Well, here it is: 2014 is coming to and end. And, as a blog writer, I feel that I have a moral obligation to take a look at the year to come.
2014 was a very exciting year for social media and politics: more elected officials got active and more constituents turned to social media to connect with their government leaders. That being said, social media is a constantly evolving field – and one of the things I’ve noticed when it comes to social media and government is that we tend to be behind the times. Generally speaking, I think that government is slower to adapt to social media trends (really, tech trends in general) than the private sector.
That being said, keeping up to date with social media trends is about more than just good politics – it’s good policy and good democracy. Government officials need to use social media to be where our constituents are.
So, here are a few trends I think elected leaders need to watch out for when it comes to social media and politics:
- Decline of Facebook reach and push to other networks: Facebook is throttling back organic (free) reach from its fan pages – so, if you want your updates to be seen, you’re going to have to pay. For campaigns, this is doable – for governments, frequently not. So what does this mean? Well, it’s going to shift content away from Facebook and more towards other networks, like Twitter and Instagram. It’s also going to force an increased use of Email, which, despite repeated predictions, isn’t going away anytime soon.
- Increase use of paid ads: Facebook is still the place to be – it has over 1.3 billion users (and even more over its other digital properties), which means that it’s worth using, and if you’re gonna use it, you’re going to have to pay. Facebook ad revenue has been dramatically increasing, and this is going to continue in 2015, particularly among campaigns.
- Rise of Instagram: One of the sleeper social media stories of 2014 happened at the end of the year with the news that Instagram now has more Monthly Active Users than Twitter. That’s not to say that Twitter is in trouble, but it does show that the picture-oriented network is here to stay, and as users flock to it, you can expect more in government to follow them.
- Integration of social media and donations: Facebook recently introduced Call to Action buttons and Twitter is looking at doing the same, making the transition from social media to your wallet even more seamless. There’s a campaign implication here: It won’t be long before “Donate Now!” is a button for campaigns.
Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts? Please let us know in the comments – and thanks for reading! This blog has been a fantastic experience for me – it’s helped me learn quite a good deal, and I hope I’ve been able to relay some of that information to you in a manner that has helped you become a better communicator. Keep reading, and I’ll keep writing!
Happy New Year!