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Gloria Farris 19 January 2023 7 min

Institutions and Instagram: the case of the Swiss Federal Council

The effects of the advent of new digital tools are especially evident on the change in the paradigms by which people inform themselves. Traditional media, still in vogue among more adults, are no longer sufficient to communicate with the younger generation.

 

Digi-Monitor 2021, the media quality yearbook, shows that well over 80% of adolescents and young adults in Switzerland use Instagram, of which 40% consider it the medium par excellence for informing themselves about current events. The Swiss Federal Council, aware of the situation, has implemented new tools to modernize and digitize communication: first and foremost, Instagram.

Institutions and Instagram


Instagram as a search engine

When it comes to social media, there is still a big bias among generations before Millennials, who still believe that "it's just fun", that "it's not a job", that "there's just content without depth". Underestimating the media power of Instagram, however, is not only a big mistake, but a waste of a great opportunity: that of reaching a segment of the public with whom it is otherwise increasingly difficult to communicate. 

In fact, Instagram is no longer just a tool for entertainment, but even takes on the function of a "search engine" for younger people, who rely on it to search for information, advice, reviews, places, you name it. It is precisely the informational role that takes on greater importance: the task that was previously entrusted exclusively to newspapers, television, radio, is now carried out by the social platform.

If communication from institutions to the population has always been unidirectional, today thanks to social media users have the opportunity to react, confront each other and have a direct exchange with "topside". Being able to touch the public's sentiment, respond, reassure people, understand the topics of greatest interest and what they expect is an incredible weapon in the hands of institutions to improve situations of discontent and increase the general satisfaction of the population. At the same time, communicating in the same language as the users and addressing issues in a prompt and effective manner allow them to get closer to the citizens, who feel valued and involved. In this way, the credibility of the government is strengthened and the population's sense of belonging is reinforced.

Immense power of digitization, this, which the Federal Council has seized: already present on Twitter and YouTube, in June 2021 it structured its new digital presence strategy precisely on Instagram, on which the gov.ch profile was opened in October 2022, informing mainly about Government decisions and affairs.

Communication with a wider segment of the population, a means of exchanging opinions and more: Instagram also fulfills the important function for the Federal Council of strengthening communication with foreign countries. Instagram is not bounded by state borders, unlike TV channels, press releases, radio and journalistic tools: internationally, everyone can be informed about what is happening in Switzerland, spreading the culture of a country that is often poorly known not only by distant countries, but also by neighboring ones. Today, with new tools such as Reels, thanks to the "virality" of content it is even easier, sometimes even unintentionally, to reach an ever wider audience and spread knowledge about our little big country.

 

From status quo to change: a primarily human transformation

In other European countries, it is already a well-established practice for institutions to be present on Instagram: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron have long opened their profiles. This, because the potential of digital transformation and the need to take an integrated approach, online and offline, are now recognized. The Swiss Federal Council has embraced the push for change, choosing to ride the wave.

While the Government's presence on Instagram is perfectly responsive to the needs of young people, the Federal Council has, on the other hand, been faced with the resistance to change that characterizes the rest of the population.

"A waste of public money to pay staff who play on social media all day", "there were other priorities for our country", but most importantly, "the Government has always communicated through traditional channels, you can't change it now" - these are some of the many comments from those who did not like the choice. 
The need to change and adopt new means of communication goes hand in hand with the difficulty of integrating new tools with old ones, from the perspective of "it has always been done this way". The truth is that it is precisely people and their reactions that often make evolution difficult. An evolution that has now become unavoidable, especially in an environment such as that of institutions that needs to look to the future, and for which it is therefore necessary to embrace change, and to know how to manage it from a human perspective. 

Change does not undo, but enhances what already exists: in the case of the Federal Council, traditional media, from press releases and press conferences to TV and journalism, will continue to be important means of communication with the population, but will be complemented by new tools.


Just to take advantage of the universality of the tool, content on Instagram is made in the country's 3 main languages: Italian, German and French. No one is excluded; everyone is reached and informed about the most important federal news. 

"Thanks to the Web, we are all connected" has never been truer: at all times, in all circumstances, you have all information at your fingertips.
Might this not be an additional means of creating unity, a sense of belonging, a desire to share?

Making the most of the opportunities offered by new digital tools requires great knowledge of the subject, time and perseverance, but also the human effort to recognize the need to change, evolve and adapt the patterns and methods we are used to.
We at Ander Group accompany you in your digital transformation journey, starting with the tools you have at your disposal and taking care of the human aspect related to change. We ensure your business growth through a data-driven process for concrete and measurable results.

 

Get in touch with us!

 

Gloria Farris

As Ander Group’s Digital Content Specialist, Gloria communicates throughout the creation of transversal contents for the various channels. With a Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication, her distinctive characteristic is empathy, which she uses to reach her main objective: communicating the company identity by structuring specific content strategies, based on the comprehension of the target’s expectations and needs.