by Maria Lahiffe
Social Media is an essential channel for your organization’s communication strategy – after all, 70% of Canadians over the age of 10 are active on at least one social network.   You need to put your messages where your stakeholders are.
The thing is, social media is ever-changing. If you developed your communications plan even two or three years ago, you need to revisit your social media tactics to make sure all of your efforts are going to achieve maximum results. Here are some current trends which are likely to become ever more important in 2018, according to communications expert Wayne Elsey.
Snapchat started this years ago, and now Facebook and Instagram have joined the party. You can expect to see more and more campaigns with social media content which is available for 24 hours or less. The ephemerality of disappearing content helps to engage stakeholders, including donors, by creating a sense of urgency to respond quickly on a call to action.
Over the past few years, users have shown greater and greater engagement with video content. The good news is, users do not expect slick videos which take weeks to produce. People expect to see live streams and quick, candid videos uploaded on the fly. Your smartphone is going to be an important ally this year.
Online communications of the past 10 years have focused mainly on millennials – for good reason. People born between 1975 and 1995 were, until recently, the most significant young adult population. Now, however, there are new adults in town as people born in the late 90’s and early 2000’s start to come of age. Similar to millennials, Gen Z cares strongly about social good. Unlike millennials, they have lived their entire lives with mobile computers – also known as smart phones and tablets. Which brings us to…
Optimizing your communications for mobile devices has long ago stopped being a luxury. Consider these statistics: 
Generation Z is leading these statistics, as the youngest age cohort have always had mobile devices in their lives; however everyone is learning to love the convenience of a computer in their pocket. You need to be where your stakeholders are: you need to put your best face forward on mobile. This means optimizing your website for mobile, and also, in the context of social media, optimizing your communications (e.g. pictures) for mobile screens.
Social media users – particularly Millennials and Gen Z – are skeptical of receiving traditional sales pitches. People are much more likely to respond to influencers. An influencer is “an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche process. Influencers are normal people who are often connected to key roles of media outlets, industry associations, or community tribes”  Find out who your stakeholders pay attention to, and get those influential people to help tell your story.
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