3 Digital Trends to Look for in 2014

– YODA, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

I love trends because they reflect a human truth: We are constantly searching for something new. Trends are often a manifestation of this shared search. For charities, the following trends can give you an edge while meeting donors’ ever-changing expectations and needs.

1. Visual Commentary

An Instagram post from Everyday Africa.

It’s one thing to make an argument in a blog post or convince followers of an issue in Facebook, it’s another to create an entire Instagram page devoted to commentary.

For example, the Everyday Africa Instagram portrays Africa in a different light: a gorgeous place of wonder and awe. Its intention is to rid some of the negative stereotypes about the continent.

The takeaway: You can use Pinterest boards and Instagram pages devoted solely  to a short-term initiative or cause.

2. Boomers Jump in the Deep End, Millennials Climb Out

As Boomers populate Facebook, younger users will begin looking elsewhere for their social needs.

Sure, the majority of those who inhabit Facebook are younger than 30. But for how long?

Millennials say Facebook is not cool anymore. Another study by iStrategyLabs shows that the amount of teens on Facebook has declined by 25 percent since 2011. While not all teens are fleeing Facebook yet, more and more are avoiding the company of their parents for alternative  social networks  (YouTube, SnapChat, Tumblr).

Meanwhile Gen X and Baby boomers are the fastest growing demographics on Facebook. Not cool, man. Not cool at all.

The takeaway: Younger generations use social media for different purposes than older generations. Consider a content strategy that engages different age groups on Facebook since it is so broad in usage. If your social presence is more mature, begin to identify what is the core demographic of each of your social platforms for a more informed content strategy.

3. Show Me More Generation

More marketers are using infographics to tell stories with data–a practice that should increase in 2014 as donors demand results on their contributions.

Speaking of Millennials: a Blackbaud study shows that they require a greater degree of transparency when making a donation. About 57 percent of Millennials say they want to see the direct impact of their donation. Just 37 percent of Boomers share this attitude.

The takeaway: While younger donors are typically not a priority for nonprofits, rethinking how to use social to demonstrate impact to all generations will be important in 2014. For example, 51 percent of marketers said they used infographics in their marketing to better visualize data in 2013–up from 38 percent in 2012.

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