Government communication in 2023: less and better

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Predicting trends is not that easy. Especially in the area of ​​online government communication. Last year showed that reality is unruly. That is why no list of predictions of new trends for 2023. Instead, we share one trend that could also mean a big change in online government communications. A little less than everything. And that starts with a well thought out content strategy.

Trends often turn out to be different than anticipated. We noticed this again when we re-read our latest trending article for 2021. Our conclusion: we can republish this article for 2023 with some minor adjustments. But who is waiting for 7 or 8 trends that do not happen or only partially? This year we will therefore stick to trend 1.

Well, drum roll… here it comes, our trend in online government communication for 2023:

Could it be marked (tok) kie less?

Now we hear you thinking: less? A little less? Fewer channels? Less content? Fewer different subjects?

From us it can be a little less than everything. A content strategy helps with this.

‘We’re just doing something’

More and more communication professionals (online) in government organizations such as municipalities, provinces, water boards and the national government are realizing that things need to change on social media. We notice this in the growing demand for a content strategy, with which you can – in short – determine which content is placed on which channel and for which purpose. Many organizations point out that there is no framework for testing and refining content. ‘Actually, we’re just doing something, and at the same time on all channels’, is the answer we often hear when talking to communication departments.

In recent years, more and more online channels have been added. While it turns out that it is difficult for many organizations to stop with a channel. It often feels like an ‘obligation’ for them to post something every day on all those channels. At the same time, social media teams are at the mercy of colleagues extra for their content, and often also directors, who wisely ask for their space on the calendars.

Long story short: it’s too busy, the ambitions are too big, new channels are embraced immediately and colleagues and directors have to be kept satisfied. But the question is whether we are doing the right things, things that actually contribute something or with which we make a difference for the organization and our residents or entrepreneurs. Give yourself the answer for your organization.

The year of change

Or are we feeling very negative now? In fact we are quite positive, now that we notice that more and more organizations are taking the initiative to do things differently, better, smarter and/or more effectively. After all, it starts with the awareness of the fact that there is much more to be gained from online government communication than is currently the case. Let 2023 be the year in which you say in 2024: that was the year of change. Now we live in a different era. An era in which social media take their own position in the communication landscape, they are not the remedy by which you can reach 100% of your target group at the touch of a button.

Content strategy essential

So a little less than everything. But going from 20 posts to 10 posts a week is not yet there. It is also important to determine what you will still be doing in 2023, and what you will no longer be doing. Not only can it be less, but it must also be different. A content strategy is essential for this. Not because it’s called a strategy, but because you can use a strategy, if you actually put it into practice, as a framework in which to shape your organization’s social presence. This means making difficult choices, prioritizing, having tough discussions within your organization, and maybe directors who feel bad. It’s not easy to turn the tide, but it’s necessary if you want your social media to work for you again.

Quality over quantity

It also means that you and your colleagues will spend their precious time differently. So quality over quantity. When making your choices, you naturally take into account what your target group wants to see. In addition, it chooses the most effective angle and provides an appropriate form of content. You will probably spend much longer on one post because of this. But if you leave the goal of at least 1 post per channel per day, you will create space in your head and in your content calendar. You can give your full attention to those two or 3 places for the coming week, which you are sure will make a good contribution to the ambitions of your organization. Your content strategy and your content calendar will tell you what this content should be about. Also, it’s obviously smart to keep enough ‘air’ in your calendar for ad hoc issues that you really want to do something about.

Source: Buzzzle communication and participation

Channel follows audience

In recent weeks we have also received many questions from government organizations about the future of Twitter, the opportunities of the new channel Mastodon, the added value of Instagram, and what governments should do with TikTok. Our advice on this will be different for each organization, because it depends a lot on – there again – the organizational goals.

As far as we are concerned, the common thread will always be: focus on your existing channels first. Dare to stop with social media that doesn’t give you enough. And don’t jump right on a possible new hype. Give your target group time to embrace a new platform or not. The channel follows the target group, not the other way around!

So one trend for 2023. At least, we hope this will be the trend for the new year. A little less than everything.

Still seeing about 12 trends in online government communication that we’ve ignored for convenience? Feel free to share them in a comment!

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