Monday, May 31, 2010

Internet Marketing for Tourism Operators

Internet Marketing For Tourism Operators Workshop
Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa, Digby
May 27 2010

Why Social Media
Social media allows anyone and everyone to put information on the internet, sharing authentic experiences.  For the tourism industry, this means we need to do the same instead of building a campaign around an individual product.  While we all easily grasp and love the concept of word of mouth, social media allows for world of mouth.  25% of search results for the world’s top 20 brands are links to user-generated content and 34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands.  We could say this means people are very opinionated, but there is also a market for this information.  78% of people trust peer reviews, while only 14% of people trust advertisements.

Look at the “United Breaks Guitars” phenomena.  A relatively unknown musician named Dave Carroll had his Taylor guitar broken by the baggage handlers, and when they refused to pay for its replacement he wrote a song about it and posted it on YouTube.  For whatever reason, the video went viral (caught like wildfire), and before long the traditional news media caught on and reported on how many thousands and millions of times the video had been viewed, interviewing Dave Carroll about his United Airlines experience.  Piggybacking on the song’s success, Taylor guitars posted a video response showing how their well-made their guitars are, suggesting that someone would have to work hard to break one.  Other people and companies posted similar responses.  Once all the dust had settled, United Airlines lost $180 million in shares.  That’s the power of world of mouth.

Succeeding in Social Media
The first step to success is selecting which social media platform will work best.  This decision can be made by determining what you want to say and what tools you like and are comfortable using.  The next step is to choose the right team member for the task.  This person should have a good understanding of the organization and its brand, and also be comfortable with the computer and tools needed to manage social media.  It is also important to learn about your online target – who they are, where they’re located, etc.  Finally, put some effort into the process so you can be innovative, fun, and interesting, and always play nice. 

Twitter allows users to quickly broadcast information to followers and get it pushed to followers of your followers, ever-expanding your reach and potential audience.  If one of your followers shares (re-tweets) your post, all of their contacts will see it as well, getting you some free marketing in the process.  51% of Twitter users use the site to follow brands.  You can also follow key terms such as museums, Nova Scotia, or heritage.  If you are using other social media sites such as Facebook, you can use tools like Tweetdeck, or to allow for cross-promotions and multiple users on one account.

Twitter works by building connections.  Once you have an account, you can follow other groups, people and associations, and make friends with comparable businesses.  When you first start, issue a challenge or have a contest to build followers, with real rewards for re-tweets.

On YouTube users share content with you, and if you’re lucky this will go viral and thousands of people will be checking out your videos.  Once you create an account you can create your own channel and accumulate subscribers.  If you want to follow someone else’s channel, you are their “friend”.  Once a video is posted, users can provide feedback through text or other video.  You can also embed videos on your own website, giving a simple site the illusion of complexity.  As with all social media, the key is to be interesting and unique.

Facebook is one of the more versatile social media tools, and while people won’t join just to see your page, people who are already on Facebook are expecting you to be there as well.  It allows you to create a more personal feel to your organization by adding photos and videos.  For more advanced users, you can create a customized html page for your organization.  As you get started, set targets for how many followers you want and how active you want the page to be.  Become “friends” with related businesses and organizations to broaden your audience base.

While the discussion component is a key piece of Facebook, it is important to make the page as visual as possible.  If you want to use photos that have people as the main subject, make sure you get the person/people to sign a release form that lets you use their image on social media sites.  This should be a simple one page document used exclusively as a social media release form.  If you later decided to use the image in other capacities, you can reconnect with the subject and ask them to sign a more extensive image release form.  If possible, video and photos should be added at least once a week.

Blogs are a way for users to share more in-depth content in a narrative way.  To be successful, find way s to create focused and interesting content with complementary images.  Use titles, locations and key words to make it search engine friendly, and link the blog to your website to drive traffic to it and vice versa.

