Kristin Prestegaard, Chief Engagement Officer, Minneapolis Institute of Art

I had a great time talking with Kristin Prestegaard about how museums can best engage their audiences in a contemporary setting. As Chief engagement officer for the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) she is a leader in devising strategies that open the doors to increased audience engagement and participation.

Our discussion centered around the use of social media as a most effective way for the MIA to reach our incoming tech savvy audiences.  From the audience Kristin has learned much through feedback while the audience also receives content that is consistent with the brand of the MIA. Facebook and Instagram have been the most successful of the MIA’s social media strategy. Facebook acts as gateway to general information and deeper content, as well as advertising. Instagram for the MIA is all about the beauty of their collections and works as an incitement and a piece of art in its own right.

Coming from 15 years marketing in the private sector it is surprising to know that Kristin sees little difference between her past and present . She has found the same uses for collected data and marketing targets, and has always had the same goal of selling a consistent and honest brand.



  1. jenna nicole says:

    I appreciate Kristin’s focus on a value exchange for the audience through customer experience, and her emphasis that audiences should be segmented and content tailored to best their interests and ensure your programming mix hits your different audiences. She mentions using Facebook to target look-a-like audiences, people who are similar to or have similar interests to those who already follow the museum but don’t already themselves. What type of content do you think would be best to attract these people to your institution? Can you find out about their other interests and attributes and highlight elements of the collection that resonate with those interests?

  2. Elizabeth G. says:

    I really enjoyed this interview and the advice Kristin had to share. I like how she stressed that it is importany to know what content works best on which social media platform. Their digital strategy relies on user feedback and they make adjustments when necessary; there’s no right or wrong – just what works and what doesn’t work – sound advice!
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  3. Zoey Washington says:

    It was really interesting to hear her talk about how she views the importance and roles of the different social media platforms. Rather than simply outlining content based on the audiences that typically are on those platforms, it seems like she really married the priorities of the museum through their content plan with the best strategy that plays to the strengths of their collection online. Though Facebook and Instagram both have picture functionality, she really heralds Instagram as a great way to showcase the collection versus Facebook that is more of a conversation.

  4. Mary Mathias says:

    I like how much data is tracked and used by Kristin and the MIA and the emphasis on user feedback, and I appreciate that they focus on visitor motivation rather than just who the audience is. That is an excellent way to, as Kristin describes, develop projects and programs that are truly what the audience needs and is interested in. I also found the free membership level a very interesting (and, it sounds like, successful) strategy for engagement. Does anyone know of any other museums with similar “loyalty program”-like membership levels?

  5. Jennifer Hall says:

    This was a really nice conversation to listen to. The flow was great, and she had some really unique perspectives on outreach. I think her considerations of commercial marketing nicely tie together Falk’s identity motivations and user-centered design in the digital age.

    The assumptions about the Luther vs. Del Toro were also really exciting! It reminded me of some of the user feedback I got in my project that I found surprising; you think you know someone and then they throw a curveball at you and it makes the job so much more engaging.

  6. kpolesky says:

    One comment that Kristen made that stuck with me was that younger audiences are culturally promiscuous–meaning that they’re not necessarily loyal to one organization. It’s so true, but it makes me wonder why that’s so…is it the short attention span caused by this instant gratification technology focused world they’ve grown up in? then how do you market that audience and keep their attention? with something unique like the LACMA Snapchats?

  7. Robin Reif says:

    I was interested in their approach to having people actual click on feed vs. numbers of people just seeing it on feed. It makes sense to see it like she said look at all the parts the get the whole picture. I was also interested in her take on trends in memberships.

  8. I love that her definition of the brand of the museum is what visitors say it is! Her ideal of a seamless experience making visitors feel like the museum is ‘for them’, from first contact to post-visit, is definitely something to keep in mind.

    Kristin’s discussion of segmenting member audiences is really interesting. Evaluating member activity data to structure memberships seems like it has revealed some really interesting insights about audience – and especially member – needs.

  9. Kelly McKenna says:

    Kristen is such a clear communicator, and I learned so much from her! I especially enjoyed her insights about social media–specifically how posts should have something to click on so that data can be tracked. It was also interesting to learn that they target sponsored ads towards people who are already fans and friends of fans. I’ve also heard from other new media professionals that targeted ads can really work.

    I don’t know much about Snapchat, so it was helpful to learn that they do not report anything back to you. I’ll have to take a look at LACMA on Snapchat since she mentions they have some participatory activities.

  10. Andrea A. says:

    Your conversation with Kristin was very insightful. At LIM, I have been treating each social media platform as being the same standards. But, Kristin’s discussion of having a strategy for each social media platform makes a whole lot of sense. Knowing how users react to each platform will also help make sure we are fully utilizing them in a successful way. Listening to how the tailor their posts based on the data they have collected from each platform is something I hope to move forward with. I already have an understanding of what posts work for Facebook and what work for Instagram (a little more casual), but I feel I need to think about them more.

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