Addressing social media choices of top European museums: framework, realities, and trends

Georgios Papaioannou, UCL Qatar, Qatar, Eleni Sfyridou, Ionian University, Greece

Abstract

This paper addresses the social media presence and networking of the "top" museums in twenty-seven European countries (as per TripAdvisor) for 2019. It is part of a research that is based upon the list of the top museums in those countries as compiled by the TripAdvisor travel website company as part of the "Annual Travelers Choice Awards" for 2018. We have used content analysis to study and evaluate the museums' online presence on their chosen social media. In this paper, we offer the overall research framework on social media, museums, marketing, and policies, and we comment on social media platform choices, likes, friends, followers, and subscribers. Our more extensive research project aims to discuss museums' visibility on social media, to investigate social media in museum communication policies and strategies, and to explore the relationship between social media as means of attracting more visitors to the museums' physical space. This research is presented here for the first time.

Keywords: museums, social media, TripAdvisor, communication, 2018

Addressing social media choices of top European museums: framework, realities, and trends

by Dr. Georgios Papaioannou (UCL Qatar) & Ms. Eleni Sfyridou (independent researcher, Greece)

 

Abstract:

This paper addresses the social media presence and networking of the “top” museums in twenty-seven European countries (as per TripAdvisor) for 2019. It is part of a research that is based upon the list of the top museums in those countries as compiled by the TripAdvisor travel website company as part of the “Annual Travelers Choice Awards” for 2018. We have used content analysis to study and evaluate the museums’ online presence on their chosen social media. In this paper, we offer the overall research framework on social media, museums, marketing, and policies, and we comment on social media platform choices, likes, friends, followers, and subscribers. Our more extensive research project aims to discuss museums’ visibility on social media, to investigate social media in museum communication policies and strategies, and to explore the relationship between social media as means of attracting more visitors to the museums’ physical space. This research is presented here for the first time.

 

Keywords: social media, TripAdvisor, European museums, museum communication

 

1. Introduction

This paper addresses the social media presence and networking of the “top” museums in twenty-seven European countries (as per TripAdvisor) for 2019. We comment on social media platform choices, likes, friends, followers, and subscribers, as part of a broader research project aiming to discuss museums’ visibility on social media, to investigate social media in museum communication policies and strategies, and to explore the relation between social media as means of attracting more visitors to the museums’ physical space. Before this, and to provide the context, we offer the overall research framework on social media, museums, marketing, and policies. In terms of methodology, our research is based upon the list of the top museums as compiled by the TripAdvisor travel website company as part of the “Annual Travelers Choice Awards” for 2018. The top ten museums (as defined by the TripAdvisor) of each European country (270 museums in total) were identified based upon users’ reviews. We have used content analysis to study and evaluate the museums’ online presence on their chosen social media.

Our paper comprises the first publication from this research. It is structured into the following parts. The introduction presents the aims, objectives, and research questions of the study. A review part follows and relates to an overview and thoughts on social media, museums, marketing, and policies. We then present our methodology (content analysis), followed by the results, our preliminary conclusions, acknowledgments, and references.

 

2. The framework: social media, museums, marketing, and policies: overview and thoughts

Social media can be defined broadly as Web 2.0 applications that facilitate online communication, networking, and/or collaboration. Constantinides & Fountain (2008) highlighted the impact of social media for marketers noting that “Web 2.0 presents businesses with new challenges but also new opportunities for getting and staying in touch with their markets, learning about the needs and opinions of their customers as well as interacting with them in a direct and personalized way.” Internet-based social networking sites (SNS) have exploded in number and popularity (Patchin & Hinduja 2010; Hausmann, 2012) during the last years and have become a global phenomenon. Scientists from different fields have studied the impact that social media have had on economic, social, and personal behavior and thinking (Βoyd & Ellison, 2008).

The strategy of adoption of Web 2.0 tools in museums led Srinivasan et al. (2009) to the introduction of the term “Museum 2.0”. This term attempts to describe the use of Web 2.0 tools to create an environment in which museums improve people’s lives and strengthen diverse communities by promoting social interaction between members. Therefore, Web 2.0 and social media tools are recognized by cultural organizations as key for future interactions with their visitors (Kelly, 2010; Padilla-Meléndez & del Águila-Obra, 2013; Gerrard et al., 2017). They can replace traditional one-way communication models with more interactive ones, encouraging participatory communication between museums and their audiences (Russo et al., 2008; Kotler et al., 2008). Using the tools of Web 2.0, museums have the potential to create new learning opportunities based on engagement and involvement of members and visitors transforming their museum experience (López et al., 2010). Social media provide opportunities for more personalized and interactive forms of communication, contributing to deepening organizations’ relationships with the public (Fletcher & Lee, 2012).