An effective homepage of your website should connect visually, support verbally with appealing content, and tell the audience what to do next.  Writing for the web should be quick and factual since online readers tend to skim instead of read.  Navigation buttons should provide the visitor with a snapshot of the organization and be written in lower case for better readability.  Visitors should also be able to sign up for an e-newsletter, and there should be reasons provided for why they should do so.

Google Places
Google Places allows users to enter the location, contact information, hours, and other details about their organization that can be easily discovered by internet users.  Listings are given priority by Google, showing at the top of the search results page.  For mobile phones with GPS, users can find directions to or from the site with the click of a button.   

Friday, May 21, 2010

CNSA Copyright Workshop

These somehow didn't get posted to the blog.  Sorry it took so long, but I hope you still find them interesting and informative.

Copyright Workshop
NSARM, Halifax
November 12, 2009

General Info
Copyright protects creations, although we often think of it as being limited to paper-based works.  It includes patents on inventions, trademark (word or symbol used as a marketing tool that differentiates products from eachother), and industrial design (commercially manufactured designs).  It is automatic upon creation of the work, so everything archival has been or is being protected.  It gives the creator or copyright holder control over who, what, when, where, why, and how the work is used, and also protects the user’s rights. 

In the case of a manuscript, it is protected as a literary work.  The creator has the right of publication, making a movie, serializing, translating into other languages or sharing the work in other countries.  Copyright provides the creator with commercial tools to get money or royalties and live by their work.  For musical compositions, the composer has the right to make sheet music, perform in public, make sound recordings, and synchronize with audio-visual works.  They can sell or license the rights to the composition to generate money or royalties.

User’s Rights
When obtaining copyright-affected materials, you can negotiate uses through a permit that will allow you to use the works without asking permission or paying a fee.  For museums, such uses include archival research study and private study.  If you ever decided to publish the information, you would have to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

International Copyright
Distribution of the work (or where the activity takes place) must follow that country’s laws, so in Canada, Canadian copyright law applies.  This includes posting information online.  It doesn’t matter where the host site is located, wherever you posted from, you have to follow that country’s laws.  For example, a Us-created news reel about a Canadian event has been posted online.  It must adhere to the US rules, but if it was found in a Canadian institution, Canadian rules apply.

Rules can vary between countries, and there are many international treaties on the subject.  These provide protection to works if the country is part of a certain treaty, such as NAFTA, the Burns Convention, or WIPO.  These dictate that national laws must meet certain standards, and provide rules for treatment of works, including a minimum standard of protection.  There are some ‘maverick’ countries without copyright laws, so citizens can’t actually protect their creations.  The copyright symbol means that a work meets international requirements of registration.  This serves as a warning to the general public and potential users.

What’s Protected and for how long
Whenever dealing with anything that would fall under copyright law, ask yourself the following: is it protected?  If so, what is the term of protection?  Who holds copyright?  Finally, what do you want to do with the work, and is it allowed?

Cinematographic works (audio-visual or moving images) that were created after 1994 fall under the category of dramatic works.  Those created before 1994 can be photographic works.  Photos taken after 1948 fall under the “life + 50” rule, meaning they fall under public domain once the creator has been deceased for 50 years.

Short word combinations, slogans, ideas, facts, titles, and names aren’t protected by copyright.

User’s rights are sometimes referred to as “fair dealing”.  The supreme court is currently making changes to these rules, but there are some generalizations that can be made and that likely won’t change.  In the past, for fair dealing to apply, one of the following conditions had to have been met: research, private study, news reporting, criticism, or review.  In 2004, two statements were made:
  1. exceptions are user’s rights and must not be interpreted restrictively.
  2. purposes in fair dealing must be given a large and liberal understanding.

There are six factors used to assess fairness, although these can be difficult to apply as they are all very subjective:
  1. Purpose of dealing.
  2. Character of dealing – how works were dealt with, whether they were widely distributed or used for a single purpose, and whether or not copies were destroyed.
  3. Amount of dealing – trivial amounts are ok, but it also may be possible to reproduce a whole work such as a photo, map or letter.
  4. Alternatives to dealing – non-copyright equivalents should be considered if available.
  5. Nature of work – if unpublished, distribution or inclusion can lead to wider dissemination.
  6. Effect of dealing – was it a commercial success?

