TikTok Success at the Sacramento History Museum (with Jared Jones)
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About the Episode
Jared Jones still has trouble wrapping his head around the fact that the TikTok account he started at Sacramento History Museum has become possibly the most followed museum account on the entire platform, with over 2.4 million followers. In this episode, Jared shares with me the museum’s TikTok journey, how docent Howard became a minor celebrity, and what real-life impacts this engagement has had on the museum.
About our Guest
Jared Jones is the Digital Content Coordinator at the Sacramento History Museum, where he has taken their TikTok account from 0 to 2.4 million followers. He has an MA in Public History from California State University Sacramento. He also serves as a Park Interpretive Specialist at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park.
Press about @SacHistoryMuseum
- “’Howard The Printer’ Makes An Impression On TikTok With Mini History Lessons” (NPR, Mar 2021)
- “Sacramento History Museum hits huge milestone — one million followers” (Mountain Democrat, Apr 2021)
- A printing press operator and a snail expert? These museum workers have become unlikely TikTok stars. (The Washington Post, Apr 2021)
- “Sacramento History Museum receives grant from TikTok for recent success” (ABC10, Dec 2021)
Other museum TikTok accounts:
A recent February 23rd TikTok post from the Sacramento History Museum starts out with a familiar “Hey Howard,” as the person behind the camera talks to a gray-haired volunteer rolling ink for their historic printing press.
[Feb 23rd Announcement video plays, with some additional narration from Hannah describing visual-only elements]
The video zooms in on Howard inking up headline size type with accompanying sounds…adding paper…pulling the lever…
Howard lifts up the fresh paper to show the front page of a newspaper….
“Sacramento Museum Reachs 500,000| Youtube subscribers.”
As of today, four days after publishing, that TikTok, the video has 200,000 likes and 1.7 million views.
Today, we’re getting into museum TikTok. The Sacramento History Museum has become perhaps the most followed museum on the entire platform, boasting 2.4 million followers….so far. And as their youtube headline shows, that success has bubbled over onto the rest of their social media sites and produced real-life wins like new visitors and donations. It’s an inspiring communications success story, even if Howard “still doesn’t get it.
Welcome back to We the Museum: a podcast for museum workers who want to form a more perfect institution.
I’m your host, Hannah Hethmon, Owner and Executive Producer at Better Lemon Creative Audio, where I make podcasts for museums, history organizations, and other cultural nonprofits.
The @Sachistorymuseum account mostly sticks to a pretty simple format: Either volunteer Howard or staffer Jared chats about a moment from history while preparing something on the printing press. As the video concludes, the print of the day is revealed. Here’s an example from President’s day:
[play president’s day video]
“Press the red button, Howard” is one of the account’s many inside jokes with its followers. Open the comments section, and at least two viewer have already left their own “press the red button howard” in the comments to show they are in on the catchphrase.
That video currently has 615 likes and 11, 600 views.
To find out what makes the @sachistorymuseum account tik…on TikTok, I called up Jared Jones, Digital Content Coordinator at Sacramento History Museum. Our conversation was recorded a few months ago in December of 2022.
Jared has a background in public history and museum studies. He’s been working at the Sacramento History Museum since 2016, where he started as a Guest Services Associate.
Before we jump into that conversation, I want to shout out our show sponsor, Landslide Creative. This podcast would not be happening without their support. Landslide Creative provides custom website design and development for museums who want to increase their engagement and connect with their visitors, donors and volunteers. With a custom website designed for the unique needs of your muse you can stop fighting with your website and focus on growing your impact. Head over to LandslideCreative.com to learn more.
Alright, let’s talk TikTok:
Hannah Hethmon: Great. So I thought we’d start on a personal TikTok note because a lot of our listeners may not be on TikTok themselves. They might think it’s just dance trends for teenagers. and to get that misconception, it is a misconception out of the way. What do you consume personally on TikTok when you’re scrolling through it? What kind of stuff comes up for you? What do you like to watch?