In the cultural sector, the use of social media has led to a new type of consumer: the cultural participant. Social media technology allows people to easily communicate their views on cultural products and promote products more efficiently than the cultural organization itself. This enables people to create and share their artistic creations and be artists, changing the prevailing view about the artistic hierarchy (Kolb, 2013; López et al. 2010). Web 2.0 emerges into a global network where information can be recreated jointly by individuals and organizations (Kotler et al. 2008). Kidd (2011) further studied the use of social media in cultural organizations and categorized them in three organizational contexts: (1) the context of marketing to promote the image of the organization, (2) the context of inclusivity aiming at developing a real and online community, and (3) the context of collaboration, which goes beyond communication and promotes collaboration and engagement with the public.

According to Chung et al. (2014), there are three distinct marketing applications for which social media are being used by museums: (a) building awareness, (b) engaging with the community, and (c) networking. A fourth one can be (d) financial support, given the fact that the economic crisis of recent years has significantly affected cultural institutions. Due to cuts in public and private funding, cultural organizations have been forced to find alternative ways for complementary resources and tools to communicate better, effectively, and at low cost with different target groups in order to attract more visitors (Tobelem, 1997; Garibaldi, 2015). In this context, Web 2.0 and social media seem to respond to this new demand.

Unlike other marketing strategies (e.g., membership programs offering material benefits, such as discounts and free snacks), social media offer and strengthen non-material benefits (Chung et al., 2014). They are low cost, offer chances to reach new audiences, speed-deliver messages to the public, and promote engagement between the organization and its audience (Chung et al., 2014; Fletcher & Lee, 2012). Social media also present challenges, particularly in terms of transparency, responsibility, reliability, time, and privacy. They require time to be implemented effectively (Whitney, 2011), which is probably the biggest of their challenges.

Within this context, and taking into account the reconceptualization of the museum institution (i.e., from being about something to being for someone (Weil, 2002; Rentschler, 2004), we observe a shift in the approach to museum visitors and an increase in the strategic use of new forms of communication like social media (Holdgaard & Klastrup, 2014). Museums use social media to share information between communities of interest, visitors and museum professionals, to respond to issues as they become important to visitors and user-groups, and to create new knowledge and/or new digital cultural content enabling the interpretation of collections from visitors’ perspectives (Russo et al., 2008; Badell, 2015). In this setting, the use of social media transforms visitors from passive observers to active participators, content creators, and museum’s ambassadors (Holdgaard & Klastrup, 2014; Kidd, 2011; Villaespesa, 2013; Lazzeretti et al., 2015). “Participation, communication, and audience incentive will need to be considered together if social media are to provide viable and sustainable opportunities for the museum,” claimed Russo et al. (2008). Active participation is a crucial aspect of the effective use of social media and an essential strategy for museums (Whelan, 2011).

The use of social media enables museums to redesign traditional products and promote new cultural experiences involving a global network of potential visitors. This poses two significant challenges to cultural organizations: (a) how to exploit social media to build a relationship with the public in order to communicate their message, and (b) how to enable consumers to participate in the creation of a cultural product (Kolb, 2013). These challenges add to the need for a deeper understanding of how cultural organizations use digital resources (Marty, 2008), attracting audiences and producing/sharing content (Courtin et al., 2014). Communication and dissemination via social media can lead to more visitors via targeted and well-planned activities and services on their needs and desires (Tasich & Villaespesa, 2013). Social media policies and strategies need to abide by the specific goals, brands, values, image, and mission of each museum, and contribute towards strong and recognizable online identities and engaged online communities willing to collaborate and participate. Museums can use social media strategically to reap the benefits (DiStaso & McCorkindale, 2013), taking into account risks and benefits in communicating online, offering more than a one-way communication channel (Aula, 2011) and prioritizing ethics, including digital ethics.

