Question from Reader – Our Museum is going to close for six months. Should we keep posting on social media?
Answer- First, sorry to hear that your museum is going to close temporarily. I know this is a tough decision. The short answer is an absolute, yes! It would be best if you continue communicating with your audience for several reasons. Starting with the practical, many for-profit and nonprofit organizations are unfortunately permanently closing during the pandemic. If you stop communicating with your audience, many will think you are also permanently closing.
There is a more fundamental reason you must continue communicating with stakeholders while your doors are closed. Your museum is not your physical building. Your museum is your mission! Your museum exists and has non-profit status because people through the years thought that your work is critically important beyond commerce. Your organization provides a cultural and societal good of some kind. What inspires your stakeholders to give their time, money, and overall support is their belief in your mission’s importance.
If you stop communicating, you are not just shutting the physical doors; you are communicating that your mission is not critically important. Shutting the doors simply communicates that you are being impacted by the pandemic, a story that your audience will understand. Not continuing your mission work communicates something much deeper and more serious. If you stop communicating, you choose to no longer talk about the elements of your museum that they are emotionally connected with. The reason they are supporters in the first place.
If the mission is truly important, you will continue doing the work even if you are temporarily not opening the building’s front doors. If you stop your mission work and/or stop communicating stories about your mission work, by omission, you will communicate that the mission is not that important. Ultimately, if your museum leadership does not think the mission is critically important enough that it must continue regardless of the pandemic or other economic hurdle, stakeholders will lose interest, which ultimately reduces your support.
While you are closed, your communications strategy is more critical than ever. Being closed creates uncertainty, and the counter to uncertainty is hyper-communication. This is true for all of your stakeholder groups, volunteers, funders, advocates, etc.
If you are interested in more articles on navigating the pandemic, click http://worldclassmuseum.com/category/uncategorized/covid-19/
Article by Frank Bennett, originally published at www.WorldClassMuseum.com
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