Jared Jones: What I consume on TikTok is actually through the eyes of the museum. So I get a lot of talks from other museums: short little things about their events or history videos, and then also a whole bunch of cooking videos pop up on my phone. So those are always interesting. Or just the lovable dog videos and stuff like that. Definitely not that much dancing videos or anything like that that a lot of people think the app is about.
Hannah Hethmon: The framing of TikTok as a kind of meaningless dance videos, it annoys me a bit. You know, some people are like, “I’m on TikTok and all I see are dancing teenage girls,” and like it’s an algorithm that gives you what you wanna see. I’ll just say that. But also, you know, for me, I see cool dance trends: the new Wednesday Addams dance trend is very cool and people are talking about the goth inspiration, the sixties inspiration. So it’s, it’s very complex. But also, you know, one of my favorite creators is a professor of theology who likes to throw sources out rapid-fire to debunk bad history with his 250,000 followers who wanna hear about archeological nuance. I have a lot of gardening how-to accounts, a lot of sustainability, and serious things come across my feed too, you know. So just to get that misconception out of the way, you can watch dancing, you can watch dogs, you can watch serious stuff. It’s about what you want to consume on there.
So getting to the Sacramento History Museum’s account, what kind of videos do people see when they come across the profile, when they scroll through the videos? What do you guys make on TikTok?
Jared Jones: The Sacramento History Museum we tell a history of not only Sacramento but California how Sacramento fits into California history. We tell a history of the gold rush here at the museum and what has become incredibly popular. Is our print shop exhibit.
Our print shop exhibit is an 1850s, 1860s recreation of a printing office. And we not only have printing presses on display, but we actually operate them for our videos. And I like to have videos that are daily and I like to have videos that have relevance, so I’m not going to film a video just because it’s a Monday or something like that. I want to film content that can be consumed on a specific day, which is how we have a lot of content that are based around this day in history content or national holidays.
Hannah Hethmon: So can you describe some of your top hits or some of your most recent videos, whatever comes to mind, specific videos that you’ve done and how they work.
Jared Jones: Probably our most successful content is involving Howard. Howard is a docent here at the Sacramento History Museum. He’s been here for over 23 years. He is in his mid-eighties and while everybody thinks that Howard worked in the printing industry—because he is very knowledgeable on letterpress printing—he never has. He worked for Aerojet General as a in their rockets testing department or as an early career and when Aerojet really shut down their Sacramento offices, he became a master automotive technician, and he was doing that for many, many years before he retired. And a friend of his was a docent here at the museum that worked in our print shop as as a volunteer, and so we got Howard interested in that. So a lot of our popular videos are surrounding sort of origin stories of Howard, which he doesn’t usually share that much about himself. What I have shared right now is the extent of it all. And a lot of puns.
We are demonstrating equipment. We’re not just talking about it. So Howard is in his mid-eighties on a platform that is for typically for younger individuals, and we are discussing a medium of which people received their news or information over 150 years ago on probably the fastest growing app on your phone of which people consume their news in media today. And making jokes about it is even better. So probably our most popular content is finding that medium and in that, and then also saying something like, “Pressman like to make a good impression” or discussing uppercase and lowercase and “mind your Ps and Qs” and just those sort of like dad jokes while printing.
Hannah Hethmon: know you recently you had a video about the history of “cliche” and how it’s related to printing and that was kind of both interesting but also fun. And at the end there was a cute print you got to look at. And I think there’s also something about I think you mentioned, we were talking earlier, the as s m R of the printing press, the sound of the press and the roller of the ink, it’s very soothing in a kind of analog way. It’s comforting.
Jared Jones: Yes, that, that for sure. I. Have watched Howard print in the shop for years even before really working with him, and I didn’t really think anything of the sounds that the print, the printing presses make until you get some fancy equipment. And set it against the press while you’re working and it just picks up everything, the tackiness of the ink the rollers against it, how the press moves.
Hannah Hethmon: And I think that’s interesting to think about too, because so much of museums—and history museums especially—is letting people look at the past in order to like mentally get over that leap of now to then. But we don’t usually hear a lot in the museum and if we do, it’s kind of coming out of a speaker.
