Audience and Community Engagement For Museums
As we know, museums provide a vital duty to the human race, especially so for the communities of people they belong to. Aside from the importance of learning more about the world around us, learning is something we crave in general. The best way to help people learn is by meeting them where they’re at and it’s essential to make sure you have a deeper understanding of your audience engagement. We will go over what audience engagement really means and how to develop a successful community engagement strategy.
What is Audience Engagement?
Audience engagement in a basic sense refers to your relationship with your audience, how your museum is perceived, and how you view your organization. The purpose of learning more about audience engagement is to know more about where you stand in your community and assess where there’s a need for improvement. You can learn how to enhance your internal programs for existing members to increase the longevity of memberships and how to improve outreach for new members and visitors. Finances are a tough subject when it comes to nonprofit support, so analyzing your audience is a great way to find new venues for keeping your current and future supporters happy.
What Makes a Successful Community Engagement Strategy?
You already know how to engage with your community. Anytime someone becomes a member or goes to your museum, they’re engaging with you. It can be difficult to parse how to turn that into success, however. Here are some tips on how to make a successful community engagement strategy.
- Defining community engagement goals.
Think about what your organization’s engagement goals look like. Be specific about things like the number of new members you want to bring on or your retention rate goals.
- Identifying target audiences to engage.
Have you noticed a downtick in your memberships recently? Maybe you’d like to create a more welcoming environment for locals, tourists, or specific demographics. Consider who benefits from your museum the most and whose membership you benefit from.
- Creating an outreach strategy for your audience.
Marketing to your target audience is the next step. Things like discounts for locals on museum entry and memberships, event promotions, targeted advertising, and other forms of marketing rely on your strongly defined target audience.
- Build trust and transparency through communication.
Community engagement goes both ways, it’s important to talk about things like your monthly budget and where your money is going. If you have any accessibility issues, they should promptly be addressed in some fashion. Be kind and considerate when answering questions members or potential supporters might have. Accountability and transparency help your target audiences feel safe and even a sense of pride to be supporting you.
- Evaluate, analyze, and adjust community engagement strategies.
Once you start taking action to make improvements in your audience engagement, you have to continue learning and analyzing your outcomes. You’ll find that creating a plan that incorporates consistent change will be the most effective for reaching your target audiences.
Best Practices For Audience Engagement in Museums
Here are some good tips to enhance your audience engagement:
- Interactive exhibits for engaged audiences.
Giving people a hands-on experience is a fun and engaging way to create lasting memories. People love to learn things with their hands, especially if you ensure accessibility with your interactive exhibits. This is a great way to encourage people to come in and visit or become members.
- Personalized experiences.
It can be overwhelming for many folks to step into a museum and immediately know what they’d like to look at. Through personalization, you can create suggested tours for specific groups. If you want to market to locals, advertise your “locals only” tour featuring local artists. If you want younger audiences to come in, create a suggested tour especially for kids and their parents. You can do this however you’d like.
- Social media engagement.
Everyone is on social media now, so keeping up with social media engagement will help your audience engagement. You can tease new exhibits or show off your interactive experiences to encourage people to come in and hang out. It gives people an opportunity to comment on your organization as well or personally reach out to you with questions or problems.
- Events and special programming.
Events and special programming keep things engaging and fun for your members and encourage new people to come in and support you. Keeping things fresh helps people feel like their memberships are worth it and want to continue supporting you. You can even create member-exclusive events each month or early access to new programming you have coming out soon.
- Accessibility of services.
Addressing accessibility is essential to providing for your community. It doesn’t just mean being ADA-compliant. Consider the cost of becoming a member, do you have different tiers for everyone? Do you offer discounts to certain demographics? What accommodations do you offer to people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired? Accessibility not only shows that you care, but it also benefits everyone, present and future.
- Community outreach.
Get involved in your local community through partnerships. You can partner up with organizations in the area that resonate with the goals of your museum. For example, if another nonprofit in the area strives to teach local kids about the arts, you can offer one free entry to children through their program. You can connect with other organizations with similar passions as yours and engage with your target audience at the same time.
- User/member feedback.
Take feedback through email surveys, in-person paper surveys, or even kiosks. This can help you get a better understanding of how you’re doing and learn areas of improvement. Feedback is extremely valuable as it’s analytics straight from the source. You won’t have to guess what your target audience is looking for.
Audience Engagement is the Key to the Growth of Your Institution with Acme as Your Partner!
Acme specializes in ticketing and membership management tools specifically for museums like yours. With easy-to-integrate applications for your POS system and CRM software, you can create powerful audience engagement plans to gain and maintain memberships. Your museum would struggle without an audience engagement plan, why not try Acme out and see what we can do for you? Request a demo and we’ll show you a personalized in-depth view of how we can improve your audience engagement.