Over the last few decades, museums’ communication channels have dramatically changed and increased thanks to the rise of Social Networking Sites (SNS) and how much these have become a part of everyday life. Especially, Facebook and Instagram have become an integral part of daily communication between museums and their online audience. Understanding online communities is decisively important in planning and executing an online strategy. The young generation, namely Gen Z (currently aged 14-25) is becoming more active as consumers. Reaching Gen Z is a new challenge for companies and also for museums. This study examines the online communication of Rotterdam based Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen with their audience and has a particular focus on how the museum interacts with Generation Z. The followers of the museum are diverse in age, education, gender and where they live, but Gen Z makes up the smallest percentage of followers. The results of thesis analysis indicate that Gen Z is not a main target audience for the museum and Gen Z is passively engaged with the museum's Facebook and Instagram pages. Furthermore, the museum has the potential to engage and attract this group by presenting content and using media Gen Z enjoys. The thesis addresses the following research question: How has Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen built its social media strategy and how does the audience, especially Gen Z, engage with the museum’s social media pages. The first part of the study focuses on the museum’s social media strategy for Facebook and Instagram, and the second is dedicated to the findings of an online survey and the connection between findings and the museum’s current strategy. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used as an interview and an online survey were conducted. In addition, the data from the museum’s social media channels was retrieved to have a more holistic understanding. The study focused solely on Facebook and Instagram, as Facebook is the top SNS in the world and Instagram was chosen because its visual characteristics are widely applied by art organizations and museums worldwide. This study looks at how Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s followers experience the type of content that is presented online, with which content they engage more, and what the motivations are to follow the museum on Facebook and Instagram, particularly while the museum is closed. The online tastes, habits, motivations as well as the connections between real and online visits are examined, with a particular focus 6 on Gen Z. As digital natives (born and raised with digital technology), Gen Z has specific online behaviors and attitudes that differ from other generations. Based on the findings, the study could be an interesting guide for other museums and art organizations who wish to increase their online presence and engage more actively with Gen Z.

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Eijck, K. van
Master Arts, Culture & Society
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Kikalishvili, G. (2020, July 24). Social Media Strategy and Audience Engagement in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/55943