Museum Event and Twitter Marketing: A Case Study from Indonesia


Ajeng Arainikasih, Indonesia

Abstract

The number of social media users in Indonesia is relatively high compared to other countries. In 2012, 19.5 million Indonesian are on Twitter. In contrast, most museums in Indonesia (both public and private museums) do not have marketing officer nor social media officer! Indonesian museums rarely use social media for promoting their programs or events. Within this paper I discuss the effectiveness of Twitter as social media marketing for museum events. As a case study I conduct research on Museum Ceria’s events. Museum Ceria is an independent museum educator in Jakarta which specialized in designing public programs within museums. The result of this research could be used as recommendation for museums in Indonesia to start using social media as their marketing strategies.

Keywords: museum public program, family visitor, social media marketing, Twitter

1. Background

Zahava Doering (2007) noted that there are three common attitudes of museums towards their visitors: recognize them as strangers, guests, or clients. Museum that perceive their visitors as strangers focus on collecting, preserving, and studying their collections – whether or not they are visited. Museums that consider their visitors as guests try to attract the public to their museums through advertising and provide facilities to meet their visitors’ needs. When museums see visitors as clients they adopt corporate principles and approaches. In the past three years, Doering has extended her thinking to consider museums USERS instead of clients. This term, with its origins in electronic media, gives people both an active and a participatory role in creating their own museum experiences. (2012)

Museums are accountable for their products (such as exhibitions and public programs), as well as showing their social effectiveness and worth. Doering’s theory is related to Marstine’s (2006). Marstine identified museums as shrines, colonizing spaces, market-driven corporations, and ‘post-museum’ entities. Museums as shrines are traditional-object oriented museum which see their visitors as strangers. Market-driven ‘corporate’ museums try to attract tourists through blockbuster exhibitions and provide facilities such as restaurants, shops and venues to hire to meet the needs of its “guests.” Marstine’s post-museum concept is similar to Doering’s theory of museums that recognize its visitors as clients, in that museum are supposed to address social problems, present multiple voices, and so on.

Denise Cole (2008) also describes museums as market-driven:

Museums have had to become more market-oriented. They must compete with other leisure providers to stay afloat, and/or meet government funding requirements relating to earned income, visitor numbers and audience composition.

By contrast, in Indonesia, marketing is not common in the museum sector. Most museums in Indonesia did not even have a marketing officer! Most Indonesian museums (either public or private) are still “traditional.” They are object-oriented, and see their visitors as strangers. Museums exhibitions are presented for passive consumption; there are rarely interactive and participatory approaches to exhibition design. Knowledge about the collection is provided by the museum curator as expert, and there are no other voices within the exhibits. There are very few Indonesian museums that provide good facilities for their visitors as well. Museums’ shops, canteens and other facilities don’t meet the needs of their mainly middle-upper class visitors. Museums in Indonesia are not yet a market-driven industry, although, in 2011 there were 45 million Indonesian people identified as middle class (Hananto, 2011). Indonesian museums in general – with their cheap tickets and dusty-glass cases displays – are not appealing to middle-upper class Indonesians. Museums are less visited compared to shopping malls. Thus most museum visitors are school children who visit the museums on school excursions. In order to attract other audiences as well, Indonesian museums need to start considering marketing and banding concepts to compete primarily with shopping malls.

For that reason, within this research I try to examine the effectiveness of social media marketing, especially Twitter, on marketing museum’s events in Indonesia. As a case study, I surveyed Museum Ceria, an independent museum education firm based in Jakarta, which occasionally organizes events for middle class families in different museums. Museum Ceria promotes their events mainly through the Internet and social media. Thus I conducted interviews by e-mail with those who attend Museum Ceria’s events. I also conducted deeper interviews with those who attend Museum Ceria’s events because of their promotion on Twitter. The result of this research hopefully will raise awareness among Indonesian museums of the importance of marketing, and especially the effectiveness of social media marketing, in this digital and mobile era.

2. Marketing in Museums

Marketing is typically seen as a technique used to sell products or services to consumers, mainly by means of advertising (Tobelem, 2007). As discussed by McLean (1997), marketing in western museums is a relatively new practice; early references to museum marketing were made in 1969 by Kotler and Levy. Until that time, museums were to a large degree unfamiliar with commercial marketing practices; however, because of the growth of museums, their financial challenges, competition with other cultural institutions and leisure providers, as well as the need to better understand their visitors, western museums are starting to employ common marketing techniques (Tobelem, 2007).

