2 – DEFINE ROLES

Once you’ve started your blog, tumblr, YouTube account, etc., you need to figure out who is going to come up with content and who is going to manage it. This can be difficult when starting out and that’s why social media specialist Emily Soares Proctor stresses the need for flexibility. She writes:

Who will regularly do the information-gathering, writing and distribution for your content? Is it you? Or maybe you have staff that can do it. Before you can determine volume and frequency, you’ll want to figure out what your business can reasonably deliver.

One thing to keep in mind: whatever schedule you set for yourself or your staff will no doubt require more time than you think, especially in the beginning. Getting started with social media content has a learning curve, so be prepared for the extra time needed to get comfortable with the process.

According to the recent 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, most business owners can maintain a very respectable social media presence in six hours a week, including research and production time.

3 – CREATE AN EDITORIAL PLAN

Content can be the most time-consuming part of social media. For organizations with limited resources, this work is spread out to a number of people, which is why your team needs to have an editorial plan. On this Jim Richardson writes:

One way to approach this is with a Social Media Editorial Plan which is used to plan out your content for the week or even the month ahead.

Jesse Ringham, Digital Communications Manager at TATE told me, ‘We have a weekly meeting which brings together people from across our press, marketing, visitor experience and digital teams to discuss what worked in the previous week, what we have coming up and to plan the week ahead. This means that you know each day what you need to do, and it gives you more time to respond to tweets or Facebook posts from the public’.

An editorial calendar doesn’t replace reactionary tweeting or Facebook posts, but acts as a backbone to your social media activity, ensuring that your audiences get fresh and interesting content even when you’re busy.

As Jesse described in the case of TATE, ideally this plan is created through a quick weekly meeting, which provides a forum for people from across your museum to make suggestions. The content should be steered by the overall goal of your social media activity and by the audiences that each network connects you with.

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