In 1753, the British Museum set out to represent two million years of history under one roof, granting free admission to all “studious and curious persons.” Two and a half centuries later, nearly six million people visit the Museum every year to explore its collection of over eight million items from around the world.

With nearly five million followers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the Museum turned to Hootsuite for help delivering on its multi-channel publishing strategy and empowering its social team to engage more frequently and effectively with its audience.

Learn how a social media strategy focussed on audience engagement and customer service helped the British Museum attract millions of new followers—while deepening engagement and uncovering actionable insights.


more tweet responses, increasing customer engagement


tweets tagged and analysed to uncover actionable insights


new followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

What they did

Web British Museum Twitter I Pad

The British Museum created its first social accounts on Twitter and Facebook in 2009, later adding accounts on Instagram and YouTube. By 2016, demand for content from the Museum’s global audience was outstripping the team’s resources for creating content and engaging on social.

In response, the Museum drafted a two-year strategic plan for social media to reinforce its brand as a museum “of the world, for the world” while increasing engagement with its growing international audience.

The strategy set out the following three key goals:

  1. Increase online reach and engagement
  2. Deliver digital-first customer service to strengthen relationships with customers
  3. Identify opportunities for income and revenue generation

The Museum selected Hootsuite Enterprise to execute on its new social media strategy and achieve its goals.

The British Museum has an obligation to its visitors across the world, both online and offline, to experience its collection. Our aim as a marketing team is to tell compelling stories so as to create a lifelong relationship with visitors and aspirational visitors. Social media is a vital cornerstone of this.

Hannah Boulton Head of Marketing and Press The British Museum

How they did it

Web British Museum How1

The British Museum used Hootsuite to deliver exceptional customer service on social media and extend its marketing campaigns across social channels.

Listening and engaging to build reach and relationships

The Museum organised its social media team into two functions, with one group responsible for developing new content and the other focussed on monitoring, engaging, and reporting on audience insights. The team used Hootsuite’s dashboard to manage all aspects of the social media content life cycle, from planning and publishing to engaging with followers and logging responses. With the ability to detect and analyse spikes in social media activity, the team was able to monitor and join relevant conversations on social in real time.

Web British Museum How2

Winning new followers with channel-specific content

The Museum’s early social media efforts focussed on cross-posting identical content to multiple channels. As part of the new strategy, the team identified opportunities to develop channel-specific content that makes the best use of each social media channel.
The Museum now uses Facebook Live to create engaging experiences that bring its collections to people in more than 75 countries around the world. It has also partnered with Oculus VR on a pilot project to create the first interactive 360-degree virtual reality experience directly within Facebook’s News Feed.

Tracking results to fine-tune strategy

With a small team managing a complex multi-channel publishing strategy and engaging with a global audience, the Museum needs the ability to track results and adapt its social media strategy as needed to ensure it remains effective.

Hootsuite helped the team set up processes to maximise efficiency, freeing the team to spend more time creating quality content and engaging personally with followers. By setting up reporting features that track results against key performance indicators, the team has been able to analyse results, improve response times, and focus on the activities that get the best results.

Implementing Hootsuite has given us the ability to monitor which items of content seeded on social are receiving high engagement from our followers, allowing us to tailor future content pieces to be as relevant and compelling as possible. This insight continues to help our social marketing team maximise their time and effort.

Hannah Boulton Head of Marketing and Press The British Museum

Learn more about the product helping the British Museum succeed with social

The results

Web British Museum Results

Over the past year, the British Museum has seen the fastest overall social audience growth within its peer group, surpassing Tate, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre.

Since the Museum started using Hootsuite, its follower numbers have grown by 141 percent on Twitter, 123 percent on Instagram, and 20 percent on Facebook.

In addition, the Museum has pulled ahead of its peers for Facebook and Twitter interaction rates, with more engagement logged than ever before. On Twitter alone, the Museum earned more than 56 thousand mentions in a one-year period.

In the same period, the Museum delivered on its commitment to provide efficient, 24/7 customer service, increasing the number of tweets it replies to by 126 percent. And by tagging and analysing more than 1,300 of those tweets in Hootsuite, the Museum has been able to uncover actionable insights and improve visitor experience.

From boosting brand awareness and reputation to supporting ecommerce sales and online donations, the Museum continues to find new and innovative ways to deliver compelling experiences on social—helping turn visitors and followers alike into lifelong museum advocates.

Photography ©Trustees of the British Museum

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