Towards effective social media policies in museums, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) has recently introduced some guidelines known as the “three Rs,”: respectful, relevant, and responsible (ICOM, 2019). Respectful: no offensive language should be used, and discussions must be carried out respectfully. Relevant: organizations should refrain from sharing content that is not related to cultural heritage, and all users should keep the conversation relevant to the community and contribute to the dialogue. Responsible: organizations should support policies that advance the protection and promotion of cultural and natural heritage. As non-governmental organizations, they should not endorse politics. Following these and other guidelines, museums can establish and maintain a successful social media presence. Guidelines must be consistent with strategic goals and critical messages each organization wants to communicate, supporting the organization’s presence on social media, and encouraging the development of relationships with potential audiences.

 

3. Research methodology: a few words on content analysis

Within its about 60 years of age, content analysis received various definitions (Berelson,1952; Holsti, 1969; Krippendorf, 1989; Bryman, 2012). We followed Neuendorf’s (2012) definition, according to which content analysis is “a summarizing, quantitative analysis of messages that relies on the scientific method (including attention to objectivity, intersubjectivity, a priori design, reliability, validity, generalizability, replicability, and hypothesis testing) and is not limited as to the types of variables that may be measured or the context in which the messages are created or presented.” Researchers have used content analysis to analyze large amounts of data and provide aggregate accounts of inferences, thus revealing trends, patterns, and differences no longer evident to the untrained individual (Krippendorff, 1989). Anything that occurs in sufficient numbers and has reasonably stable meanings for a specific group of people may be subjected to content analysis (Krippendorff, 1989). Content analyses commonly contain six steps: design, unitizing, sampling, coding, drawing inferences, and validation (Krippendorff, 1989; Neuendorf, 2012). Advantages include transparency, flexibility, and non-reactivity. Limitations relate to content characteristics (authenticity, credibility, and representativeness, or not – Scott, 1990), the researchers’ codes and decisions, descriptiveness (“what” rather than “why”), emphasis on measuring rather that significance or importance.

4. Preliminary results

For this study, we used the list of the top museums in 27 European countries as defined and compiled by the TripAdvisor travel website company as part of the “Annual Travelers Choice Awards” for 2018. The top ten museums for each country were identified based upon users’ reviews. This was a total of 270 museums. The list was created by TripAdvisor after analyzing thousands of online reviews and focused on locations that consistently delivered great results to travelers.

The research was designed in 2017 and was conducted throughout 2019 by visiting the social media accounts of these museums and by observing the flow of posts and open content. We present here our first results supported by specific tables and figures.

Two notes before proceeding to results and discussion: (1) we followed “European countries” as appearing on TripAdvisor’s “Annual Travelers Choice Awards.” These countries were the following countries in alphabetical order: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechia (Czech Republic), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland*, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway*, Poland, Portugal, Russia*, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland*, Turkey*, and the U.K. Note that the ones with the asterisks do not belong to the European Union, while the U.K. has been into the process of leaving the European Union. On the other hand, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia belong to the European Union, but they are not part of the list. (2) Museums in the TripAdvisor’s “Annual Travelers Choice Awards” refer to buildings and are of different content: archaeological, ethnographical, historical, science, natural history, art and art collections/galleries, palaces, thematic museums, other.

 

4.1 Social media presence in top museums in the 270 museums of this research: an overview

Museums communicate with their social media audience using mostly text messages and photos, accompanied by hashtags and/or hyperlinks. They rarely use videos in their posts, unless video oriented (e.g., YouTube). Messages are short (between 100-250 characters), as this practice is supposed to have a higher audience response (Grøn et al., 2013). Most messages contain photographic material, which again is supposed to increase engagement with the public (Guerra & Pansters, 2014). The majority of the photo-related posts display the museum building(s), its spaces and its exhibits, followed by posts on exhibitions, venues, and events.

Museums’ primary purpose for using social media is within the scheme of one-way communication, i.e., to inform the public about their activities, to promote their exhibits, and to advertise their events. A parallel goal is to be used as a marketing channel towards building stronger relationships with existing friends and followers, as well as to attract new visitors. Larger museums (such as the British Museum or the Louvre Museum), with thousands (if not millions) of objects in their collections that cannot be displayed in the museum’s physical space, choose to present them with frequent posts, mostly on Instagram.

