Social Media Accounts at the National Archives

Social Media Strategy Fiscal Years 2021-2025

Close up image of phone screen with various social media apps shown. A White text bubble that says " Social Media Strategy FY 2021-2025" is overlaid over the phone screen.













Communicating directly with our customers through social media is key to achieving the mission and strategic goals of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). As the nation’s recordkeeper, we want to connect audiences around the world with our holdings and history, provide valuable online resources that give context to that history, and show how our staff across NARA are working to achieve our mission.

Our agency’s strategic goals are the driving force behind this social media strategy.

  • Make access happen
  • Connect with customers 
  • Maximize NARA’s value to the nation 
  • Build our future through our people

In a world that is increasingly dependent on digital and virtual services, the public’s first stop is often social media. Over the last 10 years, social media has been one of the most visible ways for the National Archives to demonstrate our purpose and mission and provide our customers with immediate information. 

As we write this in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the digital landscape. Though these changes will have lasting effects on how customers interact with organizations, the mission of our agency remains steadfast. Our staff continue to do important work and provide valuable resources that serve our mission and strategic goals. 

In times of crisis, we have seen staff rise to the challenge. As demand for virtual experiences has grown more urgent, our staff have created invaluable resources for community engagement, distance learning, public programs, and access to our records. All of this has been shared and amplified through social media.

Social media has allowed us to be nimble and responsive to customer needs and use patterns. While social media has always been an entry point for audiences to connect to the National Archives, it is now one of the only ways to connect with our audiences in real time and host "in-person" experiences.

By participating in social media and sharing their expertise, our staff are working toward achieving our agency’s strategic goals. Additionally, social media helps to support staff morale by fostering a space where staff across the agency can collaborate, contribute, and gain a better understanding and awareness of the work being done by their colleagues.

Our previous social media strategy challenged us to build a community of practice across NARA, creating a group of staff who meet online monthly to coordinate campaigns and share their ideas and experiences with social media. This strategy builds on that success by acknowledging the continuing need for our managers and supervisors to support staff in using social media, whether they manage a platform or occasionally contribute. 

This social media strategy will help to guide our vibrant community of practice and talented staff in an increasingly digital future. Our commitment to the mission of making the holdings of the National Archives available to the American people is as strong as ever, and we will continue to use social media to reinforce our service and value to the nation.

Vision Statement

Through this social media strategy, we will connect our audience with our holdings, provide valuable online resources that give context to that history, and show how our staff across the National Archives work to achieve our mission. 

The goal of this strategy is to provide a framework—consisting of three pillars—that gives staff a shared sense of purpose in participating in our social media community of practice and feel a connection to each other and to NARA’s mission.

Share our history: What we hold

We are the stewards of our nation’s records—our holdings are unique, American, and full of stories from well-known historical events to lesser-known, but equally important, moments. In a virtual world, our social media platforms are an essential entrance point to accessing the history held within the National Archives. 

People across the country and around the world are potential visitors who aspire to see our records, so we have a unique opportunity through social media to extend our welcome through these virtual doors. We can actively reach diverse audiences and connect people with relevant, timely content. Through social media, we bring the holdings of the National Archives to the world through digital access, virtual visits, and online insights from our experts.

Every record—document, photograph, film, artifact, or digital file—in our holdings is an opportunity for storytelling. Through social media, we provide access to stories that resonate with our audiences and increase understanding of our shared history. Great content is one of NARA’s strengths, and we want to empower staff across the agency to get involved and share the stories that they encounter.

We can build goodwill and brand recognition for the National Archives through great storytelling. When we allow staff to tell the stories of our holdings and share the work we do to protect and make them accessible, we build trust and understanding with the public. Our campaigns, posts, videos, and blogs all strive to create a connection with our audience. We care about our work and our mission, and we want them to care as well. By cultivating this meaningful relationship with our audiences, we are also reinforcing the reliable and trustworthy brand and voice of the National Archives.

Storytelling must also go beyond describing the records themselves. Audiences want the full story of the record. What is it? How and why was it created? Who is the story about? 

We will always provide access to the records, but our staff can also offer the expertise that shows our audiences why these records matter and give them a greater understanding of the role of these records in our democracy. Social media also gives our staff a place to respond to questions from the public and enrich the conversation around these records.