So having that kind of close-up look at someone recording something from the past kind of fits in with the spirit of the museums, but fills in a gap that we don’t usually have content for.
So how did this account get started? What’s the origin story of the Sacramento History Museum TikTok account?
Jared Jones: We started this account in July 2020, and the museum was closed. We didn’t know what we were when we were gonna reopen. Much of my coworkers were already creating their own programs that they were in charge of into a digital format virtual field trips, virtual programs, virtual events, going live on Facebook on a weekly basis. I worked the front desk here at the museum and I was dabbling with social media, writing this day in history posts and stuff like that. I wanted to be able to turn that into videos, and I had watched previous seminars that discussed the future of museums and how you could be relevant during closures and a lot of them talked about TikTok and how that’s the thing to do. And so I started making videos for TikTok and I with some convincing with Howard. I first brought it up to him and the first question he said was, “What is TikTok?” And I said, “Howard, whatever you do, don’t go home and look it up.” And well, he went home and looked it up.
Hannah Hethmon: Did he think he was going to have to dance?
Jared Jones: Well, the thing is: what was out at that time and very popular was a Nicki Minaj song. So it wasn’t the Wednesday dance trend that was a little bit more G or PG rated.
Hannah Hethmon: I think what Jared is referring to here is actually a Megan Thee Stallion song and the accompanying dance created by a user name Keke Janajah.
[Play 15 min sec sound from “Savage”]
Anyone who was on Tiktok in 2020 will probably recognize that snippet; it was massively viral and probably would have been one of the first things anyone saw at that time when they joined because the first thing TikTok does is show you all kinds of popular videos to see you do and don’t like. If Howard had kept scrolling and liking things, the algorithm would have quickly figured out that he didn’t want to watch dancing videos.
Jared Jones: So that’s what he saw. And he was very embarrassed when I saw him the next day. And he said, you would never film me for TikTok, but with convincing him because he was gonna be doing print shop presentations for our school programs.
I was able to convince him to say let’s just try. And what’s evolved over the years is over the last two years has been my apprenticeship and me posting videos essentially from my point of view in the print shop watching with Howard. Our early content is a lot of terminology-based stuff, and as our channel evolved over time, I realized what we are actually posting is stuff that even the visitor who visits our museum in person doesn’t even get to see, because Howard is here a few weekday mornings a week, and if we were printing something like our holiday cards or printing our logo on paper bags for our gift, That’s done when we are not open to visitors because that press is very close to a handrail.
And the last thing we need is somebody leaning over and saying, what are you doing? And getting literally caught in the printing press. So I realized that the content that we are posting is not only unique for our viewer who couldn’t even visit our museum in person to begin with because they could be overseas, they could be across the country, but this is unique for even somebody who lives down the street from us.
This is content we do not typically demonstrate. In a lot of these historic cuts that we highlight for our videos are stuff that probably hasn’t even been printed in a hundred or 120 years even. So I think it’s even, it’s even special for me to be able to print something for a video printing it for the first time.
Hannah Hethmon: And I think that is sort of the magic of a lot of the videos is it’s the magic feeling of like being in a museum space with the people who are excited and passionate without any pressure of like, we’re on our visit, you’re just walking through and chatting, and that kind of repeat over time. Getting to know the space, getting to know something, having those moments that don’t just happen every time you come in the door. So my follow up question to that is there are a few museums out there doing stuff on TikTok, things like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and likewise sized museums have maybe 70,000 followers.
You have in the 2+ million followers. So, how did, how did a local history museum become possibly the most followed museum on TikTok in the world? Like was there a single video, was there a single moment? Like, how did, how did that happen? I think people are gonna wanna know that.
Jared Jones: I don’t know how it happened. Even when we even got our TikTok reached out to me through their education and philanthropy department and said you’re being brought into the fold, you’re gonna have a representative. I did not understand what any of that meant.
As of today, we have over 2.4 million followers on TikTok, 400,000 YouTube subscribers, and 128,000 Instagram followers and 350,000 followers on Facebook. And I can’t explain any of. All I can say, and this is the same thing that I think caused the initial virality of our videos…
So I first started filming with Howard in September 2020. We posted a few videos, they went nowhere. it wasn’t until he was actually demonstrating one that that video got about 50,000 views.
