Social Media Strategy FY17-20

Goal 2: Deepen Engagement

Our mission is to make access happen. In the broadest sense, we want people to see and experience our holdings—whether they are in a research room, in an exhibit space, or on a computer—and then share these stories with others. Rather than just publishing content, we want to hear from our audiences and deepen our relationships with them through feedback and conversation. We want our curious visitors to connect with the stories in our holdings and become loyal, enthusiastic advocates for the work of the National Archives. We want to engage our audiences through exciting, low-barrier opportunities to be a part of our mission and do meaningful work on behalf of their country and fellow citizens.

Action: Our campaigns have compelling calls to action that drive engagement. Content creators choose topics and content that audiences want to talk about and share.

Action: Staff take time to plan and develop campaigns. Staff schedule time to create great content, build useful partnerships, engage with audiences throughout the campaign, and analyze data after the launch to provide future recommendations.

Action: The team works with content creators to select the best platforms for each campaign and use them to connect with target audiences.

Action: The team establishes and maintains an internal quarterly editorial calendar for the agency to generate engagement ideas and define goals, messaging, and timelines. Content creators use the calendar to plan projects and determine the amount of time and coordination needed.

The team researches, forms, and develops partnerships with people and organizations to help spread the word about our campaigns. The team uses these partnerships to learn more about our audiences and their needs.

Action: Ask our partners and our audiences what they want. The team helps develop partnerships with organizations and influencers (power users on social platforms) to learn what our audiences want so that our combined campaign efforts make a greater impact. For each major social campaign, content creators have at least one official partnership and reach out to at least one influencer.

Action: The team creates social media tool kits that share the campaign calls to action, and we share these kits with our partners and influencers.

Action: Content creators research influencers and reach out to them through Instameets, Tweetups, and special behind-the-scenes opportunities like tours and demonstrations so that they are inspired to tell stories from our holdings to their audience.

Action: The team have a planned, cohesive outreach campaign on social media for the annual Virtual Genealogy Fair. Using analytics, the team looks for new places where our audiences might be. The team reaches out to Ancestry and other genealogy organizations, and at least three power-users on Twitter.

The team creates crowdsourcing opportunities for audiences to contribute their skills and experiences to our mission.

Action: Social media posts include calls to action as a way to participate in the story, whether by sharing, commenting, or transcribing.

Action: The National Archives offers participatory opportunities on social media that can’t be found elsewhere. For example, we partner with Mount Vernon on July 4 to transcribe documents written by George Washington.

Action: Content creators build connections with schools and youth groups to encourage them to participate in crowdsourcing events.

Action: National Archives locations promote crowdsourcing to on-site visitors in our physical spaces. We set two of the computers in the Boeing Learning Lab to be signed in to a general account so that visitors can easily transcribe documents on site. We have printed pieces that visitors can take home to encourage them to visit the Citizen Archivist dashboard.

The team creates a flagship news feed on the National Archives website that pulls in posts from our social media channels. Audiences can choose and curate stories from this entertaining up-to-date news stream.

Action: The team coordinates development or procurement of a tool for aggregating and displaying social media on our websites.We track social media and web data on the most popular topics that audiences respond to on our digital publications. We use these topics to establish filtered categories that audiences can personalize and subscribe to.

Action: The team brainstorms new ways to leverage social media content. For example, we pilot a new monthly email newsletter featuring interesting content for an audience that prefers recaps and email.

Action: The team invites audiences to help curate content for social media platforms. For example, we develop a mechanism for the public to help find and select items for Today’s Document. We will also invite influencers and individuals from our audiences to guest edit a social media campaign.

Data plays a critical role in helping NARA connect with customers and encourage greater participation in our mission.

  • Content creators define measures of success at the start of each project to help us understand how our content performs and make improvements. These include comments, user-contributed images, transcriptions, and questions asked and answered.
  • Content creators use a Digital Plan before and after the project to plan for and measure success. The plan and report help align objectives and tactics and help us assess what worked and what didn’t. This data informs how we build success over time.

#ElectionCollection Through #ElectionCollection, we built an engaged community of more than 100 institutions, earned an average weekly reach of 4 million, and grew our own Instagram and Twitter audiences. The posts reached a combined 64 million users on Twitter and Instagram, with an average weekly reach of 4 million. On Tuesdays, when we announced the week’s theme, Twitter “impressions” for @USNatArchives doubled and sometimes tripled   

  • What People are Saying: ““For the past few months, the Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and PBS's American Experience have been running a Twitter and Instagram hashtag—#ElectionCollection—as a way of encouraging museums, libraries, archives, and collectors to share their election-related documents and memorabilia. The results have been glorious.”-Slate