The Problem: LIM’s visitor demographics are based primarily on an older audience. (They love our “Senior Tuesdays!”) Programs geared towards younger generations, such as Millennials, have failed to bring in our targeted audience. Free events, “trendy” inspired events, music events, etc. have done little to boost attendance by the younger students that surround our grounds (LIM is right by Stony Brook University). Through the use of an online web project/component paired with the upcoming William Sidney Mount exhibition, staff hope to successfully engage Millennials in a way they have not been able to do so so far.
The Big Idea: Utilizing a redesigned website and a social media campaign to accompany the upcoming Mount and music exhibition that will engage a younger target audience in both the digital and physical realms.
Proposed Project: This project will be twofold. One method LIM staff plan to reach this elusive target audience is to incorporate a redesigned website that is interactive, engaging, and full of content; this will be done over the next several months as a long-term aspect to the project. The second, more immediate component to this project will engage Millennials in a social media campaign to accompany the opening of the next exhibition, Perfect Harmony. The museum hopes to use these two components to entice young millennials to both LIM’s online platform and through it’s physical doors.
The web component will also serve to enrich our rather lack-luster website and jump-start our campaign to become a stronger online voice for the museum world. The plan is to enrich the web component with engaging and fruitful content that inspires the visitor to come see the physical exhibition to learn more. We can provide further content on the website that is not featured in the physical space and vice versa.
While cultivating the website is a much needed, long-term goal (that can not be fixed overnight), we need to prioritize how to draw our target audience through our doors sooner. To further entice young Millennials to our online platforms and the exhibition, staff will implement a “social media” campaign inspired by the themes and objects found in Perfect Harmony. Music plays a huge role in many millennials lives. From listening to music daily to playing an instrument to going to concerts, millennials are surrounded by music. Long Island and New York City venues host hundreds of concerts every year. Engaging millennials through music on social platforms is a way to connect with them through something they love.
LIM is located half a mile from Stony Brook University; SBU is a large-scaled college with a diverse student population. Many of the students live in proximity to the campus and therefore are close to the museum. SBU has a radio show run by students and also host their own share of musical events. The museum plans to collaborate with the university’s students who participate in the radio/music events; are engaged the marketing program; and/or show an interest in having a relationship with LIM on this social campaign. This collaboration will help allow the local millennials to have a voice within the institution and drive-up the interest in this young audience for the museum.
With the collaboration of the university’s students and their input, we propose LIM hold a music submission social media event that will be day long (Instagram being the most viable platform). While setting an actual music submission is setting the bar high, we plan to utilize photography with music to engage our audience. Submissions will be centered around the idea of “music inspired me…” – meaning participants are invited to listen to music and then take photographs to show what it inspired them to do or see. They will also be invited to submit music recordings as well, but not required. Participants will be asked to use the hashtags #musicinspiredme and #perfectharmonylim to submit their photographs. An incentive will be given to those users who participate – free admission to an event for them and a guest – to further entice them to the museum grounds. Promotion can be done on both the museum’s online outlets, Stony Brook University’s radio station, and on both the museum and the universities grounds.
- See a boost in visitation numbers in general for the upcoming exhibition and accompanying programs
- See a greater increase in “millennials” attending museum programs and experiencing the upcoming exhibition
- Give the museum a greater online presence and reach a more widespread audience
- Learn to utilize the web for similar “projects” to further boost overall visitor experience
- Build a more engaging website and enrich our social media
- Increase social media activity by followers (i.e. likes, comments, shares, etc. on LIM’s platforms)
- Build a strong collaboration with Stony Brook students for future projects/endeavors
- Implement at least three successful social media campaigns a year to engage online audience
Target Audience: The target audience for this project is the “Millennial” generation, ages 18-32. An audience that has been reluctant to visit our museum and participate in our programs, but is sorely needed to breathe life into our institution’s future. Because the age range is so great for millennials, LIM will focus on engaging the “second wave” of Millennials, those of the younger age range, 18-26.
Stakeholders: Stakeholders to this project would include members of the Curatorial, Education, and Marketing/PR staff. Curatorial/Education would provide content for the website enhancements as well as the musical content for the social media campaign with team members managing the day of the event (i.e. commenting, sharing, monitoring posts, etc.) Marketing/PR would be in charge of promotion and dealing with the website designer for the long-term goal. The Director will promote this project as a way to entice new networking connections/sponsorships/donors because it shows the museum plans to evolve with the needs of society. For that matter, the Board and outside funding sources may also be interested in the project for the potential and longevity it will bring for the museum with a new audience influx. Everyone who has a stake in LIM will want to see it grow and flourish as society grows and changes. Many would support a greater use of technology and relevancy. The students at SBU would also have a stake to see their efforts rewarded, perhaps a credit or internship incentive can be provided to draw their engagement and help.
Constraints: The number one constraint to this project is funding. With money, anything is possible, but as many museums are currently still recovering from the recession (LIM being one of them), money is extremely tight. Graphic and web design is not cheap, especially if you want it done right! Applying for grants and funding may be one way to solve this as well as doing a great deal of the work in -house. Another constraint will be staff involvement. As a smaller museum, LIM staff members have a lot on their plate. Throwing in a huge web and social media project, that they have never done before, is sure to eat them up making it difficult for other tasks to be done. But, again, more staff hours means more money. We also need to enlist a new web design company because the one who created our current website left it wanting. Again, more money! Having the time to engage with the students is also a constraint that will take away staff from their everyday tasks.
- Number of times the hashtag is used
- During social media campaign the hashtag is used 25-50 times
- Number of photograph/video submissions on social media platforms
- During the social media campaign, 25-50 submissions are posted by participants
- Increase in Millennial visitor demographics to the physical space
- 5% increase in Millennials visiting the campus
- Increase in social media activity (i.e. more followers, shares, likes, etc.)
- Instagram – Increase to 500 followers from 250
- Posts on Instagram average 5-10 comments, targeting increase to 15-20 comments
- Posts on Instagram average 20-40 likes, targeting increase to 50-60 likes
- Facebook – Increase to 5,000 followers from 2,000
- Facebook currently receives on average less than 10 comments a post, target increase to 10-20 comments a post.
- Twitter – Increase re-tweets and likes by 10%
- Instagram – Increase to 500 followers from 250
- Increase in visitor numbers regardless of age
- 10% increase in visitors