The archival community has requested that one more exception be added to the current rules – for research and private study conducted online.  They are also pushing for legislation to be introduced to deal with orphan works, cases where you will never be able to track down the creator to get permission to use the work.

Always include copyright information in gift and other agreements.

In conducting a risk assessment, it should weigh serving the public’s needs against protecting the objects. 

Keep a paper trail of all decisions, and why they were made.

Check the Copyright Committee briefs online.  Google Copyright Consultation Canada Council of Archives.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Internet Marketing Workshop 2.0

Since one of the speakers from the March workshop was stuck on the Newfoundland ferry, the team returned for a short session to complete their workshop goals.  Here are my notes from the follow-up session.

Internet Marketing Workshop 2.0
Super 8 Hotel, Windsor
April 8, 2010

Direct Email for Small and Medium Businesses
Direct email is a low cost, measurable way to build and maintain customer relationships in a highly targeted and branded way.  Studies have shown that an expense of $1.00 gives the business a $48.00 return of investment, making this a very cost effective way of conducting business communications.  In 2008 it was also reported that 89% of subscribers read these direct email messages, which means that your efforts will be focused on those that are keenly interested in the museum.

Using an email service provide easily allows you to manage your e-newsletters and communications.  One such program is MailChimp, which provides its service free so long as your email subscriber group is less than 500 people, and you send less than 3000 emails per month.  It provides tools to create, manage, and measure the effectiveness of your newsletter campaigns and contact lists.  As an established company, MailChimp also ensures that your emails are not seen as spam by internet service providers.  When mass emails are sent from one address there is the danger that they will be viewed as spam.  Determining factors include contact list maintenance, email design and message content. 

For email design and content, you shouldn’t try to sell anything in the subject line – this should be personalized.  You need to allow for organic list growth by providing your subscribers with something of value, so when new people sign up, they will automatically be sent a small “gift” for their patronage.  You can advertise the URL and put in a subscription call on rack cards, social media sites and signs at the museum.  The strongest call to action should be on your website, in a prominent area to allow visitors to instantly sign up for the newsletter.

Measuring the success of your email campaigns can also be done through an email service provider.  Reports will tell you who opened or didn’t open the email, who clicked on links, how often they re-opened the email, and who tweeted the email (mentioned it on Twitter).

Harnessing Social Media
Social media is simply a platform for self-publishing and communication.  It allows you to demonstrate your brand effectively by listening to the resulting conversation.  Social media can allow for rapid growth in your audience, is flexible and targeted, and provides you with a good reach into markets that may otherwise be difficult to break into.  Kijiji is one such platform.  While it is mostly used for trading and selling, the community section allows users to post events.  This is another way for museums to advertise for free.

Smart Websites & Tools
Content management systems (CMS) allow you to create, manage, and update your website on your own.  Common systems are Drupal, Joomla, TypePad and WordPress.  Joomla provides a standard website, while WordPress is better as a blog.  Any of these will work for your website though, so if you are hiring someone to build your site for you, find out what they are comfortable working with and ask for samples of their previous work.  Features of CMS include photo galleries, blogs, forums, eCommerce and directories. 

In terms of design, you can either choose a customized website or use pre-built templates.  Custom jobs will obviously be more expensive, but will allow for better branding and functionality.  Pre-built templates are cost effective and in many cases have useful tools built in so that functionality usually works, but this isn’t guaranteed.  So do your homework beforehand to determine what will meet your needs.  

April 2010 Update

ANSM Spring Conference - April 22-24
As you’ve all heard, the ANSM conference took a very unexpected turn with the passing of our friend and colleague, Ned MacDonald.  While everyone at the conference found it difficult to continue on, we felt that it was important to do so.  After cancelling the next scheduled session and giving everyone a long break to compose their thoughts, we resumed the proceedings.  Thank you to everyone in attendance for your care and sensitivity.  Thank you also to everyone who has left comments on Ned’s memorial blog post.  The posting will be forwarded to Ned’s family along with photos taken of him at the conference.  We hope that this will be of some comfort to them during this very difficult time.