That was the day after Thanksgiving 20. I filmed Howard again, offhanded while he was printing a wanted poster. I filmed the video and I said, “Hey Howard, what are you doing?” And he said, “I’m printing ‘Wanted’ posters.” And I said, “Well, can you explain a little bit more about that?” And he said, “Well, I could, but I’m a little pressed for time.”
That video gained about a half a million views overnight. Early December 2020, we started gaining a few thousand followers.
[Musical ding for sponsor break]
Hannah Hethmon [Narration]: We’ll be right back to my conversation with Jared Jones, but first, it’s time for a digital minute with Amanda Dyer, Creative Director at Landslide Creative:
Amanda Dyer: Hi, I’m Amanda Dyer, creative Director at Landslide Creative, and I’ve got a quick tip you can use to improve your museum’s online presence when you’re looking to optimize your digital presence. Don’t forget about all the websites where your museum is represented, not just your own. For instance, the first encounter someone has with your museum online might be through Google Maps or TripAdvisor, or other local tourism sites.
Is your information up to date on these sites? Is it compelling? Take some time to update and optimize your listings. Check your hours and ticketing information for accuracy. Include high quality photos, respond to reviews and questions from visitors. Add links to helpful information on your site. You can learn more about optimizing your digital presence on our website at landslidecreative.com/digital.
Hannah Hethmon [Narration]: Now back to the episode.
[Musical ding to end sponsor break]
Jared Jones: By the next month in January 7th, 2021, we reached 10,000 followers and I thought this was gonna be the greatest thing, like 10,000. This is nothing compared to anything. This, when you include all of our other social media channels combined is not even 10,000 followers. And. I said, we gotta make an announcement for this. And so how we have this headline that we do for our school group programs that say such and such elementary visits to Sacramento History Museum.
I said, let’s change that around. Let’s make it Sacramento History Museum reach reaches 10,000 followers and we’re printing it. It’s on an old newspaper headline and that video. got us over a million views and by the next week we had. Over 75,000 followers. And as I said, Howard, we gotta do another update. Like this is our ticket. This is like what they tell you about, you replicate your most viral video. And while we are doing this, our numbers keep going up. So I said, okay, let’s just arbitrarily, let’s just put it at 86,000 followers. And he said, why? And it is, it is a random number, but let’s just go with 86,000 and.
He said, “Well, I, I just don’t get any of this.” And he asked me, he’s like, “Do you get any of this?” I said, “Howard, I don’t get any of this.” And he said, if you don’t get any of this, I don’t get it. And I said, okay. That right there, Howard, that is our ticket. Let’s do the entire printing process from locking up these letters in a form to rolling out the ink to rolling it across the type to rolling the bed underneath the press, pulling the lever. At every single point you just say, “I just don’t get it.” And he does. He did that and he pulled the headline of 86,000 followers. That video is now at over 17 million views, and it’s actually not actually one of our most popular videos, but it is definitely one of our most viral videos.
And then overnight, it just kept spiraling. I could not screenshot the point that we had reached a hundred thousand followers because with refreshing my phone, it had already jumped way past that and by I think within a few weeks we had 300,000 followers. We were picked up by the local news.
We’re closed during all this, and we are starting to get attention from local media about our videos on TikTok, and so this is now getting attention from people who didn’t see our videos to begin with on TikTok. They’re now hearing about our museum. So now not only do we have people who watch our videos on TikTok, we are now have people hearing about us because of TikTok.
And by March, 2021, the end of the month we had reached a million followers. We had that fancy blue check next to our name and the day after The Washington Post has contacted me for an interview and also NPR and it was just insane. It was literally insane that this was all happening. And Howard became an international celebrity overnight. You know, to this day, at least 30% of our followers on TikTok do not even live in the United States.They actively watch our videos from wherever they are in the world, and I don’t even know what the percentage is that actually lives in Sacramento, let alone northern. But we are reaching an audience that would never be able to visit here in person.
