My 2019 Museum Digital Engagement Resolutions

Kate Meyers Emery
5 min readJan 2, 2019

Every year, I take some time to think about what I’ve accomplished and what I’d like to accomplish in the next year.

Focus More on Instagram Stories

Even with my personal social media, I tend to be the type that takes the photo and then shares it hours or even days later when I’ve had a chance to think about what I want to say. This type of approach doesn’t really work well with the Instagram Stories feature, which is meant to share things as they occur in a playful manner.

However, Instagram stories are not going away- they are not a fad. In fact, they are increasing in engagement when the rest of the social media world seem to be decreasing.

I resolve to make an effort to share more through Instagram stories. To achieve this goal, I’m going to:

  • Make an Instagram stories strategy that is separate from Instagram; by treating it as its own channel, I’ll be able to produce content that is perfect for that style of interaction and use it to the fullest
  • Set calendar alerts to remind myself every morning to check engagement; stories are difficult to track because we don’t have great analytics, so I’m going to make it a priority to check on them every morning
  • Crowdcourse content and reshare content; I’m increasingly tied to my desk (or working remotely with my ten week old baby), so I’m going to double my efforts to get co-workers to send me content, and celebrate visitor content by sharing more

Bonus: create branded GIFs… this is one of my champagne dreams for the year. I’d love for us to have some fun historic GIFs we could share. Fingers crossed this happens.

Use Analytics More to Inform Strategy

I hate to admit this since I’m a huge fan of data, but when things get busy, analytics are the first thing I drop. Why? Because really diving into the quantitative and qualitative data takes time, time I don’t often have. Instead, I’ll do a surface check of the big numbers and move on. This year, I’d like to start paying more attention to the details of our analytics to craft strategies that are better informed.

Of course, I’m still tight on time so here’s how I’m going to do this:

  • Take a little time at the beginning of this year to review all the different measures we could possibly look at and the institution’s broader goals to determine what are the most important
  • Set a calendar event for myself every week, and a longer one each month, and an even longer one every quarter, where I dedicate time to creating a report that sums up what we are seeing from analytics and how it relates to our goals

Bonus: write up some qualitative thoughts and insights from each of these meetings as notes to myself that I can refer to. The double bonus would be taking the time to share those with the broader museum and social media community.

Build Something

I like to have one project each year that taps into my creative side and gives me the chance to flex my digital muscles. In 2017, I was able to work with my cousin, an artist, to create a video game for an exhibition, and I crafted a new front-end for a database. Last year, I started learning more about Photoshop so I could create engaging layouts and designs for our website and social media, and I developed an interactive skin for a different database (yes, this seems to be a recurring theme in my work).

This year, we’re hoping to tackle some big projects that will improve engagement in exhibitions, and I want to build something that gets visitors excited about what we do.

This goal isn’t as concrete, but here’s how I’m thinking I can do this:

  • Find a project that pushes my skills; I want a challenge, something I can learn from, but something that is also doable. There’s a digital card project that fits, as well as a a project using an API that is possible.
  • Write up the entire experience; when I was in grad school I would share the progress of my digital learning- I miss doing that, so I’m going to make this a priority with my next digital project.

Bonus: hide an easter egg in it for other nerds 😉

Work More with Influencers

This is a world that I’m still not totally comfortable with; even though we’ve seen some good results from doing events and programs for influencers. The influencer world is not going away, it is merely changing. Now, we’re seeing a trend towards micro-influencers and authenticity. That means finding people who are trusted within their little online communities; which is a tough thing to do.

My goal this year is to identify at least 10 influencers locally and 5 nationally that I can target. How will I do this?

  • Start following relevant hashtags to find the micro-communities on social media and follow along to determine who fits our brand and approach, and would be good to bring to the museum.
  • Create interesting private events for influencers, or public events led by influencers, that will attract new audiences. When we’ve done this in the past, it has been highly successful, so I want to make it more of a priority.
  • Find a diverse range of influencers to fit the diverse range of visitors we have- not only do we want locals and tourists, we want researchers and scholars. This means finding people who aren’t traditionally ‘influencers’ to come out and share their experience at the museum.

Bonus: create a low-maintenance experience for influencers that would be VIP, cool and unique, but that doesn’t require a lot of staff time and is easy to repeat.

Originally published at on January 2, 2019.



Kate Meyers Emery

PhD, Roc native, Digital evangelist. Manager of Digital Engagement at @eastmanmuseum. @SUNYgeneseo @EdinburghUni + @michiganstateu alum. Opinions my own