As someone said to me at the end of the conference, “all things considered, this was a very good conference”.  The keynote address by Dr. Brad King was very interesting, and reviews of the heritage strategy response, best practices in community partnerships, and adopting a heritage building sessions were all very positive.  Since I was working at this event, my notes are not as extensive as they usually are for these events, but they will be posted on the blog over the coming days.  I’ll also be including a few photos so people not in attendance will be able to see what they missed.
Thank you to our Dalhousie University MLIS Records Management intern Colleen for taking notes at the best practices and architecture talks. 

ANSM Website – Resources Section
Remember to check out the ANSM website as the resources section is slowly being built up.  The long-awaited collections management documentation package will be available in the coming weeks.  Any ideas on other helpful resources can be sent to me and I’ll do my best to accommodate them.

New Site
Last month you heard about the Mount Hanley Schoolhouse Museum joining our IT/CM group.  This month I have another museum to tell you about.  The Wedgeport Sport Tuna Fishing Museum and Interpretive Centre is located along Highway 334 in Lower Wedgeport, just outside of Yarmouth.  Opened in 1996, the museum is home to a touch tank, cafĂ©, C@P site, and gift shop.  Every year Wedgeport hosts an International Tuna Cup Match, which means that the museum’s collection includes archival images of the tournaments (dating back to the first one in 1935), souvenirs from international teams, a variety of trophies and prizes, as well as material relating to the Acadian community of Wedgeport.  If you’ve never visited this part of the province, it’s well worth the trip. 

Regional Meetings / Equipment Delivery
It’s been great to see everyone at the regional meetings.  On April 10th I was at the Iona Connection meeting in St. Peter’s, Cape Breton.  The group held their annual general meeting, and voted to change the name of the organization to the Heritage Cape Breton Connection Cooperative Limited.  This is the 25th anniversary of the organization, and they will be celebrating through a variety of events over the coming months.  Check out their website for more information.

The Southwest Curator’s Group met in Liverpool at the Queens County Museum on April 16th.  After discussing updates from ANSM and CNSA, the group decided to tackle the heritage strategy response draft that was up for discussion at the conference.  Since many of the group were unable to attend, they spent a fair bit of time talking about it and provided some very valuable input.  For anyone who hasn’t sent his document, it is available on the ANSM website.  Feedback can be sent to Anita Price, ANSM’s Managing Director.

Due to a scheduling conflict I am not able to attend the Cumberland County Heritage Network meeting on May 1st, but will be at the Central meeting in Dartmouth on May 7th.  If you’re in the central region and asked for a webcam, I will have those with me.

For anyone in the Northeast region (New Brunswick border across to Canso, down the eastern shore and back to Truro), Dayle Crouse and Darrell Burke have expressed a desire to resurrect the old Northeast regional network.  Dayle is willing to host the first meeting at the Hector Exhibit Centre in Pictou, and is looking for feedback on who wants to get involved and what their availability is for meetings.  ANSM fully supports this initiative, as we are witnesses to successes of the other regional groups.  They have joined forces on local advocacy issues, submitted funding proposals and completed special projects as a group.  The timing is especially pertinent as the Northeast will be hosting next year’s ANSM spring conference.  If you would like to learn more about this, please contact Dayle.

Blog Polls
I decided to leave the online marketing blog poll for another month or so since we only ended up with 13 responses.  If you’ve already voted, thanks for your input.  If you haven’t voted, please let me know how you’re marketing the museum online.  I will be factoring this information into the Internet Marketing Report & Recommendations that I’ll be working on over the coming months.

Archives Blog Posts
Just a reminder that if you ever want to check out older posts, you can access them on the right-hand side through the blog archives.

