Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to work with a range of arts and cultural organisations on developing their digital strategy or online action plan. What has struck me about this work is that many arts and cultural organisations feel completely overwhelmed by the digital opportunity – and equally overwhelemed by the capacity implications of trying to maintain and be active on several social media channels.

We;’ve also all seen the outstanding successes some organisations have enjoyed – this lockdown it was the turn of Black Country Living Museum‘s Tiktok channel to go viral – pushing the organisation into the limelight online and in the local and national press. Before that, in 2018, MERL had similar impact on Twitter with its legendary Absolute Unit tweets. Now available as TShirts in their Museum shop.

Advertising shot for MERL’s Abolsute Unit TShirts – why not treat yourself!

For all the projects I have worked with, the key to navigating Social Media is being able to focus on what matters to your organisation – particularly identifying your target audiences, knowing what matters to them and understanding what channels they use. And none of this is unique to social media, it’s the same set of questions as we ask when developing any marketing strategy. Somehow digital throws us off track – we end up trying to do everything for everybody, and using every possible resource or opportunity to do so.

The potential of social media is huge, and no one wants to to be late to the party, but we all have limited time and resources and we know how to use them to be effective. Know what you want to say, know who you are talking to and tailor your messages to them.

The other key for arts and cultural orgabisaitons is to remember and focus on the social aspect of social media. All the social channels provide opportunities to get to know and talk to people in our audience individually. Social media strategies need to build in time within the team to respond, interact and endorse our followers, partners and stakeholders, building a following and profile through honest and interested engagement with the people we are connecting with.

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