Smithsonian Shows Us How To Develop a Social Media Plan

The Smithsonian Institution has done a great service to educational institutions everywhere by not only developing a social media plan, but also doing so in full transparency mode and sharing everything they’ve learned along the way. We could do worse than to explore what they’ve done and emulate their process.

Notice in particular that wherever possible they created both a branded account for disseminating information (or several specialized channels of this sort) and also a group or collaboration and listening space for crowdsourcing and community engagement. Ther latter included both listening and engagements spaces open to the general public as well as in support of specific Smithsonian events.

One thing I don’t find is a one stop show location to aid in discovery of all their social media activities and locations. I am sure there is much more than I have discovered, and I have found hundreds of accounts, of which you find a highly selected subset below. I also really wonder how many staff they have involved in this effort, how much time those staff are expending, and how many staff allocated to this are fulltime or parttime in their social media efforts. This is a massive effort!

Here is an introduction to their crowdsourcing efforts.

Here is an annotated slide presentation of the vision for the Smithsonian Commons.


Smithsonian 2.0:

o Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy 1.0:

o Smithsonian Institution Web and New Media Strategies:
o Table of Contents:–+Table+of+Contents
o The Smithsonian Commons – A Place to Begin:–+A+Place+to+Begin
o Process at a Glance:

o Facebook: Smithsonian Institution:
o Google search: Smithsonian (TONS more special interest group Facebook pages and groups from SI.)

o Smithsonian Institution. Call To Action – “Voice Your Vision”. YouTube
o Smithsonian Voice Your Vision Project.

o Imaging a Smithsonian Commons:
o Michael Edson, Web and New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian:
o Group: Smithsonian Web and New Media Strategy:

o Smithsonian:
o Google search: Smithsonian NOTE: Be careful in sorting through these – many are not affiliated.
o Flickr: Smithsonian Twitter Share: (A group for regular folk who follow the Smithsonian on Twitter to share their images of the Smithsonian)
o Hashtags: Smithsonian Institution 2.0 Conference:

o Flickr Commons: Smithsonian:
+ Flickr: Smithsonian Libraries:
+ Flickr Search: More Smithsonian accounts:
o Flickr: Groups: Smithsonian 2.0:


9 responses to “Smithsonian Shows Us How To Develop a Social Media Plan

  1. Wow. This is really cool. Thanks for the thorough list of links, I’m going to try to check them all out. I LOVE stuff like this!


  2. They have a friendfeed account to feed all/most of these things into one spot —


    • Thanks! LIke I said, I found hundreds of accounts, and selected from them. I had not checked Friendfeed. Someone from the Smithsonian contacted me and mentioned this nifty page of theirs.

      It aggregates their various Twitter streams as a series of widgets. It is pretty, but not as useful for tracking, since you have to scroll to find each account. It would also be nice if folks could select a particular widget and snag it for embedding in their own space. I think that’s possible, but they don’t seem to have added that functionality to the page. I bet it will come. For myself, I think I would rather see them push all the Twitter streams into Yahoo Pipes and make a Smithsonian Stream account that aggregates all the Smithsonian news from Twitter in one Twitter account, for the truly hard core SI fans. Just as another option … and easier than hunting down all the streams to follow individually.


  3. Well, they just have twitter, flickr and youtube, the other things would be nice to feed there too.


  4. Thanks for sharing the useful stuff, you can actually visit to find how and where Smithsonian engages with their target group users.


  5. Pingback: Social Media Marketing Plans « Emerging Technologies Librarian

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