Facebook is generating a great deal of interest at the moment with calls from all sides for people to boycott it. We here at the museum do find it very valuable. Whilst understanding that the problems being discussed need at least clarification we rather hope that our audience carry on using the platform.
Why? When you run an industrial museum with a subject as hard to sell as bricks any form of ‘word of mouth’ advertising is incredibly useful. We have always found that one of the main reasons people visit is because a friend has told them about us – without that recommendation perhaps the idea of a museum of bricks is one step too far!
Facebook gives us an online version of this. If one ‘friend’ recommends a visit instead of one person picking this up lots do. For us it is, therefore, a hugely valuable marketing tool and when your marketing budget would feed a gerbil for less than a week it really does make a difference.
Another interesting questions is are we a ‘bot’? No, is the simple answer. The museum Facebook page is a legitimate not-for-profit business page. This places fairly hefty limitations on what we are allowed to do. For example we are not allowed to post on other people’s pages or actively go out there to promote ourselves (unless we pay for advertising). The best way we have found to reach out is to use our own personal pages and ask groups if they would share an event for us. Mostly they say yes. Sometimes they even get enthusiastically involved. It is a bit clunky but in terms of not abusing your presence on what is supposed to be a friends network it feels right to us.
To our friends on Facebook, we do understand the dilemmas but hope that you won’t forsake us!