ITCM Report for ANSM Annual General Meeting

Annual Report to the Board of Directors, Association of Nova Scotia Museums
by the
Information Technology & Collections Management Advisory Committee
Presented to the Annual General Meeting, Port Hawkesbury
24 April 2010

1.         A Successful Year of Transition

This report first deals with 8 months of the Project activity under the management and administration of the Passage Steering Committee (PSC) by the Wolfville Historical Society (WHS) from the last AGM to 31 November 2009. On 1 December 2009 the PSC and the Collections Management Advisory Committee (CMAC) were dissolved and WHS retired from its obligations to the Passage participants and the Passage funder (Heritage Division).

In anticipation of the restoration of Passage to ANSM administration and management, during August 2009 WHS and the PSC worked collaboratively with the Managing Director and the Board to prepare the SDI Funding Application for the 2009/2010 year.  The Board endorsed, signed and submitted the application which was subsequently approved by the Peer Adjudication Committee and Heritage Minister. The funding advance, paid to ANSM, was received without a hitch.

On 1 December 2009, with new funding in place, the project was returned to administration and management by ANSM through a new committee, the Information Technology and Collections Management Advisory Committee (ITCMAC in short). So this report also includes the four months of ITCM activity from 1 December 2009 to 31 March 2010.  The turnover to ANSM was smooth; there was no interruption in work; previous PSC members became ITCMAC members and one new member joined - Valerie Lenethen, Nova Scotia Museum's Collections Management Consultant.

In order to effect the transfer of Passage work to ANSM, the Terms of Reference for the new committee had earlier been written by the CMAC, in consultation with the Managing Director, Anita Price, with the valuable advice of Max Chauvin, Governance Consultant.  An Employment Agreement for a Collections Coordinator (Karin Kierstead) was likewise written, setting out roles and responsibilities.  Both of these documents have received approval and have been adopted for use by the Board of Directors.

2.         Results of Passage Work to April 2010

Whatever else might be said about the totality of Passage work, there is no doubt that the best measure of progress is that of the number of collection accession records that have been digitized by the 55 participant museums:


Accession records digitized
Not recorded
Uploaded to Artefacts Canada
Sites for whom records “cleaned”
Records “cleaned”

Some of this progress is due to ANSM’s continued partnership with CHIN; more specifically participation in Collection Development Projects.  Through CHIN and YCW funding, we were able to hire Jennifer Bawden and Anna Fitzgerald to assist member sites with the digitization and enrichment of art objects.  496 objects were enriched and uploaded to Artefacts Canada.

In addition to the regular outreach, site visits and support activities, this is the first year that remote assistance has been offered to members.  To date, 15 museums from across the province have taken advantage of this service.  As the following table shows, we have essentially substituted travel time for productive work time, and saved money in the process:

Cape Breton
Travel time saved (hrs)
34.20 hrs
Time on Crossloop (hrs)
38.30 hrs
*calculated by distance to site, covering car rental, gas, meals and accommodation

We have also been fortunate to have two former contract staff return as volunteers, enabling us to move forward on two projects which would not otherwise have been completed.  Lynn MacEachern completed a thorough cleaning and edit of the Manufacturers' Database, so that we now have a more user-friendly and manageable database.  Our second volunteer was Melanie Baker, who assisted with the data entry of backlogged records for Passage sites. 

