WA Museum - Social Media Guidelines


These guidelines are meant for all staff interested in how social media can help us deliver our message and support the overall strategic goals of the organisation.

This information will familiarise you with the Museum’s social media philosophy, invite you to find, join and participate in our social media presence, as well as a guide for you to create your own department’s social media presence.

Social network mediums such as Wikipedia, Facebook, Google+, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are exciting new channels for you to share knowledge, express your creativity and connect with others who share your interests.

Setting up a social media site

  • Social media site proposals will be examined by the Media and Communications Manager as well as the Online Services Manager and will determine the best delivery format.
  • All social media sites for the WA Museum whether internally or externally hosted, must be set up and established by the Online Services Manager. Staff and volunteers may not set up a WA Museum social media profile without the permission and direction of Media and Communications Manager and the Online Services Manager, since it may not support the overall strategic goals and overview of the organisation.
  • Any hosted WA Museum social media sites need to have a username and password on file with Online Services Manager
  • Personal social media sites identifying the owner/user as a WA Museum employee or volunteer and are covering WA Museum issues/products/services, should make it clear to your readers that the views you express are yours alone, and that they do not necessarily reflect the WA Museum’s views.
  • Social media sites are ongoing and do not have an ‘end date.’ While they are free to set up, they will become costly in the form of staff time to maintain and hold audience interest.
  • Sites like Facebook require an employee to use their personal account in order to access the business site. The employee should be mindful of this requirement.

Social Media Tools

The following is a list of the currently most popular social media tools that we maintain a presence on. 

With all of them, follow these points (much of this even applies to Flickr and YouTube):

  • Be creative.
  • Engage your audience – invite readers to get involved.
  • Tell important stories.
  • Share your process.
  • Share your successes and challenges.
  • Write short, concise, action-orientated posts.
  • Link to interesting local news.
  • Link back to the institution.
  • Find your niche.
  • Be a subject matter expert.
  • Be conversational.
  • Post regularly and reasonably often, keep a consistent schedule.
  • Utilise multiple mediums to achieve strategic goals. Integrate Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc.
  • Measure results.


The WA Museum maintains a Facebook presence. For a consistent brand, and so our followers know they are dealing with us and not an unofficial Facebook fan site, we maintain similar profile pictures on all our historic sites and museum Facebook pages. Sites can manage their own Facebook page only after approval of a submitted Social Media creation request, and will commit to managing their page over an extended period of time, they will also commit to updating their pages at least three times a week.

Groups or pages that are no longer needed will be removed.

Sites that are unable to maintain or monitor their Facebook page must turn off Wall, discussion and public video/photo uploading options.

News and events can also be promoted through the WA Museum’s official Facebook page, please contact Online Services Manager which administers the site with your event information request.


At this point the WA Museum does not maintain a Google+ page. When this is established, similar guidelines to Facebook will be applied


At this point, the WA Museum does not maintain a Flickr account. All photos are currently placed through galleries on the Museum website. However, once we have a DAM in place, we will be embracing Flickr. Whether or not you produce images for Flickr or for the website, the following rules still apply:

  • It is better to have a few photos that have a title, description and tags – rather than dozens without accompanying information.
  • Event photos should tell a story rather than just people smiling at the camera. Please respect the dignity and privacy of our visitors. If you can see the faces of visitors in a photo, you must obtain a signed photo release before posting the photos. If you take t[d1]
  • If photos are of an event, or if people aren't easily identifiable, releases are not required. For children, a photo release is required from the parent/guardian.
  • Make sure you have permission to upload the photos.
  • If possible, consider posting the photos under the Creative Commons License on Flickr to allow people to copy and redistribute the photos.


At this point, the WA Museum does not maintain a YouTube account. All videos are currently played through video galleries on the Museum website. However, there are plans to embrace a YouTube channel, particularly to play field work videos. Whether or not you produce videos for YouTube or for the website, the following rules still apply:

  • Unless you are filming a curator lecture, videos must be 10 minutes or less in length, less than 10 gigabytes (10GB) in size with a short description and title.
  • Curator lectures should go for as long as the lecture itself, audience questions should only be included if you can mic the audience.
  • The following formats are preferred: .WMV, .MOV, .MP4, .MPEG, .FLV.
  • Please respect the dignity and privacy of our visitors. If you can see the faces of visitors in a video, you must obtain a signed photo release before posting the video. If you take the videos at an event, or if people aren't easily identifiable, releases are not required. For children, a photo release is required from the parent/guardian.


The WA Museum maintains a Twitter account. Events and news can be posted on Twitter through this account.

Twitter requires more time than Facebook to maintain and monitor. Do you have at least one person to tweet every day?


There are many other mediums available including Ning, LinkedIn, Wikipedia, Gather, iTunes U, and TeacherTube. If you are interested in having a presence on any social media site please contact the Online Services Manager.



Listen to the conversations that are currently taking place.