So when we reopened, everybody wondered what were we going to do, where we were gonna keep up with this? And I know this was a struggle for a lot of museums that were already on TikTok, that I saw a lot of museums. Just suspend their accounts or just not post anything. Once they reopen, which I understand that you have to divert resources somehow, but I didn’t want to give up. On the audience that we had made, and we received donations from people all the time, so we were getting some money through this.
It’s not like we’re in a, you know, getting money through a creator fund or anything like that, but, I am just incredibly thankful that my, my boss was able to keep my position the way that it was even when we reopened because she saw the value in what we were doing here at the museum.
Hannah Hethmon: And that’s a big thing. I think that’s what a reason a lot more museums aren’t on TikTok is because people higher up, just they don’t see the value because it is a lot of time to put in. And not everyone’s gonna go viral in the way that you have. Which doesn’t mean it’s not worth being on there and trying.
So I was gonna ask about the impact, but you’ve just told me. So let me see if I can summarize what the kind of impact has been in terms of people thinking, okay, well what’s the ROI? What’s the return on investment? How is this advancing our mission?
You are not only just getting a lot of people to go, “oh, there’s a Sacramento History Museum. Cool. They seem fun. We should check them out sometime.”
But you have a lot of press. So in major newspapers, people are talking about the museum that’s gonna get people’s eyes on the museum who aren’t on TikTok. So you’re getting awareness in that way. You are showing that the museum is somewhat relevant to today and now in that you can connect on this medium.
You have generated a lot of additional following on all your other social media platforms, giving you a broader reach for anything that you do wanna say. Any history that you do wanna share. Do you think it’s having more people come to the museum and come in and then learn about all the other stuff besides the printing press that you have going on?
Jared Jones: I would definitely say so. The big part about relevance is that before we closed, we’re not even the most known museum on the block. I mean, next door to us is the California State Railroad Museum, one of the largest railroad museums in the Western United States. Wonderful museum. I could not recommend enough that if people visit our muse you gotta go there.
And I was just hoping that like we could just get a fraction of that and just be able let it be known that we are here, and that was the biggest thing. Not only that hey, we are *still* here, but actually that we are here. And so with that media that we got from local news stations, we’re not having the news come down here, begging and pleading that they’d come down here because we have an event happening that we want to get them to help us to get people here to the museum.
We’re having the media show up just because, you know, they wanna celebrate in on this. So that has certainly helped get people through the doors. And yeah, Howard and I are not here on the weekends, but I could tell you recently when Mr. Peanut visited the museum because just, just, I cannot believe that Mr.—
Hannah Hethmon: The Mr. Peanut?
Jared Jones: The official Mr. Peanut and the Peanut Mobile visited the museum and it was on a Sunday, and I stuck around after Mr. Peanut left for a couple hours and I would say at least a third of the people that were coming to the museum were saying, I watch your videos and some were saying TikTok, some were saying Instagram, some saying YouTube. So that’s the biggest thing. Like our other social media channels have grown tremendously. Just the amount of growth on the other platforms is insane. And so we’re reaching an entire new audience each time these other platforms grow because maybe they’re not watching us on TikTok, they’re watching us somewhere else. They’re just reaching us through all these platforms, and so TikTok definitely has this rippling effect. It has impacted not only the growth of our other social media channels.
It has increased the awareness of our museum and who we are. We’ve seen our underground tours go up in attendance. We have people that are watching our videos for our print shop, but then coming in and checking out everything else that we have. We have two floors of exhibits here in our museum and our print shop exhibit is just a small portion of it all. And it’s not like people are coming in and thinking we’re a printing museum or anything like that. They, they see the print shop as the entity that’s getting them through the door to then enjoy everything else about our museum.
Hannah Hethmon: It’s the Mona Lisa to your Louvre.
Jared Jones: Yes, yes. Hopefully nobody tries to throw soup on it or anything like that.
Hannah Hethmon: [Laughs] I think should be okay as long as there’s no paper on there. That’s great. I think any museum people listening would just—that’s just a lot of good and a lot of chances to talk to people about whatever you wanna talk to ’em about.
