Per Moz.com Facebook had reached unprecedented levels of popularity, with “1.19 billion monthly active users,” and over 750 million monthly mobile users.
These figures underscore why Facebook is such an important communication channel for arts organizations. However, organizations will have different objectives when managing their Facebook pages. I covered some general best practices in my first research update, but channel specific best practices also exist. To demonstrate how tactics might differ between organizations, I will us three museums: The Met, the Warhol, and Tate to provide specific examples.
Facebook Objectives of the three art organizations:
The Met has long been active on digital platforms, achieving remarkable success. Because of its numerous social media outlets, the museum develops different objectives for each channel. Its Facebook page, according Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan, mixes content, alternating artworks of the day with blog posts on museum happenings, and emphasizing “visual images and photography.”
As mentioned in my last post, the Warhol has purposely limited its social media outlets. Considering Facebook, Joshua Jeffery, manager of digital engagement, said his strategy was “just understanding how people interact with the collection through digital means.”
Tate Modern’s Facebook objectives are listed on the official website of Tate, along with the organization’s overall social media strategy. In short, the Tate aims to increase its followers and level of engagement, as well as drive traffic to Tate Online though its Facebook presence - and it has done so, including links to its own website in almost every post.
Best practices on Facebook:
According to Vocus, a marketing software company, Facebook is all about photos. More than 350 million of photos are uploaded on the platform daily.
All three organizations capitalize on this fact by frequently including pictures in their posts. In the Met’s case, the museum even changes its cover photos regularly, for example, when it launched its official mobile app in September. In this way the Met makes good use of Facebook’s features and promotes itself at the same time.
2. Post timing
Scheduling posts for when fans are most active during the day is an important way to increase impact and reach. For example, one study found that Facebook engagement was 32% higher on weekends. Research results on specific timing vary; therefore it is also important to figure out when a specific target audience is most active and what kind of contents they want at different time of the day, or different times of the week. Trials and analytic tools can aid with this process.
Below is a chart that summarizes specific posting times for these three art organizations, spanning the period from Oct 19, 2014 to Nov 19, 2014. The Met’s focus was the most clear, posting mostly around 9 am, 1 pm, 4 pm and 8 pm. Similarly, the Warhol posts mostly during lunchtime and in the evening. Because of different time zones, the Tate is actually posting content from late in the morning throughout the day, local time. It is curious that the Tate is also active around 4 am local time, which is 21:00 EST on the chart, suggesting that the Tate is targeting its international audience through Facebook.
Facebook is a public platform. While the art organizations are inviting their audiences to have open conversations, sometimes the comments may not be appropriate or relevant, such as advertisements. It is necessary to remove such user content or address the comments, as suggested by Moz.com.
However, these three art organizations are not practicing this particular tactic well. Advertisements of irrelevant webpages are left in the comment area on the Tate’s Facebook page, and the museum rarely responds to its commenters.
Next research update I will focus on insights and best practices on Twitter, and how these three arts organizations use this important social channel.
What tools are you using to monitor your social media? How do your statistics look when compared with other organizations? Let us know in the comments below.