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Putting your community archive on the digital map

Joe Mander

Liam Heatherson and Joe Mander Community Archive and Heritage Group of the Year'

Top five Facebook tips

Whilst the country is in Lockdown people can’t visit their local museums and archives, however that shouldn’t stop people’s content from being seen and shared. I established ‘Beyond the Point’ nine years ago with my friend Liam, evolving from a blog into a digital community archive, and since then we’ve rarely needed a physical presence; we’ve put all of our effort into making sure people can see out content from on the go, whether they’re on a walk or at home. Here’s our top tips for how to make your archive stand out on social media.

Facebook is where we reach our biggest audience with just over 1,850 likes on our page and every post reaches hundreds of people across the South-East. Here’s our top tips:

  • Branding – Make sure your branding is on point. It might sound like you need an expensive graphic designer, but you can do the basics without one. Make sure the profile photo and cover photo for your page represents who you are. Your profile photo should be something simple and iconic, such as a logo, so that people can visually link your website with your Facebook page. The cover photo should also link in – maybe an iconic old photo of your area, or a photo of those who work on the archive.
  • Content – It’s what everyone is looking for! Those who like your page will be looking for regular posts about your archive to see what the latest additions are. By posting regularly (at least once a week), people will continue to follow your work. Consistently posting at a similar time (say, every Saturday morning) would be ideal. When doing this, consider when your audience will be most likely be on Facebook; on a Monday morning on a train, or a Friday night for example?
  • Photos – Catch their eyes! Most people will just scroll past a load of text (hopefully you’re still reading now…) so when posting on Facebook, try and include a photo in your post. If you link to an article, you may find that one automatically appears.
  • Sharing – Once you’ve posted your content, that’s just the first step! There are hundreds of community groups on Facebook, many with thousands of members, and by sharing the occasional post in there you can really increase the reach of your posts, and how many likes your page gets. This is also a cost effective may of marketing your page without having to pay Facebook to reach local people.
  • Comments – Make sure you reply to comments on your post and do so when logged in as your page, rather than your personal account. This will allow people to ask their archives questions and to tell you information which you might not know.

Other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, are also good ways of attracting people and promoting your archive. However with Facebook, it’s easier to reach out to people and communities.

Comments about this page

  • Whilst appreciating the huge local reach of facebook, people do need to be aware that images posted to fb become part of fb’s copyright. This can hamper future attempts to find permanent accessible storage for these images in the future, and also means that you could breach copyright by reusing the images.

    By Maria Gayton (12/10/2020)

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