BEST PRACTICE: The One With A Sense Of Humour

One thing I love to show my clients, is examples of 'Best Practice'. These are the creators and channels that I usually follow myself, for inspiration. Exploring the accounts and content of others is a great way to spark new ideas for your own channels, and figure out what type of social media user you want to be.


In this blog series, I explore several 'Best Practice' accounts in my industry, delving deep into their content strategy to demonstrate how and why they're the cream of the crop - and hopefully share some insights and tips that YOU can adopt along the way.


For the second post in this series I will be discussing, how one well-known cultural institution cuts through the noise, by adopting a bespoke approach to each platform: The One With A SENSE OF HUMOUR



It's likely you're pretty familiar with this week's Best Practice user, The Royal Academy of Arts, in London, has been around for over 250 years after all.


Founded in 1768 the RA has a unique position as an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects. With a constant program of world-class art exhibitions, they welcome thousands of visitors each year, and annually support emerging artists through their open application Summer Exhibition.


The longevity of this institution is only more appreciated and understood when one sees the extent of which the RA successfully mobilises itself in digital spheres. With close to half a million followers on each of their channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), their digital reach acts as an extension to their physical one.


What is most notable about the RA's approach to their social media channels, is their adaptability. Each platform is treated to bespoke content, or adapted to feed their specific audience.


Example in Practice

This consideration can be demonstrated through an example of content that was posted across their three major channels to celebrate the anniversary of John Singer Sargent's birth, and share a painting of the artist's that resides in their collection.


On Twitter, this meant a witty tweet in a meme-like format which served to grab the attention of the reader. The RA followed from this by using the 'thread' function on twitter to provide several more, similarly informal, details about the artist's birthday and the painting in their collection.


But on Facebook, you will see that the caption has been altered for a more conservative crowd. The humour is still present, and confirms the desired tone of voice that the RA uses on social media, but is executed slightly less boldly. Instead relying on concise but informative detail about the painting and life of the artist.


Screenshot of a post on Royal Academy of Art's Facebook Page

In this case, Instagram was offered the same post as Facebook, most likely because the caption format of the Facebook post was equally suited to Instagram.


Resourcefulness / Recycling Content

What we can learn from this approach is resourcefulness, it undoubtedly helped save time to reuse the same content across all three channels. Where the RA excelled, was to do so whilst being considerate of WHO they were talking to.


On Twitter this meant perhaps a younger crowd, with a much shorter attention span, and an enjoyment of experiencing artworks through new approaches / discourses. Hence the more informal writing.


Whereas Facebook (and Instagram) seemingly caters to a more traditionalist audience, and perhaps older, in the sense of their approach to learning about Art. Which meant that more detail and careful insight was to be more interesting for this audience.


In being conscious of this, the RA's 'recycled content' performed well on both platforms.


The Museum With a Sense of Humour

Importantly, this wittiness on Twitter, is not reserved for recycled content. Instead, this informal approach is adopted throughout the RA's profile, and informs much of the content that is posted there.


Such as the above example, of a tweet that was posted at the time of major political uproar in the US. Many found their twitter feed flooded with political sentiment and doom that spoke to these events and so The RA decided to cut through the noise and offer a moment of entertainment to those who follow them, by sharing a heart-warming drawing by a 5 year old.


They also post Daily Doodle ideas, that encourage their followers to draw, literally anything, they tell them to. The most recent example being: your big toe.


Conclusions

This bold approach to Twitter has generated many adoring fans, and given voice to a cultural institution in a way that is currently unmatched by other museums and galleries. Twitter can be a difficult platform to create momentum within, due to the sterile nature of the tweet format (read: character count and short feed exposure), but in understanding how this platform works, and how to be more playful with it, the RA has come out on top, and undoubtedly reached an audience otherwise unreachable.


Takeaways...

* Have more fun / be experimental with your content

* Don't take yourself too seriously

* Adapt your approach to each platform dependent on who your audience is there

* Recycle Content to save time


Next week I will be discussing another Best Practice account that has only been present on social media for the past 8 months, but has proven that community spirit is key!