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Being the Dual Authority and Breezy Fun Read
By Jennifer Rohrbaugh Nesossis
I am 34 years old and I am currently the programs officer at the Virginia Historical Society. I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2002, where I double majored in Anthropology and Archaeology and minored in Biochemistry. I received my MA in Art History with a concentration in Museum Studies in 2007 from Virginia Commonwealth University. While I was attending VCU, I began working at the VHS as a work-study student in the education department. In 2005, I was hired as a full-time outreach educator and traveled across Virginia taking history programs into classroom, libraries, community and retirement centers. In other words, I was a traveling history teacher. In 2011, I transferred to the publications department. Today I also spend time working with the web and digital resources department on video and podcast projects, our recent website redesign and managing the VHS Facebook page. In 2007, a former colleague and I created the VHS MySpace page and brought the VHS into the world of social media. Since then, I have been involved in social media at the VHS.
When writing for the VHS Facebook page, I keep in mind that the page is a representation of the VHS as an organization. Some of our Facebook followers will never be able to visit our physical building and our digital platforms may be their only connection to the society. I know that people see hundreds of posts in their Facebook feed so I try to keep my posts short and include images and links whenever appropriate. Since people see the VHS as an authority on Virginia history, I want to be educational and informative. I try to not be too formal and I aim to have a casual, personable, and at times humorous voice.
While working on the VHS website redesign, many of our stakeholders and visitors kept mentioning how much they value the work that the the VHS staff. With this in mind, I highlighted the VHS staff a holiday cover photo. I am in the early stages of planning a Meet the Staff series of posts that will highlight participating staff. I really like the idea of highlighting VHS staff to our Facebook followers because it puts a face with a name and will help show off the great work and projects that staff work on behind the scenes. Since not all of our followers are able to visit us in person, I like to show what is going on around our campus. I really enjoy creating new graphics for our page. One of my favorite cover photo graphics was for Black History Month where I listed the names of famous African Americans from Virginia in the background. I received a lot of compliments about this graphic because it was able to inform our audience about events taking place at the VHS, but was also educational at the same time.
I think everyone enjoys learning and reading about random factoids. I am always looking for Virginia history related facts that I can include in our "On This Day" series. I spend a lot of time at night and on the weekends following current events and reading about social media trends, so sometimes I will come up for an idea to post about from something that I heard on the radio, saw in the news or is a trendy topic at the moment. I like to inform our Facebook followers about events taking place at the VHS or history related events and programs that might interest them. I also use the VHS collection as inspiration for posts and will highlight relevant items from the collection (for instance, a post about Valentine's Day cards in the VHS Collection in early February or asking who everyones favorite woman in Virginia history is and highlighting those women).
If you're managing a Facebook page for a major cultural institution, have fun! I always look forward to spending time creating posts, designing graphics, and helping answer questions from our Facebook followers. Always be on the lookout for great content and how you can use current events in your posts. Have a social media plan and comment policy. Continue to review these. Social media does not only happen between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and requires working outside of these normal business hours. Managing social media for a major cultural institution requires a lot of commitment and investment to make it succeed.
Keep track of your analytics. Your analytics will help you learn about your audience and track your performance to show you what type of post is working and what is not working.
Set social media goals. Some social media goals could be trying to post X number of posts per day or trying to drive more traffic to your website.
#Interview #Facebook #VirginiaHistoricalSociety #History #SocialMedia