Digital

Philadelphia Museums Use Instagram to Target Younger Visitors

@SamShankman

Jun 30, 2014 3:00 pm

Skift Take

Instagram is a risky choice for the museums whose social media audience tends to be older and more active on Facebook; however, the results will provide a great use case for social media campaigns.

— Samantha Shankman

Free Report: The State of Student Travel

Penn Museum  / Instagram

Penn Museum is posting photos of its exhibits to Instagram to encourage summer visits. Penn Museum / Instagram


Philadelphia’s top art museums are turning their ancient exhibits into popular Instagram posts for 13 weeks this summer. Five area museums will post a photo of an item tied to a different summer theme like “School’s Out” or “Under the Sun” in an effort to raise awareness of their collections and woo visitors.

This is the first time the museums will work together to encourage visits via social media. Participating museums include Philadelphia Museum of Art (@philamuseum), The Barnes Foundation (@barnesfoundation), Penn Museum (@pennmuseum), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (@pafacademy), and Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (@philaflowershow).

The museums chose Instagram because they wanted to share engaging visuals on a platform where separate museums and attendees could contribute to project. All related photos can be found using the #SummerWithArt hashtag.

Positioning the campaign on Instagram also helped area museums draw attention to their activity on the channel.

“Each of us boasts a considerably larger following on Facebook than on Instagram, so using Instagram is helping all of us to strengthen our presences and followings there,” explains Tom Stanley, social media coordinator for Penn Museum.

Instagram’s user base is also younger than the museums’ followings on Facebook giving them an opportunity to reach a new demographic.

“We’re taking content that, in the Penn Museum’s case, sometimes represents objects from thousands of years ago and thousands of miles away, and translating it into a visual language that today’s public is speaking more and more fluently every day.”

The museum did not set specific visitor goals for the campaign, as its the first of its kind conducted on Instagram. The museum has; however, seen its own following grow by over 5 percent in one week.

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