The aim of this thesis is to examine how and why art museums engage with audiences on Instagram and to identify the factors that indicate a successful social media strategy. Instagram, in particular, the image-based social media platform that is suitable to present and mediate digital visual content. It offered the opportunities for the museum to mediate between communication and content-presentation in the platform that extended beyond the physical space of the museum; allowing the museum to create new experiences through their audiences’ involvement and active participation. Therefore, knowing what forms of activity will be most effective, and what prompts the audience to engage are all crucial to the success of social media activity in the museum sector. While previous studies have focused on the consumer perception of the social media usage among museums, little attention has been paid to how museums implement social media effectively. The research question is: How do museums communicate through Instagram and to what extent does an Instagram account reflect the institutional objectives to engage with the audience? This thesis is conducted on the basis of qualitative content analysis, by analyzing and interpreting the contents from three of the prominent art museums in the Netherland: the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. The analysis not only revealed the specific characteristics that varied between the museums, but also the importance of Instagram in terms of audience engagement. In addition, three emerging themes demonstrate the objectives of museums on Instagram, namely, enabling digital consumption of artworks; taste formation and education, and public image of the museum. All in all, three museums show some common tendencies to engage with its audience, while the effectiveness of the strategy comes to how they can manage to catch on the attention of the audience and stimulate them to interact.

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Trilce Navarrete Hernandez
Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship , Master Arts, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Jullaya Vorasuntharosoth. (2018, June 12). Instagram and Online Presence Among Art Museums - An Investigation of Instagram Content on Audience Engagement. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from