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Tools to Make Your Museum Marketing Life Easier

In this article we’re going to introduce you to the applications that museum marketing pro’s need to make their lives easier. Organising content, scheduling and editing social content, working with your team to manage projects and share assets…. It’s all here folks and we are going to introduce you to some of our favourite platforms that will help workflow and increase productivity. 

Keep in mind that we will be giving an overview of the best and most popular social media platforms, but we’ll also add our opinion about what kind of marketer each one is geared towards. It’s essential to do your own research when choosing to invest time and money into a platform that helps to manage and streamline your marketing efforts. 

Let’s get started, shall we?

Hootsuite
One of the most popular social media management platforms that caters towards creating and scheduling social media content for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. 

Hootsuite is trusted by organisations large and small and is definitely the top dog in terms of an all-in-one platform to keep your social media channels consistent and on-brand. They also offer lots of engaging and interesting tutorials to help novice marketers. An entire library full of case studies, research & trends as well as strategy and tactics are available for usage if you’re happy to offer up your email and business information. 

They also offer educational toolkits, guides and webinars which can further guide you through the sometimes murky waters of digital marketing. There is EVEN an academy where you can enroll in digital marketing courses and earn certificates. Some of these perks are included within the free package while other more specialised ones run approximately $249 USD and focus on more advanced topics. 

Key features of Hootsuite are:

  • Management tools (contacts, projects, tasks, calendars and content, campaigns, response)
  • Multi-user collaboration and multi-account management
  • Social media metrics and monitoring
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Customisable reporting and analytics
  • Post-scheduling and automated publishing
  • Trend-tracking and configurable alerts

The features that you’ll miss if you go with Hootsuite are:

  • Document management & video conferencing (to work with teams)
  • Engagement tracking and lead attribution
  • Audience segmentation and influencer tracking

Because this platform is so popular and used by large businesses and well as small, it comes with a hefty price tag, but it is worth it if you have the need as the features as wicked. 

Prices: Free plan, £25, £99, £520 per month, and enterprise pricing (with a 30-day free trial) GBP

CoSchedule

“Get more done and feel more organised” is a tagline used by this marketing and social media management platform. CoSchedule is aimed specifically at marketers who want to manage their content all in one place. With a dedicated client portal, it’s definite marketed towards agencies or freelancers that have multiple clients and organisations that they market for rather than museums. 

Coschedule has a great editorial calendar features that lets you link up all of your accounts (WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest) and then run united campaigns that automatically schedule social posts around each respective campaign. 

Key features of CoSchedule include:

  • Client portal and collaboration tools including workflow management
  • Asset sharing, categorisation and library amongst your team
  • Editorial calendar with publishing schedule
  • Social media management
  • Customisable templates and branding
  • Idea management and milestone tracking
  • Resource and portfolio management
  • Email marketing
  • Document indexing and a text editor function
  • Customer engagement and reporting/analytics

However, the features you’ll miss from CoSchedule are:

  • Time and expense tracking/budget management
  • Contact database
  • Channel and lead management
  • Event triggered actions
  • Image editor and audio/video content
  • SEO and website management
  • Audience targeting and conversion tracking
  • Mobile app

There are various packages available within CoSchedule that serve various marketing/management needs. The following packages are available:

  • Marketing Suite ($150/mo, $650/mo and enterprise) USD
  • Content Organizer ($60/mo, $250/mo and enterprise) USD
  • Work Organizer ($40/mo, $250/mo and enterprise) USD
  • Social Organizer ($100/mo, $300/mo and enterprise) USD
  • Asset Organizer ($50/mo, $200/mo and enterprise) USD
  • Editorial Calendar ($20/mo and $50/mo) USD

Starting a free trial is all too easy with no credit card required initially. You can be messing about and creating calendar and campaigns in moments. 

If you are new to marketing and just starting out some of your social accounts, we wouldn’t recommend going full throttle into a comprehensive management system like CoSchedule. There are cheaper alternatives like Buffer that are more geared towards beginners and a better bang for your buck if you don’t need all of the CoSchedule capabilities. 

Buffer
A social media platform that keeps all of your museums content in one place and allows to consistent brand management. It helps you to optimise messages and content for various social media channels and to collaborate with your teammates while it’s happening. This social aspect of the platform is very helpful for marketing teams stay in touch and on track with campaigns from start to finish. A calendar and scheduling function make this platform a real all-in-one place to create and monitor campaigns and be sure that your organisation is posting on a regular basis. 

Buffer is targeted towards nonprofits, startups, small-medium sized businesses, educational institutions, e-commerce and enterprises. It’s a solid choice for small-medium organisations within the arts and culture sector. 

Key social media marketing features that Buffer offers are:

  • Analytics
  • Automated publishing
  • Content Management
  • Multi-Account Management
  • Post Scheduling

However, they are missing these key aspects of creating and managing social campaigns:

  • Contact Management 
  • Conversion Tracking
  • Customer Targeting
  • Keyword Filtering

Noting that Buffer is missing some of the tracking aspects above, we would recommend using it in tandem with Google Analytics and Google Ads Manager. Use Google to find keywords that are popular with your audience. Further define that audience with Google as well and then be sure to track your progress through conversion tracking and website traffic source monitoring. 

If this sounds a bit “jargon-y”, don’t worry, we’ve dedicated a whole chapter to web analytics like Google Analytics. We’ll go over important terms and then later expand that knowledge into Google Ads – stay with us!