Before attempting to create profiles on any social media sites, the first step is to listen. Discover and monitor the discussions taking place about, or related to your product or service, and who is talking about them. Using a variety of tools you can monitor social networks to determine the current level of conversation, references and links to, and associations with a particular brand.

The analysis of social activity monitoring can also yield valuable information about brand sentiment and uncover hidden strategic opportunities.

Once this baseline is established, ongoing alerts and feeds are put into place to continue listening in real time.  This engagement serves as the baseline listening exercise.

The listening phase is also a good time to study what similar organisations are doing.

Evaluate best practices.

Take cues from the successes and challenges of your colleagues.


Interact with key audiences/influences via the relevant social networks media.


Engaging in a two-way dialogue with key influences and niche audiences will help spread your message and drive interaction.


Decide if you have the capacity to regularly update a site. Choose a handful of employees and volunteers who are eager to share their perspective.


  • Approve comments as quickly as possible.
  • Post regularly.
  • Reply to comments from your readers.
  • Read the blogs of your regular commenters, and comment on THEIR blog as much as possible.
  • Add a window to the comments. For posts that are worth mentioning, you may wish to acknowledge the post at the bottom of the blog with a link to it.
  • Encourage response – ask your readers for their comments.

Sales Posts

Sometimes advertisers post listings to promote their business. In this case remove the posting and if the post was completely unrelated to the WA Museum’s page or services, ban the user. If a post is promoting a service related to the museum, then use discretion as to whether or not to remove the post.

Negative comments

One of the biggest concerns organisations have over starting an interactive site or profile is how to deal with negative comments, especially those from trolls (a troll is someone who tries to get attention by posting things everyone will disagree with, eg. Going to a West Coast Eagles fan page and writing “Dockers are better than the Eagles” on the Wall). If your blog/sites accept comments, then you have several alternatives when you receive a negative comment to your blog or post.

The following is from Intel’s Social Media Guidelines and contains a good sentiment about social media posting:

Follow these three principles: the Good, the Bad, but not the Ugly. If the content is positive or negative and in context to the conversation, then we approve the content, regardless of whether it's favourable or unfavourable to us. But if the content is ugly, offensive, denigrating and completely out of context, then we reject the content.

6 Tips for Handling Haters, Trolls and Negativity

  1. Ignoring them or deleting them.
    This usually isn't the best course of action. If you consistently ignore negative comments on your company's blog, it is likely generate more negative discussion, as your community begins to question whether or not you actually want to interact with them. If you delete them, that will make matters worse, because the bloggers whose comments you deleted will then go back to their blog and post about how you are censoring comments to your company's blog. This should always be a last resort.

    • Don’t Engage: If there is a troll making comments on your blog/post, kindly ask that person to refrain from unkind remarks. Don’t engage, and request that your community also not engage with the person. Feel free to delete comments and lock or delete threads if things get out of control. Trolls want you to volley and make things uncomfortable for the rest of your community. Instead, ignore the troll.

  2. Attempting to pacify them.
    This might include giving the commenter an incentive (eg a guided tour of a museum site). This might stop the negative comments, but really doesn't help your issue, since you are simply trying to make the problem go away.

  3. Addressing them.
    This is always the best course of action. You can't please your customers all the time, but you can listen to them and attempt to rectify a situation. Let them speak their piece, and see if they are trying to bring to attention problems in your business processes that can be addressed and corrected. As a public institution, we are obliged to respond or provide the information they require at their request. A negative comment can become a powerful opportunity for your company to not only improve its processes, but may also be likely to convert a complainer into an endorser for your company.

    • Don’t antagonise them.
      This is probably the worst thing you can do. Your community won't remember the person that slammed the Western Australian Museum, but they will remember how we responded in an unprofessional manner to a comment on your blog. As with ignoring comments, this will draw even more fire from your community.

  4. Contacting “The Powers That Be.”
    If you are in doubt as to what to do or would like advice, contact your department supervisor, alternatively you can also contact the Online Services Manager or Media and Communications Manager.

  5. Have a firm policy in place on the site.
    Offer a warning or a reminder to first offenders, and anyone not following the rules should be asked to leave if they continue to act in a negative manner.

  6. Banning the offending party.
    Don’t be afraid to ban someone who constantly creates a negative environment. Many moderators feel that by diffusing a negative situation, they’re only going to make things worse; however your community discussion does not need to be marred by unwarranted negativity from trolls.

Copyright, permissions and citations

  • When quoting any other blog or publication, be sure to provide a web link to the original (if possible) and use quotation marks or block quotes (for longer texts). If you can’t link to a publication, cite the title, author, publisher and year of publication.
  • When using a photograph found elsewhere on the web, you must do one of the following:
    • Get permission from the original copyright holder (which is not always the same as the site that is displaying the image).
    • Use images that are not under copyright, such as a photograph that is available under a creative commons license.
  • Make sure images other than your own are properly credited; cite the original source along with the photographer or owner’s name.