Many are the studies that link social media and museums. However, the focus is mainly placed on the effective implementation and use of these new tools within a communication perspective. Deepening the previous researches on the use of social media in museums, this thesis aims to investigate their specific use as a tool to gather information, especially on the audience and visitors, and whether the top management employs this information for strategic managerial purposes. Therefore, the research question is: “To what extent social media are used as an information gathering tool for grounding strategic decision making in museums?”. Social media are platforms through which users share their opinions, ideas, preferences, interests, emotional reactions and express also their approval or disapproval. Exploiting these data could help the actors in charge of the decision-making process to better direct and improve the strategic planning of museums. The research has been conducted with a qualitative method, evaluating and analysing semi-structured interviews of communication and marketing staff members responsible for the social media of a subset of 13 museums based in the Netherlands. The findings revealed that none of the museums specifically uses social media as a tool to collect data. Hence, the information they provide is not exploited in the strategic decision-making process. Even if social media platforms are more or less constantly monitored, the information acquired is mainly about the online performance and is therefore used to enhance the online activity itself. Only some of the museums are drawing data from their public through social media and only a couple of them is actually implementing this information in order to improve the offline offer. Audience research seems in fact to be more connected with other traditional collecting means. Thus, museums are not using social media as an information gathering tool for grounding strategic decision making yet. Nonetheless, eagerness to enhance the data collection and analysis process, as well as the execution of information collected online with a strategic perspective have been observed in the majority of the cases.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Cultural Economics, Cultural Entrepreneurship, social media, social networks, museums, data analysis, strategic decision making
Thesis Advisor H. Abbing
Persistent URL
Series Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship , Master Arts, Culture & Society
E. Marzi. (2019, June 11). The unexploited potential of social media in museums - A study of the extent to which social media are used as an information gathering tool for grounding strategic decision making in museums. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from