Your Facebook page is not a phonebook listing. It’s not just somewhere one goes to get opening hours (although they may also do that). Pages are designed for content sharing. When I follow a museum page, it’s not because I want to simply be reminded that they exist; I am interested in what they have/do, and I want to see more.
I follow the Victoria & Albert Museum’s Facebook page because I am interested in the decorative arts. I live in Tennessee, so I can’t visit every exhibit, but I still follow because I am interested in their collections and areas of expertise. If they only posted listings of new exhibits or reminders of their opening hours, I would probably unfollow; I can seek out that information on their website next time I visit London.
Instead, they share digital content about their collections and exhibits that is valuable or interesting to their audience on its own. To promote Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery, they shared a beautiful image of one object in the exhibit along with a link to an interesting glossary of terms on the subject (see the embedded post above).
Not only has this image made me eager to see the entire exhibit, but the V&A has also accomplished the main goals of their mission, which include “to be recognised as the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, and to enrich people’s lives by promoting research, knowledge and enjoyment of the designed world to the widest possible audience.”
Next time I want to know more about medieval decorative arts (#nerdalert this will be very soon) or need a new idea for a medieval tattoo, I’ll make sure to visit their website because I now know that they have expertise in this area. I’ve also learned something I didn’t know before, and will be better equipped to appreciate medieval embroidery next time I see it (#nerdalert good luck trying to move me quickly through a gallery featuring anything medieval).
You don’t have to get people in the door to be fulfilling your mission. Conversely, a museum with mission-focused social media has a unique opportunity to take the museums outside the building and meaningfully engage their intended audiences before they ever walk in the door.