Okay. You’ve hinted at a lot of best practices. Hopefully people are learning from what you’ve done. But what do you think, what works on TikTok for museums? What should people be thinking about if they’re starting out and going, what do I film in my museum? What’s gonna work for us?
Jared Jones: I think it’s what you just said, the word film. Social media is now all about short form videos filmed vertically, and that’s how I think TikTok has really changed the game. YouTube has created “shorts.” Instagram has “reels”. All these platforms are pushing videos over pictures. So I think that is a definite route for museums to go think about instead of posting a picture and including some history.
How about you stand next to that picture or that artifact and just talk about it for 30 seconds, less than a minute, because if you think it’s interesting, I’m sure other people are gonna find it interesting too, and videos are more apt to reach an audience that isn’t necessarily already following you because of how the algorithms work. All these platforms have an algorithm-based system that you’re just constantly scrolling on your phone from one video to the next.
But filming vertically, having great sound equipment, you should not be filming somebody from 10 feet away from you. And they’re talking like this [muffles speaking] on the phone on the video or anything like that.
Editing videos too would be, would be the best way. Making sure you have captions on your video. I use Cap Cut as an app for doing that, that’s C A P C U T.
Hannah Hethmon: let’s say you are starting in a new museum. How are you gonna get started and find what works for a particular museum? What would your process be for starting a new account somewhere else?
Jared Jones: I would say you find out what is your museum’s equivalent of the Hope Diamond. What is the thing that typically brings people into your museum in person to begin with and start from there. I always thought museum living history sites and museums were sitting on a gold mine. Now obviously in the light of museums right now, we want to be very mindful of living history and making sure that everything is done correctly in light of a lot of sensitive subjects in involving living history.
Hannah Hethmon: I think Black Country Living History Museum is the number two museum on TikTok.
Jared Jones: Yeah and they have living history characters. They have nice setups, they have a lot of props and everything. But you also have museums like the Old Barracks Museum, Old Salem.
Hannah Hethmon: I’m so sad that Old Barracks isn’t posting anymore. Those were great videos.
Jared Jones: I am actually devastated by it. I’d actually messaged their social media coordinator before he left, just ideas back and forth. But Old Salem is one of those sites that not only did an excellent job tackling a lot of more complicated subjects involving museums that museums should be tackling right now in this current climate. But also they’d have carpentry shops, they’d have people doing woodworking, doing those same side of ASMR sounds and everything, so just like our printing press makes nice sounds, they would be working on a lathe or, or planting a piece of wood or something like that. Still getting that same sort of thing that I thought was really important. I have seen Old Salem and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History as my two inspirations. Not only do you have Tim Pierce who tells just the best—
Hannah Hethmon: —another snail joke for you!
Jared Jones: Just the best, everything about Tim is amazing. His jokes that he tells, which is why when this past May, May 2022 one of my supervisors and myself gave a presentation at the American Alliance of Museum’s conference in Boston with Erin from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which is their social media coordinator, all about TikTok because we’re not doing anything too special outside, we don’t have a big production or anything like that, but just staying true to what our museum is. Being authentic and just highlighting what we are about. I think that’s the, that’s the root of it all. I haven’t really done anything that would be off brand or not authentic about our museum.
I am not above trends. I actually do quite a few different trends and sometimes they’re successful, sometimes they’re not. But that’s not the main driving factor behind our channel.
Hannah Hethmon: Yeah and that’s what I think one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you was besides just the numbers, the sheer numbers, right? Is that I think if most museums look at your account, that is a reproducible effort. You have a knack for it. You obviously have an eye or an ear for what’s working. But it doesn’t seem like, oh no, I couldn’t possibly make that. You know, there’s some really creative stuff on TikTok, people doing really incredible stuff with editing and stuff that is, is just beyond, but I think what you’ve done is, is great, but it’s also accomplishable. It can be done.
