An Instagram masterclass from the man behind the Louvre’s eight million social media followers

We caught up with the Paris institution's head of digital communications, Niko Melissano, to get his advice on creating a mega-museum Instagram presence

 © Harrison Moore

© Harrison Moore

Insta’ gratification

Insta’ gratification is a monthly blog by Aimee Dawson, our Associate Digital Editor. Looking at how the art world and Instagram collide, each article tackles a topic around the innovations and challenges that spring up when art enters the digital world.

The Museé du Louvre in Paris comes fourth in our new survey of the most-followed museums on social media. It has almost eight million followers, with half of those on Instagram. We caught up with the head of digital communications, Niko Melissano, to get his advice on creating a mega-museum Instagram presence.

How long have you been leading the social media at the Louvre?

Since 2009. It has been a long “love” story…

What has been your most popular campaign?

One was definitely celebrating 30 years of the Louvre Pyramid last year. I noticed a real international community online and a lot of participation thanks to the intervention by the artist JR (who made a huge trompe l’oeil work that made it look like the pyramid continued underground). I would also cite the campaign on the last three free nights of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition, where we put many stories on Instagram to show the museum as a hospitable place open to all.

What is the biggest challenge of running the social media for such a large institution?

I would say that the challenge is always keeping a leading position in international cultural communication and attracting new audiences. We need to address and gain the loyalty of a worldwide audience. Then the institution must constantly reinvent itself—to always try new things without being distorted.

What do you think is the secret to the Louvre’s huge follower numbers?

The Louvre is a magical place—a symbol of Paris and France—that appeals to visitors of all nationalities. The beauty of the collections and spaces of the palace and gardens makes it unique in the world. But all that it is not enough—we must always keep a fresh and curious eye. In 2018, the video by Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Louvre, shared more than 200 million times on YouTube, opened the museum to distant and younger audiences. It’s a miracle that a museum of ancient art like the Louvre is so popular with young people around the world.

What would be your one top tip for others trying to improve their Instagram accounts?

The point of beauty is to share it. The strength of social networks is being able to bring communities together. It can only be a happy marriage—it’s up to us to be generous and creative!