Social Media Strategist: National Gallery of Art

Developed and implemented a change in content strategy that resulted in record growth and engagement over a nine month period.

Prior to March 2012 the National Gallery of Art’s (NGA) social media feeds were focused almost exclusively on the local audience. With few exceptions every post highlighted an in-house lecture, concert, film, or similar event. Consequently, the Gallery was not competitive in the online global cultural marketplace. The National Gallery of Art is the 8th most visited art museum in terms of physical visits in the world and the 2nd most visited art museum in the United States, yet its social media audience was less than 10% of similar art museums.

In March 2012 I was tasked with creating a more robust social media presence. I did this in a variety of ways. First, I decided that since most of the world could not visit the National Gallery of Art, the National Gallery of Art would go to them. This involved posting at least one image from our collection or a current exhibition every day.

Second, I made a subtle but crucial change in the online voice of the organization. My posts were softer than the traditional institutional voice and I asked questions, responded to comments, and engaged in discussions with our followers. I supplemented posts with quotes by various artists, highlighted historical events that were depicted in the Gallery’s collection, and began to wish artists Happy Birthday (surprisingly, our most popular type of post).

Third, I began to monitor the analytics and research the Gallery’s audience. This provided a clearer picture of who our audience was, what they wanted from the NGA in terms of content, and demonstrated conclusively the national/international makeup of our audience. This allowed me to put the most relevant content before our audience.

Finally, I initiated the practice of live-tweeting the Gallery’s press events, giving our audience a sneak peek inside the upcoming exhibition and further involving them in the life of the Gallery.

By the end of my tenure I had posted the following gains:


  • 92% increase in total audience
  • 326% increase in New Likes per day
  • 455% increase in People Talking About This per post
  • 409% increase in Likes per post
  • 483% increase in Shares per post
  • 190% increase in Comments per post
  • Twitter:

  • 76% increase in total audience
  • 198% increase in Followers per day
  • 150% increase in Retweets per tweet
  • 430% increase in Replies per tweet
  • NGA Mockup



    National Gallery of Art