A Case Study in Authenticity at the National Cowboy Museum during the Strange Times of Social Distancing

In the fast-paced world of content marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest emerging tools, networks, tactics, hashtags…all in the name of keeping those analytics in tip top shape.

Don’t sound overly promotional, have some fun with it, make sure you maintain the voice—and by the way, did next week’s rotation of post drafts get submitted for review yet?

Content marketing requires a well-oiled machine of systems and optimization on a continual basis. Some brands had to get creative to adjust as the entire world slowly drew back and shifted to a social distancing stance.

In some ways, content marketing was made for a socially distanced world—it’s already largely digitally based. Now more than ever, people are tethered to the world through social media platforms. But during these times, teams running content for a fixed-location experience—like a museum that is closed to patrons—are facing unique challenges to keep their outreach in motion.

Rather than abandon social media during coronavirus distancing, the National Cowboy Museum’s marketing team handed its Twitter account ovr to the only person who would be left on site. The head of security. Tim.

It quickly became clear that Tim’s Twitter experience was limited.

But Tim hasn’t shied away from offering his personal insights on the museum’s exhibits, and he’s offered up some real jewels.

With some guidance from Seth in marketing, they’re finding their way.

While I can only imagine the panic attack I would have should such content ever appear on one of my clients’ pages, Seth was patient with Tim.

And it wasn’t lost on either of them that Tim’s posts were getting an incredibly positive response and drawing an unprecedented audience to the museum’s social channels.

It seems that together, Seth and Tim have found a remarkable balance between delivering bite-sized glimpses into the museum and letting Tim do his thing, with incredible results.

How did Tim break all the rules of content marketing and become such a beloved viral character of our time in quarantine? It might not have been calculated or planned, but it’s no accident, either.

I know it takes a little of the fun away to peek under the hood and analyze why it works, but as a digital marketing strategist, I can’t help myself. Here are three reasons Tim’s tweets are working:


When Seth from marketing handed over the Twitter account to Tim, they hit pause on the regular ongoing content to introduce the new person at the helm, even though there is not typically a name attached to the posts. All of Tim’s content since then includes his instantly classic “Thanks, Tim” signoff that reminds followers of the departure from the usual team.

Perhaps most importantly, they made no effort to hide that Tim is no marketing mastermind. Compounded with the unusual circumstances we’ve all been adapting to together, this made followers much more prepared to overlook quirks in the content.

Spirit of the moment

With people all over the world feeling the impacts of social distancing in so many different—but shared—ways, a changeup to a museum’s social media management is essentially par for the course.

Following along as Tim navigates the learning curve of Twitter and uses humor to find the silver lining in these challenging times makes it easy to remember that we’re all in this together.


No matter how savvy we feel we’ve become in time, there is no Twitter user or content marketing professional who has not at some time experienced a steep learning curve on a new platform. Tim’s openness about the process only makes it all the easier to cheer him on.

Plus, his jokes are the jokes that all our dads would make on the family vacation of our teenage nightmares.

While the pandemic continues to get increasingly dark, there is a silver lining to social distancing. All around the globe, we’re finding creative ways to stay to connected—not just among brands and marketing campaigns, but also with family, friends, and neighbors.

When we find some common ground to have a good-natured laugh, it’s just one more way to keep us united while physically isolated. Many thanks to Tim, Seth, and all those who are putting themselves out there to adapt in these unprecedented times.

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