Bringing art to the Snapchat generation

By on Thursday, July 23, 2015

Say you’ve got some content, and say you’d like to reach new audiences beyond your usual and encourage them to engage with your institution – social media might be the way you’d go.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been doing just that, and even though their content is a tremendously varied body of art work spanning the entirety of human endeavour, they’ve been incredibly successful, and incredibly targeted with their strategy.

LACMA has a good spread of audiences, with 250,000 likes on Facebook, half a million Twitter followers and 250,000 more on Instagram. And their innovative use of Snapchat has been drawing attention.

The key to their success is an understanding of the medium. Social media platforms are a diverse bunch, and you have to find a way to make your message and your content resonate with a particular set of users.

Three examples: the biggest growing demographic on Facebook is 65+, 79% of LinkedIn users are aged over 35, six in ten Instagram users are 34 or under.

Even knowing nothing else, you’d be unlikely to approach those three groups in the same way: different age groups, on different platforms designed for a different purpose. On Snapchat, where the average age of a user is 18 and messages expire in seconds, the difference is even more pronounced.


At Linstock, we looked into the way in which digital and social media were changing for our recent Future of Search and Social Report. Our conclusion was that content is king – whether you’re building your brand or focusing on a specific product of service – but picking the right platform for it was important to get the best value out of it.

LACMA is the perfect example of this. On Facebook they post once a day, focusing on art and current exhibits. On Instagram, the photos are mostly shots of LACMA itself, featuring art, installations, and artists and visitors themselves. They also recently ran a #museumselfies campaign, where visitors were encouraged to post photos of themselves at LACMA.

So, on Facebook, it’s about information. On Instagram, it’s about involvement.

On Snapchat, where they’ve gathered all that attention, LACMA use humour – the images above being an example. Messages on the app have a short lifespan, expiring a few seconds after being viewed; they are a quick hit boost to brand recognition among a younger demographic, rather than aimed at bringing them along to any specific event.

Despite eclectic content and diverse audiences, LACMA runs a targeted social media strategy and therein is the key lesson.

We often think of social media as a nubulous whole, when in fact it is a series of crisp, well-defined outlets. Used effectively, you can target specific audiences and demographics, and achieve strong results.

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