(Please disregard from 19:00 to 23:40 due to a power outage in my area. The interview resumes at 23:40)
Afua Anokwa (Agent Double A) has been the Marketing Communications Manager at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC since 2012 and is responsible for all internal communications, eBlasts, partnership coordination, and, since 2014, the Spy Museum’s social media accounts.
Social Media Growth
Since the incorporation of social media management into her position, Afua has been able to dramatically grow the reach and presence of the Spy Museum’s social media channels. What used to be segmented into three separate entities on social media- Spy Museum (proper), Spy Museum Education, and The Spy Store, was brought for the most part under one banner, with Spy Education retaining some of its own pages. Facebook went from biweekly postings and 3000 likes to over 30,000 likes with daily postings, from Today in Spy History to upcoming event information. Similar trends were seen on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, and she attributes this rise to having a clear strategy, a singular voice, and account consolidation to improve customer service and interaction. Different channels are used for different departments, such as Pinterest being the main home for everything Spy Store related, but she manages everything Spy Social.
Social Media Function
Because up until recently the Spy Museum was a for-profit institution, most of their social media posts were either to push their programming (“put butts in seats”) or for general education about their collection or spy history with the main being to “extend the experience”, either through encouraging additional visitation or reinforcing current museum initiatives. Afua noted that Facebook is the main forum for publicizing their robust programming schedule and also the channel that elicits the most interaction and engagement. Outside of programming she strives to co-mingle educational label copy with fun and popular culture for a seamless transfer to a digital platform. Social media has also functioned as a customer service responder, allowing the museum to handle questions through Facebook messages, Twitter questions, and even Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews.
The Trojan Horse Project (#givethehorsepower)
A new frontier for the Spy Museum in the realm of social media is the combination with the newly created development department as a part of their transition to a 501(c)(3) organization for their new location opening 2018. Their new Indiegogo campaign launched on 10/3/2016 (https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/give-the-horse-power-the-trojan-horse-project–2#/backers) and is now a part of their “pay-to-play” social media budget with promoted posts hitting Facebook starting 10/15/12016 at approximately $1000/week. The goal is to raise $575,000 for the construction of the horse and an additional $1.675m for a documentary among other project pieces. It is early in the process but the campaign, with the help of social media, has promise.
Moving Forward & Advice
The Spy Museum will be going “dark” during their move to their new location, and this will require a separate and unique strategy. Afua intends to maintain a “constant drumbeat” of building and maintain hype for the new location while highlighting “Last Chance” opportunities for visitors at the old location. Behind the Scenes coverage of the move, a SpyCam set up at the new location, and exploration into new channels such as SnapChat will all play into this preliminary 3-month plan.
Her best advice for aspiring social media manager is to “Put your hand on the pulse of what (your followers) want” and to use all of your resources, from insights and analytics about exactly who is following you to effective “pay-to-play” promotions to maximize reach,
The Spy Museum can be followed on social media at any of the links on the bottom of their homepage: https://www.spymuseum.org/
All quotes and information taken during a phone interview: (A. Anokwa, personal communication, October 13, 2016).