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Creative Ideas for Historical & Genealogical Societies to Engage on Reels and TikTok

Image of three cell phones with 1st phone showing a person holding up an old photo of an ancestor, 2nd image is a photo of Mount Vernon and 3rd images is a photo of a board meeting.
Exploring innovative ways to captivate audiences on social media platforms.

In today's digital age, social media platforms like Reels and TikTok offer unique opportunities for historical and genealogical societies to connect with a broader audience. These platforms are perfect for sharing bite-sized, engaging content that can inspire, educate, and entertain. Here are some creative ideas for societies to consider for creating compelling Reels and TikToks:

Historical Figures' Stories

  • Brief Family Stories - Share short, captivating stories about historical figures from your community. Highlight interesting events, achievements, or historical contexts.

  • Photo Reveal - Use a before-and-after photo transition to show an old building photo and then reveal the modern location.

Genealogy Tips and Tricks

  • Research Tips - Share quick tips for researchers on how to uncover their ancestors' stories, such as using census records or local archives.

  • Genealogy Myths - Bust common genealogy myths in a fun and engaging way.

Historical Document Highlights

  • Document Explainers - Show a historical document and explain its significance and how to interpret it.

  • Old Letters - Read excerpts from old family letters, highlighting the emotions and context of the time.

Genealogical Journey

  • Personal Journeys - Members share their personal genealogical journeys and what they’ve discovered.

  • Brick Walls - Discuss challenging "brick walls" in research and how they were overcome.

Genealogy Challenges

  • Photo Challenges - Encourage members to share photos of ancestors who look similar to them.

  • Storytelling Prompts - Create prompts for members to share a specific type of story, such as a family migration story or a tale of resilience.

Behind the Scenes

  • Library Visits - Show behind-the-scenes footage of visits to archives, libraries, or historical sites.

  • Research Process - A day in the life of a genealogist, showing the research process and tools used.

Historical Event Context

  • Timeline Reels - Create timelines of historical events that affected ancestors, such as wars, migrations, natural disasters, or economic changes.

  • Local History - Highlight historical events specific to the society’s region and how they impacted local families.

Genealogy Humor

  • Funny Memes - Share humorous memes or jokes related to genealogy.

  • Ancestry Surprises - Light-hearted reactions to surprising or funny discoveries in family history.

Member Spotlights

  • Interviews - Short interviews with society members about their research and discoveries.

  • Success Stories - Share stories of members who made significant discoveries with the society's help.

Event Promotions

  • Upcoming Events - Promote upcoming webinars, workshops, and conferences with engaging visuals.

  • Event Highlights - Recap past events with highlights and testimonials from attendees.

Interactive Content

  • Q&A Sessions - Host live Q&A sessions where viewers can ask genealogy-related questions. Recorded live sessions can be turned into short video clips.

  • Polls and Quizzes - Create polls and quizzes about genealogy facts, famous ancestors, or historical events.

Genealogy Resources

  • Book Recommendations - Share favorite and useful genealogy books and resources.

  • Website Tutorials - Demonstrate how to use different databases on the website.

Cultural Heritage

  • Cultural Celebrations - Share how different cultures celebrate family traditions and heritage.

  • Language Lessons - Teach viewers a few words or phrases in the ancestral language of a featured family.

Memorial Tributes

  • Honoring Ancestors - Create tribute videos for ancestors, especially around significant anniversaries or holidays.

  • Military Service - Highlight stories of ancestors who served in the military.

Recording Tips:

  • Visual Appeal - Use engaging visuals, transitions, and music to capture attention.

  • Consistency - Post regularly to keep the audience engaged.

  • Engagement - Encourage viewers to like, share, and comment on the content.

  • Authenticity - Share genuine and heartfelt stories to connect with the audience.

By implementing these ideas, historical and genealogical societies can effectively leverage Reels and TikTok to reach a wider audience, foster a sense of community, and enhance their genealogical pursuits. Whether sharing a fascinating old photo, offering research tips, or celebrating cultural heritage, there are countless ways to make genealogy exciting and accessible to everyone. Let's continue to grow our genealogical communities, one post, one story, one connection at a time!


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