Museums on Instagram: from niche to mainstream audiences
Instagram has long since become one of the communication tools preferred by the art world, in particular by museums .
This is because it is currently the most effective communication channel which, speaking through images, allows dissemination of a work of art.
For museums, using social networks strategically means conveying their historical-artistic heritage and encouraging new forms of participation cultural .
A painting, a sculpture, a building are the origin of modern storytelling : every detail and representation embodies a story and contents to be told and transmitted. What better tool than Instagram can convey this heritage?
Museums: from niche audience to mainstream
In the 18th century, museums were only accessible in the morning, because the appropriate public was thought to express interest and conscious participation in the morning hours, cutting out “lazy”, considered not really interested. Today the museum is approaching different audiences, involving them in museum life even organizing workshops and cultural activities .
To facilitate this approach, Instagram thought about it. The platform for art represents a pretty showcase where images are the masters and hashtags become the new form of rapid communication, letting go out in a certain sense works from museums .
Museums and Instagram
Having discovered how important it is to inhabit this platform, museums also use it as an interactive showcase , stimulating user participation.
People have always captured scenes from everyday life, vacation spots and landscapes and then shared them. Emotions and memories that previously took the form of artistic works, are now photographed to post them on social media.
Therefore, the desire to share one’s moments is not something that was born with the advent of social media , but it has deeper and more distant roots.
Using Instagram correctly, museums have the possibility to bring paintings out of the rooms, making them alive and able to interact with an audience larger than what usually runs through their corridors.
Doing so breaks down the wall that usually arises between humanistic and popular culture .
Furthermore, if Instagram is used in a strategic and competent way, it becomes a real marketing tool, where the public’s judgments about an exhibition and a museum contribute to generate and disseminate an idea of its value .
A value both for users and for the institution, helping to build an idea of different art and culture, closer to users and more open to their participation.
In fact, Instagram can be configured as a hybrid and multidimensional space capable of achieving important objectives and satisfying different needs: information, learning, e-commerce, listening to feedback, interaction with actual and potential audiences, fundraising and other initiatives.
Which museums have the largest number of followers in the world?
MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art (New York)
The most famous modern art museum in the world has an Instagram profile that currently has 4.8 million followers, just like a real brand.
With the aim of “helping anyone to understand and enjoy the art of our time through our exhibitions and collections”, MoMA does not limit itself to presenting its archive of works, but manages to combine art and Instagram, thus creating content with a strong storytelling value.
The strength of this profile is contained in knowing how to tell stories ; the concept from which they started is that it is often very difficult to capture the attention of those who are not an art expert, but telling is the secret to attracting and having new visitors .
The Rijksmuseum uses this platform mainly to convey the works of art it owns, taking them out of its building and making them available to everyone.
Alongside this “social-archive” of images we also find images closer to the contemporary world that depict people, as if to underline the close relationship that exists between them and the art.
The account of the Tate has more than 3 million followers. It collects the initiatives of various galleries: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool & Tate St Ives.
The goal is to increase understanding and enjoyment of art. It does not limit itself to presenting works that could be admired by visiting museums, but it promotes projects.
Musée du Louvre (Paris)
The most famous French museum publishes high quality images. It is one of the most followed museums in the world that has been able to keep up with the times and technologies , to make its public of visitors understand that l art is not only for an elite of experts but it can be within everyone’s reach , even the less passionate.
It represents a perfect example of a museum that has been able to preserve the peculiarities of its exposure within its social profile.
The Met (New York)
With 3.4 million followers, the Met is among the American museums that invest most in new media, playing a lot behind the scenes and reminding us every day how art and museum institutions are great thanks to the work of the people who dedicate themselves to them every day.
Ice Cream Museum (San Francisco)
It does not have an actual artistic value like the previous ones, but it has certainly been able to make its way into the world panorama of exhibitions using Instagram.
In this case it is the colors and materials on display that have made it a museum instagrammabile in the open air. His social profile is a perfect mix of works of art told through colors.
And in Italy?
Italian museums are not as popular as foreign ones, despite having an unparalleled artistic heritage, considered the Bel Paese as the cradle of history and art and home of Da Vinci , Brunelleschi , Bernini and Michelangelo … just to name a few.
Gallerie degli Uffizi (Florence)
Within the Italian art scene, the successful social strategy that stands out the most is that implemented by the Florentine museum. To date, the number of followers has risen to 379,000, a minimal number when compared with other museums on the world scene, but which has enormous growth potential .
First of all for the name, synonymous with excellence all over the world; secondly because it is implementing actions that, in the near future, may bring more visitors.
The posts of the Gallerie degli Uffizi are a mix perfect between narration and interpretation of the works in the gallery, recounting details that might escape on a first visit, and poetic contents that celebrate the Italian literary and artistic heritage in the round. Strictly in double language.
Mart Museum (Trento and Rovereto)
Another noteworthy museum is that of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, Mart . It is among the virtuous Italian examples, because, in addition to publishing images of works and installations, it shoots and shares workshop moments, putting people at the center.
What are the main reasons for which a museum should use this social network?
First of all, the aesthetic component that characterizes Instagram lends itself very well to the types of content that museums can share. Not only art and particularly fascinating objects, but also corners of buildings. In addition, with Instagram you can highlight fascinating details that would normally be overlooked.
The possibility of writing captions with the addition of questions, quizzes or contests could accompany the descriptive component of the story that is told in pictures.
Finally, the average age of the users makes it particularly interesting: young people are often one of the categories of visitors that museums find it most difficult to involve.
So is the future of art on Instagram? Not completely. The promotion and involvement of new spectators finds in the platform a powerful means of communication, but nothing can ever replace the experience of being in front of the majesty of the Sistine Chapel or the mysterious Mona Lisa .