In this interview, I spoke with Marcie Gordon and Kerry Burns from the North Carolina Museum of History (NCMOH) in Raleigh, NC. NCMOH is a Smithsonian Affiliate and non-profit museum run by the State of North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. It is dedicated to preserving North Carolina’s history and telling the story of the people. Although it is situated in the heart of the capital city, it sees thousands of students from North Carolina schools and nearly half a million guests from around the world each year.
Marcie is the head of marketing and visitor engagement at the museum while Kerry is the museum’s digital marketing manager. Both of them manage and maintain the museum’s social media accounts. Kerry does the majority of day-to-day posting and planning while Marcie helps plan/create content and posts during special events at the museum.
Like most businesses and museums today, being active on social media is not an option for NCMOH. The museum has long been active on social media but Marcie and Kerry have ushered in a new era of planned, purposeful social media activity. They have begun networking with local organizations and other museums across the country and overseas to increase their reach. Promotion of the upcoming exhibit “North Carolina & World War 1” has led to a good amount of interaction and activity on Twitter, proving that you cannot predict what will “take off” on social media. The exhibit has been a huge undertaking for the museum and Kerry seemed to be pleasantly surprised at the amount of traffic his WWI posts receive. More information about the exhibit can be found here: http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/exhibits/NC-World-War-One. The museum also created the hashtag #NCWW1 for the upcoming exhibit.
Other topics of discussion include the process of planning social media content and creating a social media calendar, what happens when something unexpectedly pops up (Pokemon Go, for instance), and content creation. We also discussed which platforms the museum does and does not use, which platforms garner the most engagement, and, of course, hashtags. The idea of creating content for people who cannot visit the museum also came up. The museum uses YouTube for this purpose, something that even I, a part time employee at the museum, did not know about. Given North Carolina’s long and sometimes dark history, I wanted to know if there is anything they have deemed off-limits or too controversial to post on social media. Their answer is one that I think the vast majority of historians and museum staff would agree with.
Stay tuned until the end for a dose of southern hospitality!