Our social media presence makes NARA’s records easier to find and more accessible, it also reaches many more people than traditional modes of communication. Therefore, we will: 

  • Provide content that resonates with diverse audiences, answers their questions, listens to their concerns, and promotes public discourse.
  • Tell important stories from our records and provide audiences with meaningful context. 
  • Bring our records and resources to where people are online, recognizing that they may not know to come to us.
  • Connect with our customers around the world who are not able to visit in person.
  • Respond with agility to audience needs in times of rapid change.
  • Reflect on what makes stories successful so that we have a clear understanding of our message and what types of content resonate with audiences. 


Share our history supports the NARA Strategic Plan in the following ways:

  • Strategic Goal 1: Make Access Happen
    • Provide access to our records to anyone, anywhere by pointing back to our digital Catalog; bring attention to records that customers need or may be interested in; provide easy ways for our customers to discover our resources; meet our customers where they are.
  • Strategic Goal 2: Connect with Customers
    • Respond to the needs and interests of customers in real time; create connections between our customers and our records; provide open channels for our customers to speak to us.
  • Strategic Goal 3: Maximize NARA’s Value to the Nation
    • Create resources that the public can draw on; provide information that is helpful to the public. Enable access to agency resources that provide records to citizens who need them to interact with our government, obtain benefits, secure their rights, and learn about the nation’s—and their own—history. 
  • Strategic Goal 4: Build Our Future Through Our People
    • Craft stories about how NARA staff do their jobs and work for the public, which creates goodwill toward, and a deeper understanding of, our mission.

Share our stories: Who we are

Interacting with a government institution can be intimidating for the public, and the stereotype of a faceless bureaucracy is difficult to overcome. The National Archives can be doubly stereotyped as a place full of “dusty boxes on shelves.” Thoughtful social media messaging—that shows our staff and the work they do—can help correct these misconceptions and create a connection with our customers, making NARA more approachable and humanizing the work we do. It also reinforces our brand and voice, providing customers with a connection to our stories.

Our platforms give us the opportunity to draw back the curtain and show the public the important work that staff do each day at the National Archives. Each person helps us to fulfill our mission, and the personal nature of social media allows us to give voice to these roles and responsibilities. We can share our expertise directly through our social media channels, and in turn help the public understand the value that NARA adds to the nation. 

Successful social media campaigns and posts require a collective effort by staff at all levels and across all offices to build, create, and maintain our accounts. While creating successful social media content takes time and effort, it is worth the investment. By sharing the day-to-day work of the agency, our staff build and strengthen relationships with our audiences, which in turn benefits NARA as a whole. 

Because staff time and resources are limited, staff initiative and collaboration is critical to making campaigns come to life. We encourage staff from across the agency to champion their ideas, and our community of practice will focus on finding new ways to collaborate and develop social media posts and campaigns. 

When staff tell their stories—especially “behind the scenes” posts—we see the public respond with enthusiasm and greater understanding of our mission. Agency-wide, we will continue to  seek and develop easy ways for staff—especially those who haven’t historically been involved with social media—to share their expertise and the records they encounter in the course of their work. Staff do not need to manage an account to tell their stories or show their contributions to our mission—we will work to create new and easier ways for all staff across the agency to participate in social media. We will look for opportunities to share and amplify work that is already being done.

Since our previous strategy was published in 2015, we have worked to create a vibrant social media community of practice that values innovation, collaboration, and shared educational opportunities. As we go forward in 2020, we will continue to share successes, learn from each other, and work together to develop engaging content that reflects the diversity of our staff and records. We will continue to strive to be good social media neighbors in the cultural sphere by sharing and pioneering ideas in the digital archives, museum, and library community.

Social media allows the public to see who we are as an agency and illustrates the important work we do. Therefore, we will:

  • Encourage staff to share their stories because the work they do is valuable and has an important place in our social media landscape.
  • Bring a wider range of meaningful records to our audience by empowering staff to pursue stories that reflect diverse interests and backgrounds.
  • Create new pathways that make contributing and participating easy for all staff.
  • Raise awareness of how social media benefits and promotes the mission of our agency. 
  • Acknowledge the time and resources needed to plan, prepare, and strategize when  creating meaningful content and building an engaged audience. 
  • Build social media into employee work plans.
  • Work together and take initiative to create content that staff and the public care about. Every good idea needs a champion, and staff are encouraged to collaborate and participate on topics of interest through our NARA social media community of practice.
  • Continue to strengthen our internal and external communities of practice through shared campaigns, peer-to-peer learning, and collaborations.


