Social Media in Public Gardens

Member Highlight: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

Interview with Lisa Blackburn, Communications Coordinator/Calendar Editor                


APGA: Can you tell us a bit about the various channels of social media that you currently employ? 

HBG: We currently use Facebook,TwitterFlickr, and we also have a blog


APGA: Can you provide a specific example of a success you've had in social media?

HBG: On Flickr, I’ve created six different Group Pools where visitors can share their photos. One example is our Desert Garden group. Another is our Flowers in Bloom group.  

Drawing from these visitor photos on Flickr, many of which are quite stunning, we do a daily “Photo of the Day” feature, which we post on Facebook and Twitter.  When possible, I try to select seasonal or topical images and include some related information in the post. The Photos of the Day are regularly among our most popular posts. While some of the content and images we post relate to our art collections and library holdings, the botanical images seem to resonate especially strongly with visitors.

Our most popular Photo of the Day, EVER, on Facebook was this one---a lovely private moment caught by a passerby.

Another way I use our Flickr groups is by pulling together “galleries” of visitor photos around a specific theme, and then sharing those via Twitter and Facebook. A recent one included some of the most outstanding visitor photos of our Chinese Garden


APGA: What have you learned from something you tried in social media that didn't work?

HBG: As for what works and what doesn’t, I haven’t found any fool-proof formula.  But I think public gardens have one thing going for them that other organizations don’t necessarily have: spectacular scenery.  Capitalize on that asset by posting lots of great photos, and you can’t go wrong.