In terms of interaction with friends and followers, this seems to be limited to comments on posts, shares, and retweets. Some museums, including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert and the National Gallery (all in London, U.K.) tend to offer posts and refer their audience to their online museum shop store. Other museums, such as the Irish Whiskey Museum, organize competitions in social media, aiming at more active/interactive public participation. This is a good practice, especially for small cultural organizations. It is also worth noting the Louvre Museum’s practice of publishing photographs of museum users themselves, encouraging public engagement.

Some museums use emojis and hashtags to accompany their posts. Their use can make the message more appealing to the public and encourage more interaction. Hashtags also contribute to promote an event or campaign. To the same direction, posts can include hyperlinks to connect social networking to museums’ websites and web content.

The 270 museums of this research use a total of 16 social media platforms, including blogs and RSS feeds (see Figure 1). We note that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube prevail. Facebook is the most common (84%, 226 out of 270 museums), followed by Instagram (60%), Twitter (49%), and YouTube (46%). Pinterest holds a 10% presence, while LinkedIn (5%), Flickr (3%), and vk (3%) have a less frequent and less intense presence, similar to blogs and RSS feeds, respectively.

Figure 1: Social media in the 270 museums of this research
Figure 1: Social media in the 270 museums of this research

 

4.2 Social media presence in top museums by country

Large museums support their overall marketing strategy with social media in order to enhance their brand image as well as to build and maintain an active online community. They usually maintain and manage accounts in the four most popular social media, i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. In contrast, smaller cultural organizations tend to maintain Facebook profiles, and they have an active account on one or two more social media, mainly Instagram and/or Twitter. In the following table (Table 1), we can see the percentages of social media presence in museums of every country in this research, based upon the four most frequently used social media. In the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Russia (countries in bold), we observe that most museums in the four countries in bold have all four of the main social media. This indicates an investment in social media towards museums’ aims, objectives, strategy, and day-to-day operations.

An interesting observation relates to the language of posts. Most of the posts that museums upload are in the native language of the country, which in certain cases limits posts’ appeal to the native speakers and to those who can read this language. Examples include the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1977-Zonnebeke (posts in Flemish), the Cold War Stevnsfort Museum (posts in Danish), and the Kiek in de Kok and Bastion Passages Museum (posts in Estonian). It is worth noting that the Louvre Museum has chosen to offer its posts in both French and English, in order to reach their international audience. Whether or not this is a best practice, it is up to the museum’s strategies to define.

 

Country

Facebook Twitter Instagram

YouTube

AUSTRIA

100 % 30 % 70 % 70 %

BELGIUM

70 % 50 % 60 %

40 %

CROATIA

80 % 50 % 20 % 30 %
CZECH REPUBLIC 90 % 40 % 60 %

40 %

DENMARK 100 % 50 % 90 % 40 %
ESTONIA 90 % 20 % 50 % 30 %
FINLAND 70 % 60 % 70 % 50 %
FRANCE 70 % 50 % 60 % 40 %
GERMANY 70 % 60 % 70 % 70 %
GREECE 80 % 20 % 30 % 30 %
HUNGARY 90 % 30 % 70 % 50 %
ICELAND 80 % 20 % 40 % 30 %
IRELAND 100 % 100 % 70 % 70 %
ITALY 60 % 60 % 70 % 80 %
LATVIA 90 % 80 % 50 % 40 %
LITHUANIA 50 % 10 % 20 % 10 %
MALTA 90 % 20 % 20 % 30 %
NETHERLANDS 100 % 60 % 80 % 50 %
NORWAY 100 % 80 % 90 % 20 %
POLAND 100 % 40 % 60 % 60 %
PORTUGAL 80 % 10 % 20 % 20 %
RUSSIA 90 % 70 % 80 % 60 %
SPAIN 90 % 90 % 90 % 70 %
SWEDEN 90 % 30 % 70 % 40 %
SWITZERLAND 90 % 60 % 90 % 50 %
TURKEY 70 % 60 % 70 % 30 %
U.K. 80 % 80 % 90 %

90 %

Table 1: Percentages of social media presence in museums of every country in this research

 

4.3 Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: comments on friends and followers

The numbers of likes and friends on Facebook, and the numbers of followers on Instagram and Twitter, are indications of engagement with the museum’s post and social media presence. In our research, we have observed that the numbers of friends and followers tend to be proportional to the museum’s world brand. Museums with a recognizable identity worldwide have a comparatively higher number of followers than smaller cultural organizations. Also, the number of friends and followers is proportional to the frequency and quality of content posting. The more regular and content-rich the posts are, the higher the number of friends and followers. In some instances, the numbers of likes, friends, and followers reach millions, as in the case of the top four museums in tables 2 (Facebook) and 3 (Instagram), and the top seven museums in table 4 (Twitter). In terms of numbers of others being followed by museums on Instagram and Twitter, these are significantly lower than the number of followers (tables 3 and 4).