Kotler et al. (2010) proposed that marketing has evolved through three stages: Marketing 1.0, Marketing 2.0 and Marketing 3.0. Marketing 1.0 is product-oriented: the approach is vertical, top-down, and one-to-many. One of the techniques that is commonly employed in Marketing 1.0 is the ‘marketing mix’, described as product, price, place and promotion. Within the museum sector, products are identified as exhibitions, events, collections, facilities, educational programs, and services (Ambrose & Paine, 2006). Through their ‘marketing mix’, museums aim to attract more visitors, members and donors. Thus they manage their products to add more value to offerings, as well as develop their brand identity (Kotler et al, 2008). Companies that employ this Marketing 1.0 approach normally analyze their market, design a marketing strategy and promote products that suit their target market through advertising in mass media. Kartajaya (2008) described this as high-budget, low-impact marketing.

In this digital era with web 2.0 technology, a more impactful approach is Marketing 2.0 (or New Wave Marketing), which is customer-oriented. It is horizontal, bottom-up, peer-to-peer and many-to-many. One of the popular techniques in Marketing 2.0 is the use of social media as marketing tools. Russo et al (2008) defined social media as those digital platforms that facilitate online communication, networking, and/or collaboration. In the present day, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, and Pinterest are the most common social media platforms used for marketing.

Marketing 3.0 matches emotional marketing with ‘human spirit’ marketing. The mission of Marketing 3.0 is to practice compassion: its vision is sustainability, and its value is to make a difference. The purpose of companies that practice Marketing 3.0 is providing solutions to solve problems in the society, they want to contribute something to the world (Kotler et al, 2010). This concept suits ‘post-museum’ theory: that the museum should be socially responsible.

In present day Indonesia, marketing practice is still unfamiliar to museums. In general, there are no marketing officers in museum organizations in Indonesia. Through interviews with several government museum personnel, I learned that when a museum organizes an exhibition or other event, the museum director will declare a committee that is responsible for that event. In the committee there is a promotion officer or PR officer who is responsible for promoting the exhibition or event; however, the promotion officer and/or PR officer could be a different person in museum event. Another approach is for the museum’s administration department to handle publicity for an event or exhibition. This system is common within museums that are managed under a ministry and provincial government. I also conducted interviews with a private institution that runs six museums; they don’t have a dedicated marketing officer as well. There is an information department that is responsible for promoting their events.

To promote their temporary exhibitions and events, Indonesian museums (both public and private) usually send out invitations to their target market (school groups) and print banners. Sometimes if they have extra budget they will advertise on local radio, newspapers or magazines. Partnerships with mass media are unusual. To summarize, in the Indonesian museum sector, marketing is only seen as a tool to promote events, not to promote the whole museum, develop its brand identity, or analyze its visitors!

It is also very rare for museums in Indonesia to use social media as a promotional tool. Only approximately 20 museums out of 200 in Indonesia are on Twitter. There are higher numbers of Indonesian museums on Facebook; however, this social media use is not really official. Interviews with staff from the Indonesian Police Museum, the Aceh Province Museum, the Penerangan Museum of the Ministry of Communication and Informatics, the Asia Africa Conference Museum, the Ullen Sentalu Museum (private) and museums under the management of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (a private cultural institution) revealed that museums’ Facebook and/or Twitter accounts are mostly created under museum staff’s own initiative with approval from their directors. There is no authorized social media officer. Only the Asia Africa Conference Museum and the Ullen Sentalu Museum officially have a social media officer. As a result, social media is not used effectively as a marketing tool within the Indonesian museum sector.

For example, as of September 2013, among the 19 Indonesian museums I found on Twitter (private and public), only 7 museums have more than 400 followers (@AsiAfrikaMuseum 3,635 followers; @ullensentalu 2,222 followers; @MuseumNasional 1,011 followers; @MuseumTsunami 964 followers; @kolongtangga 580 followers; @MuseumBI 446 followers; and @tekstilmuseum 407 followers). Twelve others have fewer than 100 followers. Only 7 museums out of 19 have more than 100 tweets (@AsiAfrikaMuseum 13,497 tweets; @ullensentalu 2,044 tweets; @kolongtangga 1,795 tweets; @MuseumNasional 603 tweets; @MuseumTsunami 519 tweets; @MuseumBI 175 tweets; and @muspen_tmii 155 tweets). Others have sent fewer than 100 tweets. Even Marketing Museum (@MM3Ubud) never send tweets at all! To conclude, only the Asia Africa Conference Museum (@AsiAfrikaMuseum) and Ullen Sentalu Museum (@ullensentalu) use social media (particularly Twitter) effectively. This is most likely because of they have official social media staff.

