A few months ago I was involved in one of our All About Family Friendly Forums – the subject social media and engagement with family audiences for arts, heritage and cultural venues. In advance I looked into any existing information on this topic both within and outside the sector, with limited success – though here are a few articles I found.

Despite my search of the web I found little reference to the ways in which arts and cultural organisations have used social media to appeal to a family audience – although the case study of Yuffy and the Museum of Hartlepool is an interesting one to look at (see Twitter for Museums: Strategies & Tactics for Success). This got me thinking about tactics for using social media platforms to engage families online. Here are just five simple ideas:

1) Family Reviews/Feedback – Seek the opinions of family leaders/decision makers Mum, Dad, Auntie, Uncle, Gran, Grandad If you have a Facebook Page utilise Facebook Questions to get run polls and get feedback on your family programme, engagement as well as their specific needs.

2) Activity Sheets – Use social networks as platforms to deliver activity sheets to existing and potential visitors. For example share a colouring in sheets that families can print out and bring along to the museum or enjoy back at home after they’ve visited you. This can provide an ongoing engagement if parents know via your social channels they can also access other materials to keep the family entertained between visits.

3) Flickr Groups – Encourage families to share photos of their visit on a Flickr group for your organisation. Use signage in your venue to identify spots that make for a great for a family portrait and signpost to your Flickr presence.

4) Video Trailers – Provide short video trailers of events and activities to allow parents to try before they ‘buy’. These tasters can aid in making a decision on whether the event on offer is going to suit their needs (and the children’s) for a day out.

5) Family Friendly hashtags – If your organisation is active on Twitter start using family related hashtags to highlight events with a family focus to your followers. In the North West we’re encouraging venues to use #familyfriendlynw to keep up to date with all the wonderful things for families to do in the region.

Are you an arts, cultural or heritage organisation and have you engaged a family audience via social media? Aware of any examples of best practice? I’d be interested in hearing the experiences of other organisations so please share by adding a comment below.

Image c/o Pyrat Wesly licensed under Creative Commons.