Share our stories supports the NARA Strategic Plan in the following ways:

  • Strategic Goal 1:  Make Access Happen
    • Provide public access to not only the records themselves, but information about how these records are processed and protected; enhance public understanding of records through storytelling by our staff experts.
  • Strategic Goal 2: Connect with Customers
    • Let the public see the human side of the agency; cultivate goodwill and trust in the agency by sharing the knowledge and skills of our staff; continue to grow our community of practice alongside partner organizations.
  • Strategic Goal 3: Maximize NARA’s Value to the Nation
    • Draw on our staff experts to raise awareness of and provide context to our records so that the public can make use of them.
  • Strategic Goal 4: Build Our Future Through Our People
    • Boost staff morale and attract talent to the agency; continue to strengthen a culture that encourages staff to learn from one another; build new skills and opportunities for learning in our community of practice.

Share our mission: What we do

For many Americans, the National Archives is the home of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. However, the work of our agency is wider and deeper than just these documents, and social media is uniquely able to vibrantly illustrate what we do at this agency at a personal level. We can help the public understand that the wide variety of work that happens here keeps all our records—not just the founding documents—safe and accessible. 

We are committed to serving the broad range of experiences that bring people to the National Archives. Veterans need to know how to request their service records. Teachers need primary sources for lessons. Journalists need to keep up with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) developments. Federal agencies want records management help. Visitors and researchers are interested in discovering stories from history. Genealogists are searching for their family’s stories. And—as the world of recordkeeping moves fully online—everyone is interested in the challenges of preserving data in all formats. 

Social media is a place for stories, and stories are the way we understand the world. While the records and the stories of the people within them will always be at the heart of the National Archives, we need to think beyond just sharing documents. We need to use the powerful storytelling tools at our disposal to create a fuller picture of the archival work we are doing as an agency. We are experts in our field—from digital preservation to records management to museum exhibits—and showing that expertise on social media creates trust and understanding with the public and our customers.

Audience engagement directly relates to NARA’s strategic goal of Connecting with Customers by helping people discover NARA’s mission and interact with our staff and resources. With social media, we can do so much more than just broadcast a message. We can listen to what audiences care about and respond to their needs and interests in meaningful ways. We can personalize their interactions with the National Archives so that they can discover relevant stories in our holdings and form deep connections to the important work that our staff do. Internally, we can encourage staff to look for diverse stories in our holdings so that they can be shared more broadly to facilitate access and discovery.

The work we do can be complicated and consumes staff time. But ensuring that staff have the time and space to use social media to promote and explain the work done by their office is important to contributing to the public’s understanding of the agency as a whole. Creating content adds to staff’s work experience, provides opportunities for collaboration, offers professional development, and can be a morale booster.

Therefore, we will:

  • Show our knowledge and skills in all parts of our agency’s work so that the public sees the National Archives as a collection of trustworthy individual experts.
  • Tell compelling stories about the work that goes into processing, preserving, protecting, and making those records available. 
  • Encourage offices to incorporate social media into their outreach efforts to share their missions and programs.
  • Understand the role of staff storytelling in establishing agency credibility.
  • Build trust and goodwill with our audiences through posts that make the archival process more transparent.
  • Empower staff from all offices and locations to participate in our community of practice and contribute content.


Share our mission supports the NARA Strategic Plan in the following ways


We are proud of the work that we do at the National Archives.

For more than eight decades, NARA has preserved and provided access to records of the United States of America. The richness and significance of our records continually draws audiences with a wide range of interests to the National Archives. 

Some of our audiences may visit us in person, while others may only engage with us online. Whether audience relationships are fully virtual, or social media is just one component of their relationship with NARA, their first stop for information is increasingly likely to be online. 

This strategy is closely aligned with the Strategic Plan of the National Archives and is a key piece of achieving our agency’s mission and goals. Social media enhances and enriches the customer experience of our audiences, whether they are connecting with us virtually or physically. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us, social media can be our only line of immediate communication with our numerous and diverse audiences. Whether they are a records manager at a Federal agency, a veteran, a teacher, a parent, a researcher, a family historian, or someone who wants to learn about history from primary sources, we need to be ready to meet our customers where they are on social media and provide them with what they need. 

Social media also helps us meet our agency’s internal mission goals for staff to collaborate, innovate, and learn. Our internal community of practice has flourished within the National Archives. Over the last five years, we have worked to cultivate good working relationships between offices and to share our experiences and expertise with each other. 

This new strategy continues toward this goal of lifting each other up and growing our community of practice. We want to expand our community of practice and encourage any staff member who is interested to participate in NARA’s social media program.


Interested in learning about how we got here? Explore our previous social media strategies:

FY 2017- 2020 Social Media Strategy

First Social Social Media Strategy 2010