3.         2009/2010 Work Plan

1.      Core Activities
a.      Outreach, training and on-site support visits
Support staff attend as many regional meetings as possible, and send reports to the regional group if they are unable to attend in-person.  On-site support visits take place from May through October, and each participating museum is ensured of at least one visit.  In addition to these, the CHIN enrichment project allowed for an additional 15 full-day site visits that focused on digital photography and enrichment of art objects. 
b.      Remote assistance
Testing of Crossloop for this purpose has been very successful.  The program allows support staff to accomplish database troubleshooting and provide one-on-one assistance immediately instead of worrying about travel costs or transferring files back and forth.  We view this as a stepping stone to offering a broader range of web-based distance learning services that will further increase the efficiency of ITCM services.
c.       Documentation package
The standardized documentation package is currently being reviewed by the IT & Collections Management Advisory Committee, and will be posted on the new ANSM website in the coming weeks.  As time and resources allow, more information will be added to the Resources section of the website.
d.      Revised database manuals
The task of revising the database manuals has been slated for September-October.  This will allow the Collections Coordinator to complete site visits and obtain feedback from participant museums on revisions needed in the new manuals.  Until this task is completed, the current database manuals are available on the ANSM website in the new resources section.
e.       Provision of equipment to new partners and examination and/or upgrade of existing databases
One new site has been brought on board already, with the second planned for May, and both will have been provided with the necessary equipment.  The ITCMAC regional reps also performed a member equipment survey.  For those museums without, we purchased external hard drives and webcams to facilitate backup & remote assistance.  In order to further assist members, investigations have been made into online backup systems and the possibility of a bulk purchase equipment program.

2.      New Initiatives
a.      Internet marketing for museums
Information gathering has been taking place and support staff have been meeting with various key informants to determine how museums can best take advantage of internet marketing.  A strategic plan will be written over the coming months and will be made available on the ANSM website.
b.      Feasibility study on web conferencing software
A review of possible web conferencing programs has been drafted.  Staff have also met with CHIN to compare notes and discuss partnership possibilities.  The study will be completed over the coming months.
c.       Hiring an IT consultant
An RFP has been circulated and we are in the process of hiring a local IT consultant to examine the database structures and assist in determining a long-term plan for the project.

In addition to the above-mentioned, the ITCMAC has drafted a new ITCM Service Policy to provide better guidelines for service activities. 

3.         Looking Ahead

The new committee and no less the PSC before it, has been concerned about the efficiency of the costs involved with the Project in general.   Maximizing the effectiveness of limited staff time and resources is a concern, which is why ways to improve and intensify the Project's training capacity continue to be given trials and investigated (see items 1a & 2b).  A foundational piece to this is the new ITCM Service Policy, which will help in guiding Project activities and ensure effectiveness.  We want to be able to encourage many more of the large number of museums in the province to join the Association and take up Passage.  We must attempt to increase total service revenues but at the same time reduce the individual or unit cost of service, particularly of Passage.  With the new ToR for Passage enabling an expansion of service offered, we hope to develop the ways and means of doing so.

At the end of the current Passage funding year, I wish to step down from the position as Chairperson of the ITCMAC.  I ask all of the Passage participants to consider my replacement and particularly urge the County Museums, in their role as recognised and rewarded leaders among the community museums, to assume responsibility in ensuring the effective continuity of what is clearly a most important committee of the Association. 

4.         Conclusion

It has been a most productive and in many ways a definitive year. The project is now securely established within the Association, with clear and forward looking terms of reference.  The committee has thereby been provided the potential to become the principle vehicle of service delivery to the members of the Association.

The presence of a Managing Director representing the board to the committee has been most valuable and excellent communication has been established.  The regional organisation continues to be a very useful platform for effective communication by the Collections Coordinator, and the additional "distance learning" being introduced and tested is already demonstrating a most economic means of very accessible training refreshment.

As committee chair I wish to thank the members, Gail MaGee (Committee Secretary) from Fultz House, Jim MacLean from the Port Hastings Museum, Linda Rafuse from the Queens County Museum, Dayle Crouse from the Hector Exhibit Centre, and Valerie Lenethen Collections Management Consultant, Heritage Division, Tourism, Culture & Heritage, for their attendance, attention and assistance with the affairs of the committee. 

Finally, I personally wish to acknowledge the professionalism, quality, commitment and above all else, the leadership initiatives of Karin Kierstead in her role as Collections Coordinator for Passage Project.  She has, this year with the benefit of the new terms of reference, confidently continued, successfully, to develop the project as a remarkable and unique service for the Association and its member organisations.

Respectfully submitted

Derek Watts
15 April 2010