In contrast to the data above, in 2012 there were 61.08 million Indonesians identified as Internet users. 95% of them (58 million people) access the Internet through notebook, netbook, or tablet computers and mobile or cell phones (Karimuddin, 2013). Moreover, there are 43.06 million Indonesians on Facebook (Supratiwi, 2012) and 19.5 million were on Twitter in 2012 (Asih, 2012). Thus Marketing 2.0 – mainly social media marketing – could be very powerful in Indonesia.

Aware of this situation and the changing social media culture, Museum Ceria, an independent museum educator based in Jakarta, tried to employ a New Wave Marketing approach (Marketing 2.0 and Marketing 3.0). Museum Ceria was established in 2010. Its aim is to make Indonesian children love Indonesian history and cultural heritage through visiting museums in a fun way. At first, they focused on developing active learning activities for schools excursions to museums. Museum Ceria wanted to change the one-way guided tour that is commonly used by museums to serve its school children visitors. Museum Ceria was also aware that most middle class families in Indonesia are not museum-goers. Thus in 2012 they started organizing family events called Family Weekends in different museums. Museum Ceria charges for its school excursions, and they target private and international schools as their clients. However, they conduct not-for-profit activity within their Family Weekend events. Their aim is to make changes in Indonesia, and help museums appeal to middle class families. They want to bring more middle class families to museums and prove that museums are not boring places to visit! They don’t ask for sponsorship to run these events: all the costs are covered by the participants. Thus, to minimize costs they promote their events primarily via the Internet and social media.

This study tries to examine the effectiveness of Twitter as one social media marketing platform for the Museum Ceria events. As of September 2013 Museum Ceria had already held six Family Weekend events. The activities in the Family Weekend are designed especially for families with kids age 2-4 (Toddler Class) and 5-12 (Kids Class).

The research methods used within this research were questionnaires and e-mail interviews. Museum Ceria sent out questionnaires after each event. I analyzed the respondents’ answers to the questionnaires to understand through which media the participants heard about the event. Then I sent out e-mails to specific respondents who could inform this study further to understand their responses more deeply. The information below summarizes the research’s results.

Event Name

Pemburu Naga

Oud Bank Mysterie

Kisah Kelana

Ensiklopedi Dewi

Green Philatelist

Citralekha Raja

Total

Word of Mouth (WOM)

8

20.5%

6

35.3%

4

23.5%

3

37.5%

4

23.5%

9

23%

34

24.8%

Twitter

15

38.5%

4

23.5%

7

41.2%

3

37.5%

6

35.3%

13

33.4%

48

35%

Other Internet Sources / Media Partner

7

18%

4

23.5%

6

35.3%

2

25%

7

41.2%

10

25.6%

36

26.3%

Not Answer

9

23%

3

17.7%

0

0%

0

0%

0

0%

7

18%

19

13.9%

Total

39

100%

17

100%

17

100%

8

100%

17

100%

39

100%

137

100%

Table 1. Number of new participants in each of Museum Ceria’s events and the media through which they got the events’ information

Pemburu Naga, (The Dragon Hunter), was Museum Ceria’s first Family Weekend event held in January 2012 at the National Museum of Indonesia. It was held to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon. At Pemburu Naga, Kids and their parents learned about multiculturalism in Indonesia. Promotional tools for Pemburu Naga were word of mouth, tweets and twit pics on Museum Ceria’s Twitter account, as well as posts on Museum Ceria’s Facebook page and Blog. Museum Ceria also sent press releases to the mass media, and got one free listing on AdaDiskon’s websites. Companies pay for the AdaDiskon website to promote their products; however, AdaDiskon voluntarily promotes Museum Ceria’s event for free. Evaluation of the event showed that 55 children from 39 families participated in Pemburu Naga. Eight parents or families (20.5%) knew about the event from word of mouth; 15 parents (38.5%) got the information from Twitter; 7 parents (18%) knew from the Internet – Museum Ceria’s blog and website in general; and 9 others (23%) did not return the questionnaires.

