Tell us who you are, what your job title is and where you work
I am Imogen Lloyd, the Digital Marketing Officer for Culture Coventry. I am in charge of the digital marketing and websites for two large museums in the heart of the city alongside a reconstructed archaeological site and a Grade 1 listed building. I have been here since June 2018 and I love it!
Give us an idea of your typical day
Once I wrestle my body to my desk, coffee in hand, I will always start the day by checking our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) for comments, notifications and see how well our boosted posts are doing. Here is the time I will reply to messages sent overnight – which is the majority of them – and sort out what I am doing for the day.
Typically that will be scheduling social media posts, updating our websites with exhibition, events and learning assets etc. Often I will take the camera round (or my phone) and snap pics for social media and marketing purposes. I am based at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, but I also try to get into the office at the Transport Museum as often as I can.
Tell us about a marketing-focused project or campaign you’ve been doing recently
We recently came to the end of a substantial campaign for our summer exhibition at the Herbert, Play. Play was a combination of two exhibitions: The Play side, which also gave its name to the exhibition, was a non-linear exploration of what it means to play, and the toys and tools of our ancestors to today – highly intergenerational. The second section was an exhibition made in conjunction with, and about, the internationally successful video games company, Rare, who have been in the industry for decades and have produced well-known and loved games like Donkey Kong Country, 007 Goldeneye, Banjo-Kazooie and most recently Sea of Thieves. So it meant that we had fantastic assets at our disposal and potential reach working with someone like Microsoft, Rare’s parent company.
We worked with our in-house media team to produce a Facebook livestream about the exhibition and promoting the giveaway. The lead project curator, exhibitions officer and Rare employee were all interviewed by one of our museum assistants who was just fantastic and we will certainly be doing them again. It was a learning curve for all involved, and our internet upload speed hurt our live broadcast quite a lot, but once we uploaded the high quality version to Facebook we had a lot of positive feedback.
Thanks to Rare’s kind gifting of some pirate swag, we ran a giveaway which I will talk about a bit further on into this article. It’s on my shoulders that the giveaway did not work as well as expected, and is some food for thought about how we will run these in the future.
Was it a success? How do you know?
Looking at figures, we had an increase in overall visitors at the museum than last year, so on that basic basis you could call it a success. But deeper down we found that we were reaching audiences who would otherwise never have set foot into the museum, and this was especially true for the Rare side of the exhibition. We had people travelling from all over the country to come and visit the space. Visitors that engaged with the Rare space subsequently spent time in Play and the rest of the museum.
What particular aspects went well?
Rare’s social media reach was fantastic and certainly helped us reach any audience that we wouldn’t have reached otherwise. Visitor feedback was great and people took to using the hashtag #playattheherbert and our museum’s general hashtag #herbertartgallery to tag us into their photos on various social media platforms.
What things would you change next time?
We had a digital campaign surrounding visitors sending us their ‘playtime memories’, which was a mixture of audio, video and photographs of their favourite toys, games or activities as a child. From these, by using the hashtag #playattheherbert and looking specifically for these ‘memory photos’ the media team would put together a short 2 minute clip that would be featured within the exhibition.
Sadly, despite our best efforts via social media, radio, local press, Rare’s own media and in the exhibition, we struggled to get much actual engagement in terms of visitors sending us their photos, audios and videos to use. Of the material that was connected to the hashtag, an even fewer number of people gave us their permission to include the material in our exhibition film.
Do you have any sense of why this was – do you think it was unfortunate timing or content that didn’t engage, or…?
I think it didn’t hit due to lack of super engaging content. Certain things were originally on the cards that would have given us a big spotlight in the city from renowned local people. But unfortunately this never came to fruition. Add into that, the role of Digital Marketing Officer was empty while I was being recruited, so the lead up time to produce content for the marketing campaign was not able to begin until I had joined, which was the same month the exhibition launched.
Are there any particular approaches, tools or people that helped you get this done?
Since I had only been in the post for one month when the exhibition launched, possibly some more time in the role would have helped, but coming out the other side of a great campaign and exhibition has been the best experience I could ask for.
Using #playattheherbert for both the exhibition hashtag and the giveaway may have been a mistake and it diluted the marketing message about the giveaway.
I used Hootsuite extensively, especially for posting social media posts on the weekend, where we normally get large engagement. I used Hootsuite to cover Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, although of course not all content was shared across each platform. For analytics I have found recently that Twitter is not the most useful. Google’s own analytics platform I found far more useful for seeing conversions from social media referral – which is actually not as high as one might first think and this is normal for the sector. Hootsuite’s ability to follow a hashtag was immensely useful for who was engaging with the hashtags of the exhibition.
Can you tell us what the budget was?
We have a very minimal marketing budget, £300 for digital each month is the average figure. We do not spend money on print either and yet the outlook has been more positive than previous years!
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
At a time when our budgets are getting smaller and digital traffic is accounting for more visitors, we have to get creative. Perhaps I was not creative enough in this campaign, but lessons learned will lead me in better stead for the future and I am looking forward to our future campaigns already.