During our conversation, Erin Blasco reveals how to model behavior for digital engagement and provides valuable insight into managing a Kickstarter’s social media campaign.
Erin collaborates with staff across departments to manage the National Museum of American History’s entire social media presence. She relies on the knowledge of subject area specialists like curators to help draft content and blog posts. The blog is one of the first social media platforms started at NMAH and the most difficult to manage. With full-length articles that need to be reviewed and edited, planning must begin at least 2-3 months ahead of time. While not as time consuming, Instagram requires the perfect combination of stunning photos with text at just the right length, and finding that balance can be tricky.
Not all audiences can be reached through a single social media platform, but NMAH does have target audiences for each program. Erin puts a lot of work into reaching people who are interested in specific content. With the recent acquisition of artifacts from Selena, Erin has reached out to other museums and heritage organizations to talk about Selena and Hispanic heritage. She was able to find three female staff members at NMAH from different generations who shared their memories about Selena, and the public really responded to that. “Sometimes we have to model the behavior we want”, Erin explained. “If we want people to share their stories, we have to share stories with them.”
While managing the #KeepThemRuby Kickstarter campaign, Erin learned that asking people to share their stories is only one of the many angles needed to maintain robust messaging for 30 days. Running out of content is easy, so it’s important to think of every angle possible. For the #KeepThemRuby campaign, social media at NMAH talked about the conservation of the slippers, how the movie was produced, the decision to cast Judy Garland, and more. Erin recommends preparing more visuals than you think will be needed for a Kickstarter campaign like this. Getting clearance for image copyrights can be complicated, and editing photos takes time.
Measuring and defining success is one of the hardest parts of Erin’s job. For a long time she thought that any engagement was good. Now she relies more on audience interaction by categorizing meaningful comments from Instagram. This has helped to capture the range in reactions, and tells much more than just a number. What are some other ways to measure the success of social media in more than just numbers?