In 2020, inspired by the success of #ScottishMuseumsDay, ARA Scotland decided it was time to start #ScottishArchivesDay. The idea was simple – celebrate all things Scottish in archives regardless of where you’re based.
SAVE THE DATE
ARA Scotland looked at various possible dates, at first considering whether they should be linked to a particular historical event but decided the campaign would get lost if we did that. February seemed to be a quiet month on social media after the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year, and people were back into the swing of things at work and would have the time to promote their archives, so we decided on 28 February.
The first year it took place, there was a significant amount of publicity required, as it was a completely new event. We have an ongoing group message on Twitter with many Scottish heritage institutions where we send out updates on campaigns we are running, so that was one of the main ways in which we got in touch with people. This message is there to ensure that the information about our campaigns is definitely seen so that people will be able to plan to participate, rather than just assuming they will see our tweets. We also announced the campaign a month before it would launch and promoted it regularly on Twitter.
REACHING DIFFERENT AUDIENCES
We got a great response, with over 300 contributors. This included the expected archive audience, but also private companies, organisations, and individuals, such as the Bank of England and the Met Office. At its peak, the hashtag was trending at #25 in the UK.
For the second year, because the date already existed, it seemed as if there wasn’t quite as much promotion required. We announced the date again a month ahead of time and promoted it weekly in the lead up to the event.
This resulted in about 50 participants, largely Scottish archives, and heritage institutions. This was a great result! However, in hindsight I would have done more promotion around participation by archives from different locations, as the intention is for anyone who has anything related to Scotland to be able to participate and I am not sure if that message came across. Additionally, because it wasn’t “the first” event, it may have been better to promote even more often than the previous year, as there wasn’t the same innate excitement that comes with starting something new. In addition, at this point in the pandemic people are feeling burnt out and may simply be less likely to participate in some of these awareness days.
There were over 120 tweets sent from 50+ participants, several of whom posted multiple times throughout the day. For our own tweets we had around 4,200 impressions on Scottish Archives Day itself, and similar interactions during the leadup to the day.
We loved seeing what everyone had to contribute, large and small:
SCRAN and Edinburgh Castle shared images of iconic Scottish structures.
Others shared about upcoming events or recently available collections:
Key (personal) learning: make sure to track your hashtag performance right away! There are plenty of free tools out there to do so, but there is a limited time in which they are free. I’m still on a bit of a learning curve as I’ve only been in this role for three months, so while I knew how to use Twitter’s inbuilt analytics for our own tweets, I did not have much experience tracking overall hashtag performance, which is useful on a campaign like this. All in all, it was a great awareness day with a lot of participation from the Scottish heritage sector, and I look forward to running it again next year! Check out #ScottishArchivesDay on Twitter to see more of the great content sent on the day!
Featured image – North Lanarkshire Archives outsized records storage area, copyright Culture and Leisure NL Ltd”