The second Family Weekend was Oud Bank Mysterie (The Mystery of the Old Bank) held in April 2012 at the Bank Mandiri Museum to celebrate the World Bank’s birthday. In this event, kids and families learned about investment through a mystery game. The promotional activity of this event was much the same as Pemburu Naga: an e-mail blast was sent to past participants, posts were uploaded to Museum Ceria’s Facebook page and Blog, were posted on Twitter, and Museum Ceria got one free listing on the Area Magazine online website. The Oud Bank Mysterie event was attended by 52 kids from 32 families. 46.9 % (15 families) were repeat participants from the last event, while 53.1% (17 families) were new participants. The repeat participants knew Museum Ceria already: they had received e-mail notifications about the upcoming events, and some of them were already Museum Ceria’s Twitter followers as well. Six parents (35.3 %) of the new participants joined Oud Bank Mysterie because they got a recommendation from their family or friends (word of mouth). Four parents (12.5%) of the new participants knew about the event from Twitter, and another four parents (12.5%) knew from other publications on Internet. Three others (17.7%) didn’t return the questionnaire.

The third event was Kisah Kelana (Traveler’s Tale), held in October 2012 at the Transportation Museum. The Toddler Class activity (a singing tour of the museum with an acoustic guitar) was first held in this Kisah Kelana event. Unlike the previous two events, Museum Ceria established a partnership with the media to promoted Kisah Kelana. They got Liburan Anak, Mommiesdaily, and 90.4 Cosmopolitan FM as their official media partners. Both Liburan Anak and Mommiesdaily are websites devoted to kids and family activity. They published posts about Kisah Kelana’s on their website and tweeted about the event. Furthermore, 90.4 Cosmopolitan FM promoted the event on air through their radio programs (spots). As a result, 56 kids from 30 families participated in the event. The evaluation of the event showed that 13 families (43.3%) were repeat customers. Moreover, information gathered from the questionnaires of the new participants (17 families) showed that four of them (23.5%) joined the event because of word of mouth promotion. Seven parents (41.2%) knew about the information from Twitter (either Museum Ceria’s account or a media partners’ account) and another six parents (35.3 %) knew about the event from a media partner (website and/or radio spots).

The fourth Family Weekend was Ensiklopedi Dewi (The Encyclopedia of the Goddess) held in March 2013 at Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Museum. Ensiklopedi Dewi was held to celebrate International Women’s Day. Kids accompanied by their parents played six different games related to museum objects to collect goddess stickers and learn about goddesses from around the world. This Ensiklopedi Dewi event was also supported by Liburan Anak and Mommiesdaily as the official media partners. This event was attended by 27 kids from 17 families. Nine families were repeat participants who knew about the event through Museum Ceria’s e-mail blast and/or Twitter account. From the other eight new family participants, three parents (37.5%) joined this event because of word of mouth promotion from their friends or families. Three (37.5%) others got the information from Twitter, and the other two (25%) knew the information from other Internet sources (Liburan Anak or Mommiesdaily websites).

The fifth event was Green Philatelist, held to celebrate Earth Day on April 2013 at the Stamp Museum. Within this event, kids and parents explored endangered animals through stamps. The official media partners for Green Philatelist were Liburan Anak, Mommiesdaily, 90.4 Cosmopolitan FM, Ayahbunda Magazine, and DAAI TV. Liburan Anak and Mommiesdaily published posts about Green Philatelist on their website and tweeted about the event. 90.4 Cosmopolitan FM helped with radio spots, while Ayahbunda Magazine and DAAI TV published the event’s story on the magazine and TV afterwards. The event was attended by 39 kids from 27 families. Ten families (37%) were repeat clients. Of the other 17 new families, four (23.5%) joined the event because of word of mouth recommendations. Six others (35.3 %) joined because they got the information from Twitter. And seven other parents (41.2 %) knew about the Green Philatelist event from media partners’ websites or radio spots.

