There is no doubting the commercial and marketing power of Twitter. It is ironic that this hugely popular social media platform has yet to really make a commercial profit for its owners. But the multi-billion dollar value of the social media site underlines the vast number of people that now utilise this fast-moving site on a daily basis.
With the eyes of the world, and youth in particular, on Twitter, it is hardly surprising that the social media site offers huge marketing potential. And digital marketers are coming up with ever more innovative and absorbing ways to get their messages across to the general public via the Twitter platform.
One such intriguing recent attempt to engage consumers via Twitter is the emergence of the concept of Twitter Tours. These streams of social media consciousness effectively offer people the opportunity to experience something from the comfort of their own home that would only usually be possible at close quarters.
A fascinating example of this was presented by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Via the gallery’s Twitter feed, the Scottish National Gallery offered followers the opportunity to experience a modern art exhibition. Featuring the work of French-American artist and sculptor Louise Joséphine Bourgeois, this Twitter Tour offered fans of modern art the opportunity to experience her work at close quarters without ever needing, as the campaign promoted, “to leave their desk / couch / bed / hammock”!
The guide to this unique Twitter tour of Bouregois’ work was the Senior Curator of the museum, Lucy Askew. By producing a series of a regular post via Twitter, Askew was able to not only demonstrate some of Bourgeois' work to followers, but also provide the sort of insight and information that would be a central feature of an actual museum tour. The exhibition gathered sculptures, drawings and prints spanning 63 years of Bourgeois’ eight decade career.
Attracting a Worldwide Audience
Within minutes of this unique event beginning, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art’s Twitter feed wasn't able to report that it had been hugely successful. And the fantastic aspect of this type of campaign, as opposed to the usual museum exhibition, is that people who cannot practically or financially afford to travel are suddenly provided with the opportunity to experience something that would otherwise remain remote.
Consequently, Askew reported that Twitter followers from Moscow to Boston via London had all engaged with this unique Twitter Tour, and the enthusiasm for the concept and the work of the artist was quite evident from the response.
As well as enabling Twitter followers to journey through this unique museum exhibition, the Twitter Tour in question was also able to point interested parties in the direction of the exhibition catalogue and online shop. This underlines the commercial value of engaging in such Twitter Tours; effectively, they can be used as a way to genuinely engage consumers and then signpost users toward content that they will wish to purchase, which commercially benefits a particular brand or business.
The multimedia nature of Twitter also ensures that this particular tour could actually offer content which wouldn't be possible in a museum setting. For example, compositions based on Bourgeois’ work performed by musicians from Edinburgh Napier University could be accessed via the museum's Twitter feed. Having visited the exhibition and researched the life and work of the artist, students from the university were asked to compose pieces of music that they thought best reflected the themes that they had experienced. Offering this as part of the Twitter Tour undoubtedly enhanced the overall experience of participating.
In addition, the Twitter tour also encompassed both photographic and video material, as the museum evidently did everything within its power to offer a truly varied and absorbing campaign.
Followers of the tour were also given the opportunity to download an app which has been produced by the Museum. ArtHunter is a free mobile app which is particularly suited to art lovers. ArtHunter enables users to discover, browse and capture selected artworks, and then discover more about them with exclusive content provided from artists and experts.
Potential for Destinations
Although this particular Twitter Tour was focused on an art Museum, it does not need a huge amount of imagination to conceive how this technique could be utilised for other destinations as well. A tour around a particular region or island could prove particularly popular, and the nature of Twitter ensures that a wide variety of engaging content could be produced.
Twitter Tours provide an excellent way to offer something of value to existing customers, as well as attracting new consumers into the fold as well. They offer a particularly valuable marketing tool for destinations, with the potential to showcase the best qualities of a region to a captive audience in an intellectually engaging and valuable way.
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