Back in September a bunch of us from Museums Galleries Scotland went on the road to host a series of Festival of Museums workshops. Eithne previously wrote about some of the things we discussed but if we had put everything in that one blog post you would still be reading it now. My session in the afternoon was hopefully a solution to a common problem that keeps coming up in post event evaluations…you guys simply don’t have time for marketing. At times like this your smart phone can be your new best friend. Below are a bunch of apps for your phone that are great for promoting and running your events so if you can take advantage of opportunities when then happen rather than forget by the time you’re back in front of a computer.
Neon only launched in September so it’s currently only available on Apple devices, they are working on an Android app so keep your eye out for it. The app allows you to not only manage your events though a mobile device before the event but it can be used for ticket scanning and check in at the door. You can even use it to take card payments at the door using card reader attachments (priced at $10 + postage). Eventbrite doesn’t cost anything if your event is free but it will take a percentage of paid ticket prices as a service and processing fee. Don’t be put off by this option as Eventbrite does allow you to pass this fee on to the ticket buyer. (Much like eBay where buyers pay for postage.) The pricing page on Eventbrite gives more details and has a handy app to help you calculate what you would be expected to receive as profit from ticket sales.
Don’t be put off by the fact that you aren’t taking 100% of the profit home, some profit is better than no profit (and no profit makes our colleague Devon sad.) Using Eventbrite takes a lot of the stress out of managing a ticketed event and is a real viable alternative if you don’t have an ecommerce website or capacity for telephone booking.
Did I mention that Buffer has a 50% discount for charities and non-profits? You can use this tool for free and it will allow you to add 3 different social media channels and schedule up to 10 messages. If you upgrade to the Awesome Plan you get a 50% discount if you are a non-profit which works out to about £33 a year for a subscription. The Awesome Plan will let you add 10 social media accounts and schedule up to 100 messages. You can also use the Festival of Museums fund to apply for the money to pay for this subscription, which you will get for a whole year, not just until May 2016.
ProCam for high quality images
ProCam for Android (Free)
ProCam for iPhone (£2.99)
Unfortunately I’ve discovered that ProCam is no longer available for free on Apple devices. ProCam 2 was a free download but their latest version is now a paid app at £2.99. The point of discussing this in our sessions was to give you tools for free so I apologise for the mix up. In my opinion it is worth the money and you should be sure to include the cost of this app in your Festival of Museum’s grant application, but if you would still prefer a free app VSCO is worth downloading, though it won’t allow you to shoot 28MB pictures the built in editing software makes up for it. ProCam works by unlocking all the awesome camera features on your phone that the Apple camera app restricts. Need great shots in low light areas? It has a night mode. Need to shoot VERY high res images? It’ll let you shoot in TIFF. It also does video too!
Live Streaming Tools
Of the two apps available for live streaming Periscope seems to be the most popular as it was developed by Twitter so it has official support from the social media channel. Periscope also allows you to replay your broadcast for 24 hours, so if followers missed the live stream they can catch up later. Museums such as the V&A have been using the app very successfully to live stream their exhibitions. You can see the video captured from the live stream of the recent sell out Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition here. Speaking as someone who saw this exhibition in person, the commentary from the Research Assistant, Kate Bethune, provides much more insight and added value than I experienced from a physical visit.
Instagram is a great app for making your pictures look more attractive. It’s wide selection of pre-set filters makes it easy for inexperienced photographers to take great images and, as it’s a social media channel in its own right, it’s another way to engage with people. It’s a great way to host images like a digital photo booth from your evening rather than individually emailing images to visitors and the content is very easy to share to places like Facebook. (Just a note to say that as Instagram is owned by Facebook the images will appear in full when shared on a person’s timeline. Twitter restricts access to third party photo apps so if you share an Instagram image to Twitter all that will appear is a link.) Instagram also hosts short videos as well as images.
There isn’t an app that works for both operating systems so these options are both the best choices for Android and IOS. If you want to edit any video’s you’ve taken on your phone before uploading them somewhere else you can do this with both VivaVideo and Splice. They’re really easy to use app for making changes without the need to transfer your video to a computer. Whilst both are free the most advanced features (or having a wider choice of music to add to your video) require in app purchases, however all the free features are all you need to make a great basic video. Note to iPhone users, the ios app for Vimeo also has a basic editing service built in for your videos.
Is there an mobile app you use in your museum that make your life much easier? Let us know in the comments below!