Do you ever wonder why some visitors would rather be on their phones than engaging with your exhibits? It is easy to dismiss these visitors as being disrespectful and ignoring the history that is in front of them. If this is the case for some of your visitors, why not encourage their phone use in your own way? Mobile multimedia devices (iPods, iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smartphones) can combine marketing elements with interpretative material.
- If you have a website, Facebook page, Twitter, or any social media platform, you can encourage guests to visit these sites. Use these sites to tell the stories of your exhibits to help supplement information from your museum that visitors can then share with others.
- Create a check-in spot on Facebook. Visitors will “check-in” at your museum online, allowing their Facebook friends to see where they are. This free marketing tool promotes your museum and encourages new visitors to check it out.
- Follow the example of the Sandusky Library Follet House Museum. As part of the “Civil War Heroes” walking tour program, visitors used QR codes for smartphones to learn about the lives of twenty men and women involved at the home-front and in the battle. At each stop on the walk through the Oakland Cemetery visitors scan a new code to learn about the gravesite through links to blogs and video. QR (Quick Response) codes are two-dimensional barcodes readable by smartphones to display texts or links to websites, blogs, and videos. You can make free QR codes for elements in your museum that link to online information to promote continued learning.
- Encourage people to take pictures that show off your museum. Through the growing culture of self-documentation, people are taking pictures of everything they do and sharing them instantly online. Every time a photo is shared, it extends the reach of your exhibit in an authentic way. Encourage visitors to tag your location when they share their photos of your museum on Facebook. This free marketing tool spreads your content to new audiences.
- Create a tour online of exhibits that visitors can reference both at your museum and at home. Tours can take many functions, but should arouse curiosity and inspire people to visit the exhibit in person. Once at the museum, visitors can reference the tour to learn more about the exhibits.
- Allow visitors to comment on elements of your exhibit online. By posting pictures from your museum to sites that allow visitors to easily leave comments (such as Facebook), guests can help guide your museum in what worked and what didn’t. This also encourages guests to visit your site at home, which helps sustain interest in your museum as they relive some of the exhibits.