Western Museums and Cultural Institutions
Having joined WeChat in January 2019, October was Centre Pompidou’s most successful month to date — and by some distance. The reason? The iconic Parisian institution opened Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project on the banks of Shanghai’s Huangpu River this November. Spread across 27,000 square feet of gallery space, the opening brings world-class contemporary art to China’s cultural capital and its post on the subject was read more than 30,000 times. Beyond the broader implications of a western museum opening a branch in China, the move will increase Centre Pompidou’s brand and it will be fascinating to watch how the museum develops its strategy vis-à-vis Chinese outbound tourists in the coming years.
Despite the 16 percent dip from September, MoMA’s WeChat performance has been reinvigorated in recent months and shows a 200 percent increase in reads compared with Q3 2018. As New York’s premier destination for contemporary art reopens to the public this month, it seems to be strengthening its China efforts, a point made clear through its WeChat strategy. From casual videos created by its Chinese curator, Sophie Zhang, to WeChat discussion groups for fans and gif links at the top of articles, MoMA has clearly rethought its approach to reaching the world’s largest travel market.
Chinese Museums and Cultural Institutions
What makes a museum WeChat post stand out? Usually, the position of a post and its size on screen determine the number of reads. Palace Museum’s recent Longquan Celadon exhibition post, however, is an outlier. The post was a secondary story (see image below) and yet was the museum’s most popular article in October. What can be learned from this? Language is key. The post’s title “The Bowl Worthy of a Visit to the Palace Museum” does two things well. It avoids the trope of using the exhibition name as a title (as most museums do) and provides readers with a surprising reason to visit (or at least to read the article). Although Palace Museum’s cultural status ensures constant public interest, differences between the number of reads its WeChat posts receive give insight on what makes a Chinese culture lover click.
Power Station of Art (Shanghai)
Despite only posting once a month, Power Station of Art (Shanghai) performs outstandingly well on WeChat (particularly in comparison with other regional museums). The Shanghai museum has a service account, meaning it can only post four times a month, but it maximizes the advantages of this account by focusing on quality over quantity. Unlike its peers, such as Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (MOCA), which post every other day on a range of topics, Power Station of Art is visitor-oriented and provides exhibition and program information, as well as audio guide material, and reservation updates.
Data collection and analysis by Richard Whiddington and Wenzhuo Wu.
Graphics by Jean Zhang.