The sixth and the last of Museum Ceria’s Family Weekend events in this study was Citralekha Raja (The King’s Citralekha). Citralekha Raja was held at the National Museum on June 2013 to commemorate 100 years of Indonesian Archaeological Institution. Kids and their parents were engaged in translating the Pallawas and Old Javanese script as well as searching for particular inscriptions to understand the history of Indonesia’s ancient kingdoms. This event was supported by Liburan Anak, Mommiesdaily, Ayahbunda Magazine, National Geographic Kids Magazine, and XY Kids! Magazine as the official media partners. Promotion on Twitter before the event was also helped by media partners and other partners such as Wondermiddel Cupcake and Kids Yoga Jakarta. As a result, there were 64 kids from 49 families participating in Citralekha Raja. Ten families (20.4%) were repeat clients while another 39 families (79.6%) were new members of Museum Ceria’s Family Weekends. The data shown that nine families (23%) joined the event because of word of mouth, 13 others (33.4%) knew the event from Twitter, ten parents (25.6%) got the information from the media partners’ websites, and 7 others (18%) did not answer the question.

The data above showed that from 137 family participants at six Museum Ceria’s Family Weekend, 34 participants (28.5%) joined the events for the first time because of a recommendation from their friends and/or family (world of mouth). Another 48 participants (35%) knew about the events from Twitter: either the Museum Ceria’s Twitter account or media partners’ Twitter accounts. Another 36 participants (26.3%) joined because they saw or heard the information from other media such as the Museum Ceria website, Facebook page, radio spots and/or media partners’ free listings. 19 participants (13.9%) were unidentified because they did not answer or did not return Museum Ceria’s questionnaires.

Other interesting finding from this research is that 85.4% of participants (41 out of 48) who joined Museum Ceria’s Family Weekend events based on information they found on Twitter were women, while only 14.6% (7 out of 48) were men. I also sent e-mails to those 48 participants and got 14 replies that the attendees were interested in attending Museum Ceria’s events because of the tweets’ content; few had seen posts about the events. The age range of the respondents was 25-45 years old.

As a comparison, the Asia Africa Conference Museum in Bandung already used Twitter to market their events since 2009. Interviews with its Twitter admin showed that approximately 85% of the museum’s event participants found out about the events on Twitter. Moreover, 75% of them were students and/or university students age 15-25 who use gadgets and social media. Recently (from August and September 2013) the National Museum of Indonesia has also employed Twitter to promote their current public programs; however, the National Museum hired an Event Organizer to manage the public program, when the Executive Office decided to use Twitter as their marketing forces: the museum’s Twitter activity is not managed by the museum’s own staff as it is at the Asia Africa Conference Museum. Because this public program is still ongoing, there is no evaluation yet on how effective their Twitter marketing is.

As low-budget, high-impact marketing (Kartajaya, 2008), using Twitter to market museums’ events in Indonesia is quite effective, both for youth and adults. In Museum Ceria’s case, the age range of Twitter respondents is 25-45 years old. Unlike Museum Ceria, the Asia Africa Conference Museum’s Twitter users are 15-25 years old. This means that through Twitter, museums could easily reach Indonesian public both young and older (adults) to promote their museum events and deliver their brand identities with minimum cost. Furthermore, the majority of Museum Ceria’s participants who knew about the events’ information from Twitter were female: museums should also consider the role of the mother in deciding to bring their children to visit museums for family events.

The content posted on Twitter is important. It should be appealing but informative at the same time. Kurniawan (2012) noted that there are strategies for social media marketing. For instances, companies or museums should listen more to their followers, engage them in conversations and not only promote their products but also add valued information, be patient, consistent and also accountable.

To conclude, it is important for museums in Indonesia to start thinking about museum marketing, especially social media marketing. The large numbers of middle class people and Internet users in Indonesia are offer much potential for social media marketing. It will be such a waste if museums let go of the opportunity and the power of social media to attract non-museum goers to visit museums. Indonesian museums should move on from its traditional state to those of market-driven museums, and even take a ‘post-museum’ approach to marketing!

Acknowledgements

First of all, I would like to say thank you to all participants in this research. I am also grateful to Arief Djoko Budiono, Desmond, Yuri Arief Waspodo, Hafnidar, Alwan Hadi, Fajar, Ahmad Fikri Hadi, Rini Haryani, Daniel Haryono, Deasy Dwi Jayati, Dewi Yuliyanti, Tri Winarsih, and @museum_weekend for the very valuable discussions and information they provided me for this research.

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Cite as:
A. Arainikasih, Museum Event and Twitter Marketing: A Case Study from Indonesia. In , N. Proctor & R. Cherry (eds). Silver Spring, MD: Museums and the Web. Published September 30, 2013. Consulted .
https://mwa2013.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/museum-event-and-twitter-marketing-a-case-study-from-indonesia/


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