Ashley Smith-Hammond

Video is a powerful tool for any digital marketer. Culture Republic takes a closer look at National Museums of Scotland’s online impact with video.

Video is a powerful tool for any digital marketer. Culture Republic takes a closer look at National Museums of Scotland’s online impact with video.

Video – you should

Digital marketing evolves quickly. New platforms appear, new functions are implemented and new algorithms are announced all the time. But amid the hectic rush of all these tools and changes, longer-term trends gradually emerge and these are where the focus needs to be.

One of the biggest trends to have emerged is the power of video. As a marketing tool, video is quickly proving its worth when it comes to driving audience engagement online. But we wanted to find out more about what video can achieve on social media in particular; is it really delivering the power it promises to cultural organisations?

What works?

Culture Republic used our database ‘Sheldon’ to examine impact information from hundreds of organisations’ online channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The task was to find an example of an arts organisation that is doing a great job of creating content people share with their friends and to what extent video features in these most ‘sharable’ posts.

We asked: “In the last year*, which arts organisation has had the most posts shared on Facebook?”

One of the strongest performers was the National Museums of Scotland (NMS) with posts shared up to 1,000 times. NMS start from a strong base with over 71,000 people liking their page. But it’s what they do with that fan base that makes them really stand out.

They post regularly and there’s a mix of well-produced, on-brand content, including events, videos and photos. This content strikes an effective balance between education and fun. They’re also great at ensuring comments from fans and visitors receive appropriate responses.

Looking Closer

We delved deeper to look at which posts really stood out for NMS in terms of performance. Let’s take a look at the top three most shared posts, two of which are videos.

  1. A 35-second promotional video for the Celts exhibition. This was shared 1,184 times, reached just under 35,000 views and had over 400 responses. The video featured artefacts from the collection and dramatic music with the dates of the exhibition included.
  2. An image with accompanying link inviting the public to get involved in an LEGO exhibition. Reaching out to an international community of LEGO fans, the post received 500 likes and over 600 shares.
  3. A video showing the silver treasure found on St Ninian’s Isle, Shetland. The clip, in which a curator shows off the silverware, gained just under 30,000 views, over 300 likes and 586 shares. The objects were part of the Celts exhibition. Users debated whether the objects should be kept in Shetland where the hoard was originally found.

Many of the comments on all of the above posts were simply people tagging people they knew, essentially sharing the content with a particular friend without posting it to their wall. Other commenters expressed their excitement about the collection, the objects or the wider exhibitions that they were a part of.

For NMS, it’s clear that video content was very successful in driving social engagement. While each organisation will need to take the time to create the right video content, for us, these results show that video is worth the investment and a little really does go a long way.

The NMS team try Facebook’s new features as they come on stream. For an example, read staffer Hazel Saunderson’s blog about their experiments with Facebook Live. NMS use a mix of organic and boosted posts to maximise awareness. Plus, Facebook is only one part of the digital team’s audience engagement activity, which also includes game development and activity across a suite of online platforms.

If you’re considering investing in video content to expand your online audiences, Culture Republic can help you can make the most of your effort. Get in touch with one of the team today.


*Measurement period: August 2015 – July 2016.

Main image credit: Admiring the gorgeous Victorian hall (1861) National Museum of Scotland by Paul Williams (CC BY-NC 2.0)