Title:How do you museum?: Marketing user-generated content to engage audiences
Authors:Mara Naiditch, Rachel Gertz, Edgar Chamorro
Publication:MW17: Museums and the Web 2017

In August 2015 the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the La Brea Tar Pits Museum launched an innovative destination campaign called #HowDoYouMuseum that combined traditional and digital media. It was designed to both sustain the momentum gained from the museums’ recent renovations, and to brand-align two institutions that had long been marketed separately. The campaign was meant to run for at least two years.

This multi-faceted campaign engages visitors by asking them to share their experiences at the museums; the museum then takes the user-generated content and applies it as an additional marketing tool in both paid and non-paid media. In addition, the museums produced a series of videos starring (unpaid) local celebrities describing their personal experience. The aim of the videos is to inspire others to visit, discover their own experience, and share it with the world.

This paper will discuss how the museum was able to generate more than three million views of their videos and reached more than 2.3 million viewers who saw their UGC posts in just a matter of months. It will further discuss the correlations between the campaign and record attendance numbers; the evolution of the creative; the use of both traditional and UGC to engage new audiences; re-purposing UGC for traditional media, metrics, strategies, and key learnings; and the challenges associated with sustaining a two-year campaign on limited resources.