In today's digital age, cultural institutions such as museums and theaters have an incredible opportunity to connect with their audiences like never before. One of the most effective ways to engage visitors is through user-generated content (UGC), where institutions invite museum and theater visitors to produce photos, videos, audio clips, or text – effectively co-creating or commenting on works. In this blog article, we explore how cultural institutions can use UGC to engage the audience, build community, drive innovation, and even boost ticket sales. We'll also look at some examples where museums and theater companies have used UGC as part of their outreach strategy.
1. Engaging the audience
Cultural institutions can leverage UGC to enhance the overall visitor experience. The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon implemented a UGC campaign called "Share Your Shakespeare". This initiative encouraged theatergoers to share their personal Shakespearean moments, whether a favorite quote, a memorable performance, or a personal connection to his works. Participants were invited to post their stories, photos, and videos on social media platforms using the hashtag #ShareYourShakespeare.
2. Building community
User-generated content provides a platform for individuals to share their experiences, stories, and perspectives related to cultural institutions. For example, The Brooklyn Museum in New York encouraged visitors to share their artwork inspired by their collection using the hashtag #mybkm. The museum then curated and showcased selected pieces on their social media platforms, fostering a sense of community and showcasing diverse interpretations of their exhibits.
3. Driving innovation
By embracing UGC, cultural institutions can tap into their audience's creativity and unique perspectives. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City initiated the #EmptyMet campaign, inviting visitors to capture and share photographs of the museum's empty galleries during special early-morning access. This UGC initiative not only showcased the beauty of the museum's spaces but also allowed visitors to become active participants and creators, driving innovation and offering a fresh perspective on the museum experience.
4. Boosting reach and ticket sales
UGC has the potential to extend the reach of cultural institutions beyond their current audience, ultimately leading to an increase in ticket sales. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam launched the "Rijksstudio" initiative, allowing visitors to create their own collections of artworks from the museum's digital collection and share them with others. This UGC approach not only inspired visitors to explore and curate their own artistic narratives but also generated widespread interest and attracted new visitors to the museum.
UGC in art and culture
User-generated content presents a tremendous opportunity for cultural institutions to engage their audiences in meaningful and innovative ways. By harnessing the power of UGC, museums and theaters have successfully enhanced visitor engagement, fostered a sense of community, driven innovation through co-creation, amplified their reach, and boosted ticket sales. As institutions in the art and culture space continue to adapt to the evolving digital landscape, leveraging UGC will undoubtedly be a powerful tool in shaping the future of audience engagement and the overall success of these institutions.