The Internet presents a unique problem for museums. Namely, why would you pay to get into a big building where you walk around all day and can’t touch anything, when you can see all the same art on your computer for free? You don’t have to get out of bed. If you want to, you can lick the screen, and there is no security guard to tell you no.
Museums are facing a struggle – younger generations don’t always see a reason to visit, and their numbers are dropping as a result. The majority of museum-goers are older art lovers or families with small children. Millenials go elsewhere – art is on their Instagrams and Tumblr feeds.
How can museums appeal to millenials and stay relevant in the modern day? The answer is a twenty-first century classic – go digital.
Young people these days are used to interacting with the creators of their media. Twitter accounts and Reddit AMAs have made it easy to get in touch with creators, and if that creator says something wrong, the Internet backlash will begin.
The stuffy, quiet, reserved atmosphere that was once typical for a museum doesn’t appeal to today’s audiences. They’re looking for passionate curators of art who they can talk to personally.
Some museums are catering to this with a more laid-back approach to advertising. One museum in Los Angeles started a snapchat account to publicize (and poke fun at) some of their art pieces. You could call it irreverent, but it worked – they reached the audience they were looking for.
A Chance To Learn
The internet allows art lovers to learn about their favorite artists and pieces in new depth. Some museums are using an educational approach to get people interested in visiting their halls.
Park West Gallery curates a series of videos on YouTube that allow viewers to see artists explain their work and process. It’s like a “meet the artist” session that millions of people have free access to. This kind of online material is a great way for the museum to market itself and show what type of works are displayed there.
Best of all, this approach shows what museums stand for – they are a place for people to come and absorb knowledge.
Keeping Up With The Times
Although museums exist to preserve the past, that doesn’t mean they have to be stuck in it. Who knows what the next intersection of museums and digital marketing will be? A virtual museum tour? Behind the scenes peeks of “a night at the museum”? The possibilities are endless.
The key here is that museums are moving with the times and staying relevant. Reaching out and engaging their audience directly through social media is the best marketing campaign available.