The AIDS.gov team monitors the digital landscape so we can adapt our outreach to meet our audiences’ communication preferences. We also learn about the HIV community’s evolving needs through AIDS.gov’s Social Media Labs—free, in-person, technical assistance sessions we offer at conferences—and our newly launched Virtual Office Hours, when we offer free technical assistance twice each week.
As the year comes to an end, we reflect from our lens on the top five trends of 2014 and what they mean for our HIV community:
Mobile versus Desktop: Currently 59% of AIDS.gov’s visitors are coming to the website from their mobile devices. Our website statistics are consistent with national trends. In fact, 52% of U.S. smartphone owners have used their phones to find health and medical information . This year marked the first time more Americans accessed the Internet with smartphone and tablet apps than with PCs. For the HIV community, this means that you need to assess your audience’s need to have information accessible across multiple platforms. Having mobile-responsive websites, images, and videos can mean improving your reach in your community.
Keep it short, keep it useful: It is becoming increasingly important to pay attention to content length (conciseness), structure (usability), and precision (useful information). To do this, we reflect on five key design tips for mobile content [PDF 465 KB]. To effectively offer resources for the HIV community, we have a responsibility to design our content so people can easily find the information they need—and increase the chances they will share it with their own social networks.
The power of (short) videos: In 2014 we saw the increasing popularity of “real-time” video-sharing, such as Instagram video , Vine , and Snapchat video . As sharing information through 3-15 second “micro-videos’ is gaining popularity, we will watch how this trend is adapted for sharing health information. In fact, trend-watchers predict that two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017 . For the HIV community, this means we need to find creative ways to share information, engage audiences through video , and make video content more mobile-friendly.
Less text, more image: In 2014, the AIDS.gov team told many stories through pictures. We joined Instagram, welcomed our first 818 followers, re-purposed our photos to Twitter and Facebook, and used images to relay everything from scientific data to a daily dose of inspiration. Leading up to World AIDS Day, we sourced 10 tips for community organizations – each image with a resource that could be used on that very day. Like us, the HIV community is recognizing the need for image-based storytelling because those images combined received 151 RT’s, 646 Shares, and 803 Likes—our highest level of engagement ever across our social media channels.
Strategize for social media: Social media management has become a key part of marketing plans. The 2014 State of Marketing states that 57% of respondents have a dedicated team to strategize, execute, and steward social media initiatives. At the AIDS.gov Social Media Lab at APHA2014 , our team responded to many questions about how to incorporate new media into existing outreach and we shared one of many available examples of an editorial calendar . For the HIV community, this means adjusting your marketing strategy to incorporate a social media plan and planning the development of social media content.
What new media trends did you observe in 2014? For a collection of our new media blogs visit: https://blog.aids.gov/category/new-media