Museum on Facebook Friends  Museum on Facebook Likes
Louvre Museum (France) 2.486.456 Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands) 2.442.056
Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands) 2.467.497 Louvre Museum (France) 2.245.876
The British Museum (UK) 1.540.075 The British Museum (UK) 1.531.766
Prado National Museum  (Spain) 1.004.211 Prado National Museum (Spain) 1.002.700
National gallery (UK) 974.793 National gallery (UK) 965.440
Aros Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Denmark) 867777 Musee d’Orsay (France) 831209
Musee d’Orsay (France) 837234 CERN (Switzerland) 698.935
CERN (Switzerland) 709.697 Victoria and Albert (UK) 674.016
Victoria and Albert (UK) 692.066 Natural History Museum (UK) 502.280
Mercedes-Benz Museum (Germany) 626100 Acropolis Museum (Greece) 407.435

Table 2: Top ten museums on Facebook by number of friends and by number of likes

Museum

on Instagram

Followers Museum on Instagram Following
Louvre Museum (France) 3.245.000 Mercedes-Benz Museum (Germany) 3535
The British museum (U.K.) 1.453.678 Fondation de l’ Hermitage (Russia) 1919
Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands) 1.423.678 Natural History Museum (UK) 1740
National gallery (U.K) 1.345.762 EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum (Ireland) 1679
Victoria and Albert (U.K.) 1.245.625 For Freedom Museum – Knokke-Heist (Belgium) 1649
Mercedes-Benz Museum (Germany) 972.678 National Museum of Scotland (UK) 1593
Musee d’Orsay (France) 731.543 Troldhaugen Edvard Grieg Museum (Norway) 1478
Prado National Museum (Spain) 531.765 Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza (Spain) 1469
Natural History Museum (London, U.K.) 509.452 Einar Jonsson Museum (Iceland) 1376
CERN (Switzerland) 485.761 National Museum of Iceland (Iceland)

1236

Table 3: Top ten museums on Instagram by number of followers and by number of following others

Museum on Twitter Followers Museum on Twitter Following
CERN (Switzerland)                            2.568.846 The British Museum (UK)  49.033
Natural History Museum (UK)                            2.341.735 Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (UK)  13.075
The British Museum (UK)                            2.025.493 Mercedes-Benz Museum (Germany)  10.100
Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands)                            1.650.025 National Museum – National Gallery (Norway)  4.883
Louvre Museum (France)                            1.478.410 National Museum of Scotland (UK)  4.568
Victoria and Albert (UK)                            1.371.245 Staedel Museum (Germany)  4.456
Prado National Museum (Spain)                            1.253.976 Glasnevin Cemetery Museum (Ireland)  4.286
National Gallery (UK)                                884.981 Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (Spain)  3.724
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Spain)                                764.526 The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel (UK)  3.199
Musee d’Orsay (France)                                704.839 National Gallery (UK)  3.119

Table 4: Top ten museums on Twitter by number of followers and by number of following others

 

4.4 Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: comments on the frequency of posts

The following figure (Figure 2) offers the frequencies of posts per social media presence in the museums of the 27 countries of this research. We observe that, in most museums, Facebook posts tend to appear several times a week (intensive), Instagram posts tend to appear once a week (intermediate) and Twitter tweets every month (low).

 

Figure 2: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: comments on the frequency of posts
Figure 2: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: comments on the frequency of posts

Facebook and Instagram seem to prevail in frequencies of posts. Most museums (about 90%) post something on their Facebook accounts at least once a week, while the two thirds (about 63%) have multiple Facebook posts per week. On Instagram, we observe a similar picture. The majority of museums (about 87%) reach their social media Instagram audience via a post at least once a week, while more than half (about 58%) upload multiple posts per week. More than a quarter (about 26%) reach their Instagram followers daily.

On Twitter, the numbers are slightly lower, with 67% offering at least a tweet every week, less than half (about 45%) uploading multiple tweets every week and 30% tweeting daily (including retweets), a percentage relating mostly to large museums which have multiple posts daily. It seems that Twitter is seen as supplementary to Facebook and Instagram. Many tweets are very similar to Facebook posts.

