Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top 10 Facebook Pages - Art Galleries and Museums

Can you guess:
  • which of the TOP art galleries and museums do well on Facebook
  • which do much better than their GLOBAL ranking for visitors
  • How many followers the top art galleries and museums have achieved on Facebook to date?
I've been quietly watching the various pages of the museums and how they rank on Facebook for years. It's extremely instructive in terms of their marketing and how some of them manage to achieve a virtual ranking online via Facebook that is completely different from their actual ranking for visitors.

Below you can find:
  • which TOP art museums and galleries:
    • do well on Facebook relative to their global ranking for visitors
    • which do much better on Facebook 
    • which need to work out why they perform less well
  • my suggested explanations for the differences between actual and virtual visitors
  • how all this relates to how you as an artist who markets your art online


How Museums and Art Galleries Rank for Visitors and Facebook Likes


This table compares how Facebook Likes compare to the actual number of visitors an art gallery of museum had in 2015.  Below it I add some comments as to the 'quirks' of this data - and another table to show you which are the top 10 museums on Facebook.

[Note: Visitors Figures in 2015 come from the annual survey conducted by The Art Newspaper and associated report; Facebook Figures come from my Insights Page re the other Pages I follow from my Making A Mark Facebook Page]
Museum Visitors in 2015
Museum
Location
No. of Facebook Likes

2015 visitors
World Ranking


Rank on Facebook
Total Page Likes

 8,600,000
1
Louvre
Paris
1
 2,300,000






 6,820,686
2
British Museum
London
5
 1,300,000






 6,533,106
3
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York
3
 1,800,000






 6,002,251
4
Vatican Museums
Vatican City
18
 202,500






 5,908,254
5
National Gallery
London
8
 788,600






 5,291,797
6
National Palace Museum
Taipei







 4,712,581
7
Tate Modern
London
6
 1,000,000






 4,104,331
8
National Gallery of Art
Washington DC
7
 795,800






 6,338,031
9
State Hermitage Museum
St. Petersburg
26
 38,900






 3,440,000
10
Musee d'Orsay
Paris
9
 703,800




Commentary

Some observations on the rankings on Facebook:
  • The top three are way ahead of every other museum and art gallery which ranks well for visitors. This suggests diverse strategies for marketing their museums and art galleries in terms of traditional methods and newer methods associated with virtual visitors.
  • Yet again the Louvre is way ahead of every other museum - there is a very significant margin on Likes just as there is on Visitors. There has to be an explanation for this that goes beyond the content of the museum. Smart marketing perhaps? It's certainly worth watching how the Louvre posts on Facebook.
  • If a country is not Facebook friendly it's unlikely a museum located there will get a lot of likes. Museums and art galleries in parts of the world which might not be so Facebook friendly (eg the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg) are doing less well on Facebook


Which Museums are Missing from the Table?


Museums and art galleries do well in terms of actual visitors are not necessarily the same as those who do well on Facebook.
  • I started with the top ten museums and art galleries in terms of the recorded attendance of annual visitors they attract. 
  • Missing from this top ten of museums and art galleries I follow are those that are ranked numbers 2, 4 and 10 in terms of Facebook Likes.

So here's the table again - except this time it's based on which art museums and galleries rank in the top 10 for Facebook Likes - and below I highlight some of the key facts indicated by this table.

[Caveat: Again this is based on the Facebook Pages of the art museums and art galleries I follow via Facebook - so there may be some gaps]
Museum Visitors in 2015
Museum
Location
No. of Facebook Likes
2015 visitors
World Ranking


Rank on Facebook
Total Page Likes
 8,600,000
1
Louvre
Paris
1
2.3m




3,084,624
15
MOMA
New York
2
1.9m




 6,533,106
3
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York
3
1.8m




1,908,744
31
Van Gogh Museum
Amsterdam
4
1.5m




 6,820,686
2
British Museum
London
5
1.3m




 5,291,797
7
Tate
London
6
1m




 4,712,581
8
National Gallery of Art
Washington
7
802.5k




 5,908,254
5
National Gallery
London
8
800.2k




 3,440,000
10
Musee d'Orsay
Paris
9
716.5k




3,060,000
16
Centre Pompidou
Paris
10
614.1k

This is what it looks like on my Facebook Insights page.

The Top Museums I Follow on Facebook - and their Likes and Activity


Commentary

Art Museums and Galleries doing a LOT BETTER than their actual visitor ranking

  • MOMA in New York (2nd on Facebook; 15th for visitors)
  • Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (4th on Facebook; 31st for Visitors)
  • Centre Pompidou in Paris (10th on Facebook; 16th for Visitors)

Art Museums and Galleries doing WORSE than their actual visitor ranking

Art Museums and Galleries holding their ranking online (+/- 1 place)

So what can we conclude from this?

