Social Media (SM) are an important tool whereby organizations may build and strengthen relations with a variety of stakeholders. By doing so, SM (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube) enable organizations to realize a two-way communication, so favoring a dialogue with their audience. Previous researches have examined the use of these instruments in private, public and non-profit organizations. However, literature has so far devoted limited attention to the use of SM in the cultural sector and especially in museums. To this purpose, the paper aims to analyze the approach of Italian State Museums towards SM and furthermore to understand if, through SM, they actively seek stakeholder engagement (SE). In addition, in case of interaction or SE between museum and its stakeholders, the research aims to establish the prevailing approach which underlies the use of SM in the museum. The results of the analysis show that, although Italian museums are turning to SM more and more often, their approach continues to be exclusively communicational as they do not attempt to involve and engage actively with users. In addition, the interactions between the museum and its social supporters are very limited and, in the majority of cases, the attitude shown by the users is mostly collaborative rather than opposing.
Keywords: Italian State Museums, Social Media, Communication, Stakeholder engagement