Social Media Strategy FY17-20

Introduction

The National Archives was founded in 1934 to preserve the records of the Federal Government and make them available to its citizens. Since then, we have grown to include 13 Presidential libraries and museums, multiple archival facilities, and educational centers located across the country. We reach millions of visitors and researchers each year at these locations.

In 2009, we launched our first blog as a pilot project to build a community and increase transparency in the Federal Government. Soon after, the National Archives established a presence on Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook. In 2010, we introduced our first social media strategy to continue our commitment to open government and empower staff to use social media.

Six years later, the landscape of digital media has evolved and grown. Our digital presence reaches hundreds of millions of people. More than 200 National Archives staff actively contribute to 130 social media accounts on 14 different platforms, generating over 250 million views in 2015.

But whether on paper or a digital platform, the core mission of the National Archives remains unchanged. Social media now gives us more opportunities than ever before to provide access to the records of the Federal government. Through any of our social platforms, we can give people the information they need to learn from the past, to ensure their rights, to hold their government accountable, and to participate in the civic process.

With the explosion of digital choices, audience needs have changed and their criteria for following cultural organizations has matured. We need to provide exceptional content to stand out—even if it means reaching beyond our comfort zone and trying new approaches.

As we continue to digitize more of our holdings, we have more stories to share. We also want to tell our audiences about the work of our diverse staff and the stories they find. Our staff need an updated social media strategy that guides decision-making and focuses our energies and resources so that we can make a bigger impact and more deeply engage people online. This updated strategy also aims to create more opportunities for different levels of staff participation so that we can have greater coordination and impact in the stories that we share.

This new strategy document looks toward the next three years (FY 2017–2020) and will evolve over time. It is intended to serve our staff and help them create digital content that engages, delights, and illuminates.