I'm going to hazard some explanations which I find plausible - but I have no way of knowing whether or not they are true. 

However some of them are based on an awful lot of looking at art museum and galleries websites and Facebook Pages over the years plus some contact - from time to time - with the publicity teams of some organisations - in the UK and abroad. (I know which ones understand the purpose of blogs and the needs of bloggers!)

So here goes:

1. Those doing better on Facebook are ALL doing a LOT BETTER. 
There has to be an explanation for this in terms of how important digital content is to the overall marketing strategy, how social media is managed and the demographic of targeted groups.  For example:
  • these organisations might all understand better who their core customers are - and be tailoring content to those people
  • those interested in their content might be younger/ more techie oriented - and more used to using social media (but is that true for only these galleries?) and mobile devices
  • these organisations might know and understand that investment in how a museum or art gallery is represented digitally and online is absolutely critical to the traffic it gets (eg small pics or big pics?)
  • they might have enabled their websites to be much more responsive to hand-held devices. 
    • For example, the Van Gogh Museum website when viewed on a desk-top now looks as if it has been designed for a mobile device - it's making traffic from smartphones and tablets/iPads a priority
  • they might be a lot better at making it easy for people to post and share on Facebook - helping their Followers to attract other Followers
  • it's entirely possible for smaller museums with smart digital marketing strategies to punch way above their weight when assessed in traditional terms (i.e. actual visitors). 
    • The Van Gogh Museum is an excellent example of a museum which has a very strong orientation towards its digital consumers - and keeps up to date all the time with their needs (I've never not been impressed by the Van Gogh Museum website in the last 10 years or so. I certainly could not say the same about others!)
2. ALL art museums and galleries would do well to look at how those who are doing a lot better compare to those who are doing worse - and understand better whether there are "ways of doing things better" that might be worth pursuing for their sites - in order to maintain their current ranking - and maybe move up.

3. The British Museum and National Gallery in London really need to look at how their online activities and presence on Facebook compares to the others doing better than they are.  There is no way two organisations like this - with the quality of content they have - should rank worse online than they do for visitors. 

For example:
  • Why do respectable reach / engagement levels not translate through to Likes or Follows (when compared to others)?
  • If posting levels are similar, what does the content of posts say about why posts by other Museums work better?
  • Are they playing catch-up after a slow start on social media - relative to the others?  
    • Were they slow to create a Facebook Page? 
    • Will they be doing better next year - and if so why?
  • Do they engage enough at the right time with those who share on social media? (e.g. bloggers).  Giving priority to the print people only works so long as people are others are actually reading the print. It might be about changing strategies to move for targeting a few key print outlets to engaging effectively with many more smaller and much more targeted bods who are active online.  
  • Is their media boring on a smartphone - or exciting?
  • Is their navigation helpful - or obscure and ineffective?
Also if there was one organisation I'd single out as being in dire need of a radical overhaul of its website it's the National Gallery - it's just awful!

TIP: one glance at the website section relating to the press - i.e. press releases and images available - also says an awful lot about:
  • how much an organisation is geared up to selling its story via traditional methods and 
  • how much they are engaged with social media and the needs of smaller enterprises who also need information if they are to share it!

What does any of this mean for artists?


If art galleries and museums have varying levels of success with engaging with a digital audience, it's unsurprising that artists also experience the same thing.  

Bottom line being successful in terms of awareness is all about visitors and how many people get to see what you have to offer. 

However those visitors are not just in exhibitions - they're also online - looking at websites and Facebook Pages.

Lessons can also be shared!

REVIEW YOUR WEBSITE

  • How easy it is for visitors to know:
    • who this site belongs to (I've lost count of the number of times I've come across a website or blog where I cannot work out the name of the artist!)
    • what they can find on your website
    • whether it's OK to share pages online via social media (e.g. blog posts) - e.g. do you use an AddThis widget or equivalent to make it easy for people to share blog posts
  • Is your website designed to be responsive to different sized screens? 
    • Do you get a lot of traffic from mobile devices (smartphones and tablets/iPads) which are very often used for browsing?
ASK YOURSELF
  • Why don't I have a Facebook Page if I'm serious about marketing selling my art?
  • Is my content easy to share on Facebook?
  • Is my Facebook Page interesting? Does it contain info about other things I'm interested in or could it be categorised as same old, same old - "here's my latest painting"
  • Do I update on Facebook reasonably often?
  • Have I ever looked at how other artists market themselves on Facebook? (Use Insights to keep track of how comparable people are doing on Facebook)

and finally......


In 2017 I'm going to be:
  • reviewing what steps help to create an effective digital presence 
  • highlighting which are the artists who are doing well on Facebook.
Will you be one of them?

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