 

4.5 YouTube

YouTube is a social media platform of different characteristics. Postings on museums’ YouTube channels mostly relate to videos of significant events. Large museums feed their YouTube channel with videos of lectures, performances and events, providing valuable material to users and making museum’s work and contributions known. A quality video for an event is a best practice as it is an effective way of advertising the organization’s work (Stevenson, 2011), a way to attract donors and sponsors, and a means to exhibit, promote and reward the work of staff and volunteers.

Subscribers’ numbers are similar to numbers of friends/followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but uploads are few, except for very few museums that host more than 100 videos (table 5). New posts and updates on the YouTube channels of museums are not done regularly. An interesting statistic is the year when a museum opened its YouTube account (Figure 3). This piece of information is mentioned in 104 museum cases on their YouTube account, 69 of which (more than two thirds) open their YouTube account in the early 2010s.

 

Museum on YouTube Subscribers Museum on YouTube Uploaded videos
Staedel Museum (Germany) 2.568.846 Prado National Museum (Spain) 1167
Galleria Borghese (Italy) 2.341.735 Estonian National Museum (Esthonia) 440
Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Italy) 2.025.493 Museo Arqueologico Nacional (Spain) 189
Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister  (Germany) 1.650.025 Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour (Esthonia) 145
Green Vault (Germany) 1.478.410 Galleria Borghese (Italy) 145
The British Museum (UK) 1.371.245 Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli (Italy) 98
Victoria and Albert (UK) 1.253.976 Victoria and Albert (UK) 98
CERN (Switzerland) 884.981 Musee d’Orsay (France) 89
Kunstmuseum Basel (Switzerland) 764.526 State Tretyakov Gallery (Russia) 85
Natural History Museum (UK) 704.839 Louvre Museum (France) 79

Table 5: Top ten museums on YouTube by number of subscribers and by number of uploaded videos

 

Figure 3: Museums on YouTube per year of opening a YouTube account

Figure 3: Museums on YouTube per year of opening a YouTube account

5. Preliminary conclusions and suggestions:

Museums choose social media platforms and produce relevant policies based on specific goals, mission, aims, objectives, strategies, and marketing decisions. We addressed the social media presence and networking of the “top” museums in twenty-seven European countries (as per TripAdvisor) for 2019, commenting on social media platform choices, likes, friends, followers, and subscribers. This is part of a broader research project aiming to discuss museums’ visibility on social media, to investigate social media in museum communication policies and strategies, and to explore the relationship between social media as means of attracting more visitors to the museums’ physical space. We have used content analysis to study and evaluate the museums’ online presence on their chosen social media. Our preliminary results have indicated a strong preference on four social media platforms across the countries under study: Facebook is the preferable choice, followed by Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Frequencies of posts, likes, friends, and followers relate to the perceived importance of a museum worldwide, and they can reach up to two and a half million in number. One-way communication prevails, as uploads relate to text and photos (and YouTube videos) of advertising and informative character. Facebook posts tend to appear several times a week (intensive), Instagram posts tend to appear once a week (intermediate) and Twitter tweets on a monthly basis (low).

Recommendations based upon preliminary results relate to museums adapting their social media strategies by following best practices observed. These may include producing and uploading quality videos of events, exhibitions and other museum work, using of emojis, hashtags and links within the posts, uploading comments not only in the native language (if reaching international audiences is a strategic aim), and engaging visitors via online interactive activities, such as games and competitions. Uploading visitors-related photos and material (with respect to ethical issues and after obtaining full consent) is also a good and engaging practice. The research is ongoing.

 

6. Acknowledgments:

The presentation of this paper at the MuseWeb 2020 Conference was possible thanks to research funding by the University College London in Qatar. We also thank the reviewers for their constructive comments, and we clarify that the authors are fully responsible for all content of this paper, including any remaining errors and omissions.

 

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Cite as:
Papaioannou, Georgios and Sfyridou, Eleni. "Addressing social media choices of top European museums: framework, realities, and trends." MW20: MW 2020. Published January 15, 2020. Consulted .
https://mw20.museweb.net/paper/social-media-choices-of-top-european-museums-content-analysis-addressing-realities-and-trends-towards-multi-way-museum-communication-schemes/