A new year always brings new and exciting trends in communications and social media. The interesting twist is figuring out how your organization can leverage these trends to maximize engagement with customers, partners and funders. Here are several hot trends to watch in 2015, and how we think your nonprofit or public agency can use them to help you boost your communications success in the new year.
Relook at Radio... and Podcasts.
While there is an overall agreement that FM radio pales in comparison to digital options, the radio industry has managed to keep ad spending at a respectable $44.5 billion annually. Because of the increased number of connected mediums and continued growth of mobile listening, 2015 is the year digital radio services will start looking to consume those ad dollars. And with that will come lots of opportunities to make radio relevant again. As a nonprofit or public agency, you probably don’t have funding to tap into radio advertising. But, you do have a viable mission or cause that radio may want to promote. Consider cause-related marketing campaigns with your local radio station to promote events and/or your cause. This approach can leverage minimal dollars that may be available for outreach. See this case study for an example.
While you’re considering your options with radio, make sure you include podcasts in your mix. Yes, they are making a surge again, and they can be a great communications tool for nonprofits and public agencies. Posting podcasts on your website and distributing through eMarketing channels can improve reach and visibility.
eBook Subscriptions can Increase your Reach
In 2014, the market saw a huge wave of readers jump at “all you can eat” subscriptions through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, Scribd and Oyster. While nonprofits and public agencies aren’t in the publishing business, the lesson here is to build new relationships by getting new web visitors to subscribe and download your content. Think about taking highlights from your newsletters coupled with key facts about your mission and its impact, and create monthly ebooks for your web visitors. They’ll enjoy the content; and you’ll get to build new relationships by increasing your contact lists. Click here to check out our ebooks.
Social Media Planning becomes a Have-to-Have.
A recent European study determined that one quarter of the world’s population uses social media. This means that 1,730,000,000 people are posting, pinning, tweeting, vining and instagramming. The issue for communicators is not whether you should be using social media, but which channels do you need to use? With a dispersing digital landscape over the past year, scattered audiences mean fragmented social platforms. Last year, a Duke University study on social media revealed that social media spending at companies—currently 9 percent of marketing budgets—is forecasted to nearly triple (to 25 percent) over the next 5 years. Yet, despite this sharp increase, half of the marketers interviewed for the report said they couldn’t show the impact of social media on their business. Why? Social media is evolving at breakneck speed, and companies are seriously struggling to keep up, especially when they are engaged in multiple social platforms. So what should you do?
We couldn’t agree more with this article from Social Barrel that examines why you don’t have to be everywhere at all times when it comes to social media. Choosing the platforms that work for your business starts with the basic marketing strategy of setting goals for what you want to accomplish and identifying the target audience you are trying to reach based on demographics and market characteristics. In other words, create a social media plan, using this key information to inform your decisions on which two or three social media platforms are most worth your efforts in terms of outreach to those target audiences.
Mobile is a priority. Yep, it’s still on our list.
According to Roger Katz of clickz.com, shelf space for mobile handsets with screens sized 4.7 inches and over has grown from 4% to a third, while the number of daily active mobile users on Facebook has grown 15% in 2014 alone. If these stats aren’t enough to send a clear message, consider that the number of mobile-only users on Facebook grew by 34% – a startling spike that suggests mobile is no longer a secondary channel. It’s fast becoming first-choice. Does your nonprofit or public agency have a mobile site? Take the first step in becoming a mobile friendly organization in 2015 by building a mobile site.
Other Trends to Watch
Among the hot topics above, we’re keeping our eye on a number of other trends for 2015 including: using video to tell customer stories across multiple platforms; using the power of targeted online advertising; and using digital media like eMagazines to showcase larger concepts and increase impact on key audiences. We’re looking forward to an exciting year!