Jared Jones: And that is what I’ve wanted to share from day one. The second the first museum ever contacted us and said “Hey, can you tell us what you do that makes you successful?” It’s like, I don’t know. We’re just us. I’m not up on that much on trends. I’m not a very tech savvy individual. I do all my editing of videos on my phone. I film all the videos on my phone, so I’m not putting this in Adobe Premiere and putting in all these fancy edits. The only thing that I’m really editing on the video is I’ll increase the volume at times, and I put captions on the video because we want our videos to be accessible as possible, and I might cut out pauses and stuff like that. Cause I’m trying to get the videos under a minute for the most part. And that’s mainly for YouTube because YouTube reels is now the main platform that’s put a limit on a minute or less. TikTok, you could post up to 10 minutes now and I have yet to post a 10 minute video on TikTok.
Hannah Hethmon: I have yet to watch a 10-minute video on TikTok
Jared Jones: I have plenty of them that I can post. But do I want to? No, because I want to be able to use my phone at some point in the night, and I think a 10 minute video will take all evening to upload.
Hannah Hethmon: There’s a lot more I wanna talk about, but I think that’s kind of all we have for time. I really appreciate you sharing your insight, and I hope it inspires some other museums to just get started and start trying and figure out who they are. You know, maybe they’re funny, maybe they’re serious, maybe they’re focused on now. Maybe they’re focused on then, whatever it is that works for them, that they kind of experiment, figure it out, and if it doesn’t work, okay. But to not be afraid of TikTok.
Jared Jones: Yeah that’s the biggest thing. You find out what works. And what you’re doing on Instagram for reels, why are you not putting that on TikTok as well? It’s all vertical videos, and you might as well try to reach a whole new audience because you never know who it is going to reach. And engagement is engagement.
If you educate one new person that’s part of your mission. I wouldn’t say like go into TikTok thinking you have to do trends or anything like that, because where does that fit in your mission? It could be part of it, it could be part of that sort of raising awareness of your institution, but just stick to who you are, what your museum is about, and if you find the history that you tell interesting, I’m sure there’s other people that out there that are gonna find it interesting too.
It is unfortunate that now for museums to try to get on TikTok, it’s probably gonna be a little bit more difficult because believe it or not, there were only like two other museums when I started. So there’s a lot more now. So there’s obviously a lot more competition. There’s a lot more people with accounts and people are not at home all day on their phones or anything like that when it was when I started. So keep that in mind. Accounts now do not have the same growth as they did previously, and that’s something that obviously our account hasn’t grown as fast of a rate as it was when we first started. But our account continues to grow. We still have videos that are viral. We still have videos that only get a few thousand views, so keep that in mind. Just because something isn’t successful doesn’t mean your next video is gonna be so you just keep trying. My first video I posted got maybe a hundred views and guess what? The next dozen got the same results too. So find out what works for you and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ever reach out and contact me. It is having these sorts of interviews and conversations with you today, Hannah, helps me to reach more museums and to understand this stuff is realistic.
I don’t expect you to be putting out a video every single day. Maybe set a goal of what you think is consistent. For me, it’s every day. For you, it could be two or three times a week, but you want to keep to that consistency. You don’t want to put out two videos and then don’t post anything for a month. You want to be consistent because that’s how you actually start to gain an audience.
Hannah: That was great. Thank you for all that great advice.
Thanks for listening to We the Museum. You’ve been listening to my conversation with Jared Jones, Digital Content Coordinator at the Sacramento History Museum. My thanks to Jared for his time and insights.
For show notes and a transcript of this episode, visit the show website: WeTheMuseum.com. You can find the Sacramento History Museum on TikTok and Instagram as @SacHistoryMuseum and under their full name on YouTube and Facebook.
Once again, a big thank you to our show sponsor, Landslide Creative. Making a podcast takes a lot of time and energy, and I wouldn’t be able to set aside the space to make this show without Landslide Creative’s financial support. If your museum is considering a new website, definitely make Landslide Creative your first stop.
And I’ve been your host, Hannah Hethmon. As Owner and Executive Producer at Better Lemon Creative Audio, I help museums around the world plan, produce, and edit podcasts that advance their missions. Find out more about my work at BetterLemonaudio.com
That’s all for today, talk to you soon.