Prices: Forever free plan, $15/mo, $99/mo, $199/mo, and $399/mo (with a 14-day free trial) USD

Sprout Social
This platform calls itself “one platform for all points of connection” which to be fair, is pretty apt as they cover four integral facets of marketing: listening, publishing, engagement and analytics. What we mean by that is they have the tools to help you understand who your audience is, how to plan and schedule content that is meaningful to them, and then how to measure your performance against tailored marketing goals. 

Sprout Social is best for agencies and businesses, not our first recommendation for nonprofits and small organisations. It offers incredibly deep and rich insights into your audience and how they are engaging with your content, but that might not be as useful for those who have small audiences that they are growing and nascent social accounts. 

Key features of Sprout Social include: 

  • Automated publishing and post scheduling with editorial calendar
  • Multi-account management and multi-user collaboration 
  • Campaign and social media management
  • Audience targeting and analytics/metrics
  • Response management and social media monitoring
  • Campaign analytics, customisable reports, competitor monitoring and engagement tracking
  • Contact management, conversion and trend  tracking and keyword filtering

However, you these important features are not included: 

  • Document management, video conferencing and live chat
  • SEO & distribution management
  • Predictive analytics and customer segmentation
  • Survey/poll management
  • A/B testing
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Email marketing
  • Configurable alerts

Prices: $99/mo, $14/mo, and $249/mo (with a 30-day free trial) USD

Bitly

This URL-shortening service is great for condensing copy and making that Twitter word count. Not only do they offer URL-shortening (which is what the company is best known for), but they also offer link management. 

If all you want to do is use the URL-shortening services, then you can do so as a free user without having to sign up as a user. However, if you do sign up to their basic plan, you can create and share branded links, monitor traffic from those links and you’ll also receive 1 free custom domain – pretty neat! 

Prices: $0/mo, and $29/mo USD

We tend to just recommend Bitly for their free services as Google Analytics can provide comparable traffic monitoring resources. 

Buzzsumo
This application shows trending blogs and articles tailored to your field. It’s a great way to find influencers and collaborators to work with as well as press contacts and bloggers that write about your area of work.

Our recommendation would be to use the free basic search feature as the prices are sky-high. With the Pro package you have the ability to run unlimited content research and influencer searchers as well as to get alerts as to when your brand is mentioned or keywords crop up. While all this is exciting – the price tag can cause some to go into sticker shock

Prices: $99/mo or $79/mo when paid yearly USD

 

Google Alerts
Would you believe it if we told you that you could receive an email anytime your organisation’s name pops up online? Well, you should believe us because that FREE service exists and it is called Google Alerts. Because Google is such a powerful tool, it is able to quickly crawl and consistently monitor to web for keywords that you enter. This means that you can stay up to date on any kind of topic you want; artists, history, exhibitions, local events, competitors, funders etc… The world is your oyster with Google Alerts.

It’s very easy to set up an alert and then customise the amount of alerts you receive as well as the frequency. This service can help your organisation to be extra-responsive and stay on top of stories and news updates. 

Tweetdeck
This application is free for Twitter users and a very powerful tool when it comes to scheduling posts and mapping out your social feed. If you have multiple Twitter accounts, this can be a great haven to organise all of the posts and and monitor frequent follower engagement.

The homepage looks a little something like this (image below) and is segmented into the following categories:

Home – Where your recent tweets will appear

Notifications – You’ll see here when someone has tagged your org in something or when someone has commented on one of your posts

Messages – All recent direct messages (DMs) will appear here. 

Scheduling tweets is very easy as the interface uses the same icons as Twitter. Ipso facto, if you know how to use Twitter, you will know how to use Tweetdeck! You’ll have the option to add a link, media and/or a poll if you so choose. It’s possible to send the tweet then and there, or schedule (which as we know is SUPER handy). 

Some key features of Tweetdeck include:

  • Automated publishing
  • Multi-account management and multi-user collaboration
  • Post scheduling
  • Social media monitoring

However, the following aspects are missing (although some of these you can do through other Twitter-associated platforms like Twitter Analytics):

  • Brand tracking
  • Content management
  • Customer engagement
  • Report/analytics

While this free service is great, it is disadvantaged when stacked up with the competitors because it’s social media management, but only for one platform. Many other services offer the ability to create and publish content across various social networks and platforms, but Tweetdeck is only for Twitter. 

If your organisation has a really robust Twitter presence and/or only uses Twitter, then perhaps you’d want to give Tweetdeck a try. It can be a great first step to assess whether or not having a social media management platform is right for your organisation.

In this chapter we’ve gone over some great options for tools that will increase your marketing productivity and social media responsiveness. There are free trials available for just about every type of platform/software. We will leave you with a word to the wise. Don’t go overboard with signing up for various platforms at the same time – we know, it’s easy to get reeled in, but you don’t want to become overwhelmed. Biting off more than you can chew is a common mistake for novice marketers. Asses your organisational needs and then trial the platform that best aligns with your marketing strategies and goals. 

Now, go forth and post!

About the author – Devon Turner

Devon Turner is an Arts & Culture Writer. She has worked extensively in arts marketing for both the visual arts and performing arts in the US and UK. Now living in London, Devon works in the arts and culture sector and enjoys traveling to visit museums.

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