Get Your Museum Involved with the Community
It’s essential that museums are involved with their communities. It’s easy for museums to become forgotten, especially if they are not on major roads and/or have limited money for marketing. One of the most effective ways to stay relevant within is to be actively involved with your community.
Community involvement is critical for museums to stay relevant. Make a plan for participation and hold to it just as you would with any other marketing initiatives. It’s easy to have months slip by if you don’t work from a plan. Community impressions are psychologically compounding. When someone sees images related to your museum regularly as they live there life, it triggers familiarity and significantly increased top-of-mind awareness which is a necessary trigger when deciding what they will do with their activity time. Community involvement triggers goodwill, and it also puts a human face (most likely faces) on your museum. One of the biggest hurdles museums face is the perception that they are boring. In survey’s across the board, the number one answer to why a person has not attended a particular museum is ‘I don’t think I would enjoy it.’ Community involvement brings your museum to life. When people regularly interact with museum employees and supporters, it connects the museum to their lives. Additionally, being involved with common causes makes your brand appear ‘like-minded’ with people’s value systems.
Some common examples of ways museums can stay top-of-mind in their communities include:
- Participate in area events – Most communities have events every single week that your museum can be involved with including 5k runs, youth activities, service opportunities, and much more. Simply get some branded T-shirts and get involved with events. You will be surprised how many museum supporters will be willing participants.
- Speak at community organizations – Every community has groups that meet regularly such as Rotary International, Lions Club, etc. Make sure you speak at these groups regularly.
- Collaborate with other organizations – Successful examples I have seen include exhibiting an artifact from the museum at the public library or city hall building, featuring an artifact in the local newspaper regularly, or swapping items with other local museums so you can promote each other.
- Local media opportunities– Appear on local television and radio shows. Some of the most common are your local morning show and your local public radio or TV station. Some communities have local focus stations that do these types of shows all day. These appearances can usually be used on social media and have a shelf life well beyond the original broadcast.
- Let local groups meet at your museum– Getting local community groups to meet at your place is great promotion. First, their meeting promotions are free museum advertisements. Second, every time they meet, people come to the museum that otherwise would not have for these meetings.
If you brainstorm, you can come up with a long list of ways to be involved with your community. The important thing is making a plan and working the plan. You will see the results in increased visitation and involvement.
Article by Frank Bennett, www.worldclassmuseum.com