With more than 500 million people actively swiping and scrolling on Instagram every day, the world's most eminent cultural institutions have embraced Instagram from its beginning. Leading museums, like the MET, Musée du Louvre, MoMA and the British Museum, diligently present their collections, spread their core values to, as well as socialise with their millions of followers from all over the world.
Although Instagram is blocked in China Mainland, many of the most active Chinese museums manage to register and operate an official Instagram account. Because of the different media landscape in China, Chinese museums spend most of their efforts on WeChat, Weibo, Douyin, RED and other Chinese social media platforms. However, the adoption of Instagram by Chinese museums reveals their demand for international recognition. There is no doubt, Instagram offers a huge potential for Chinese museums to interact and engage with international audiences, cultural institutions and overseas Chinese.
ARTouch Consulting monitors the Instagram performance of 28 Chinese public and private museums, and introduces the first of its kind "Chinese Museums Instagram Index".
Timeline: M Woods (Beijing), Times Museum (Guangzhou), Minsheng Art Museum (Shanghai) and K11 Art Foundation (multi-locations) were the early-adopters, making their first Instagram posts in 2014. The latecomers are the X Museum (Beijing, open in May 2020) , Today Art Museum (Beijing) and MoCA Shanghai.
Museum locations: Shanghai accounted for 46%, followed by Beijing with 29%, and the rest from cities like Nanjing and Guangzhou.
Private vs Public: Among the 28 museums tracked, 79% are private museums. This is easy to understand. Firstly, the decision-making process in private museum is much less complicated; secondly, the owners and the employees of private museums usually are with stronger international visions and overseas background, and it's also likely that they are Instagram users themselves.
Language: Among the 28 museums, 79% only use English, while 14% use both English and Chinese, with the rest using Chinese but English hashtags. It is very clear that their target are global audiences.
Followers: K11 Art Foundation is of the most followers at 37,000 (with 1,070 posts, 2-3 posts weekly), while Long Museum Chongqing only has 34 followers (only with 4 posts, stopped updating in 2016). The average followers level is at 5,513.
Followers engagement: We are looking at the percentage of followers who like or comment on the new posts over the month. The average level is around 5%.
Frequency: 39% of the museums made no update over the last month, while Power Station of Art was super productive, generating 24 posts. The average is posting 4 new contents each month.
Usage of IGTV and Story: The usage of IGTV and Story was not very high, with 89% museums never used IGTV and under 50% museums not used Story, this might partially due to the inconvenience of syndicating Instagram simultaneously in Mainland China.
K11 Art Foundation is the only one verified Instagram account among our Index. All posts are in both English and Traditional Chinese. Because of the multi-location nature of the foundation, it usually covers the contents related to exhibitions happening across their locations inside and outside of Mainland China.
With 15,000 followers, M Woods is one of the most popular and active Chinese museum account on Instagram. On April 8th, M Woods announced their virtual museum on Animal Crossing —— Nintendo's biggest hit of the lockdown, riding on the phenomenal popularity of the console game globally. With hashtags including #stayhome and #animalcrossing, as well as 10 cute images of their virtual museum on Animal Crossing, the post won 527 likes and 51 comments. Again, the is might also be attributed to the co-founder of the museum, Wanwan Lei, who was educated in the US and radiates her influence on Chinese social media as well as Instagram to over 4.8 million followers all together.
X Museum is the first Chinese museum which launched their official instagram account (December 2019) before the official opening of their museum (scheduled in March 2020, now postponed to May 2020 due to Covid-19). This is partially attributed to its founder Michael Xufu Huang, who is extremely sophisticated and connected in the international art scene and also an Instagram influencer with over 108,000 followers. On March 6th, X Museum posted the launch of "the first naked eye 3D virtual museum in China" with a very Instagram-friendly and visually intriguing video, which hit 1, 091 views, at nearly 50% of follower engagement rate.
Chinese Museums Instagram Monthly Active Top 5
ARTouch Consulting will publish Chinese Museums Instagram Monthly Active Top 5, examining the monthly amount of new posts, followers growth rate, followers conversion rate per post as well as followers engagement rate.
Stay tuned. Until next ARTouch Insights time. Stay safe and well.