It is not uncommon to talk about the King and Queen of Social Media; the importance of content, context and distribution when posting anything on social media. I’m going to devote this blog post to the real King and Queen. The King and Queen of Sweden that is.
This weekend, 13th of June 2015, it was the Swedish Royal Wedding. A great celebration of love where Prince Carl Philip, the only son and second of three children, got married to his Sofia – a “girl of the people”. It was a beautiful wedding with prominent guests from all over Europe, lavish decor and expensive dresses. People were out in the streets celebrating the newlyweds and to catch a glance at the couple when they rode a cortège through the city of Stockholm. The newlyweds, strikingly beautiful, smiled and waved to everyone from their carriage. But instead of waving back, the people who had come down to celebrate the couple were focused on their smartphones; clicking frenetically on the screen to get the best possible picture for their Instagram account, instead of enjoying the moment and waving back. Odd some would say? Welcome to 2015 and the era of social media.
Even the Royal Family have their own Facebook (facebook.com/kungahuset) and Instagram (instagram.com/kungahuset) account. I doubt King Carl XVI Gustaf is the one doing the updates himself, but that’s probably for the better. Either way, this is a great way for the royal family to keep everyone who is interested updated about their current projects and events. Instead of having to go through traditional media, the royal family can now report directly to the Swedish people through their various accounts. Everything from announcing a proposal or the birth of a new prince to give updates from a recent state visit or a charity gala they’ve attended is done via their social media platforms nowadays.
But how can this affect people’s opinion about the royal family, and in what way has it already done so? First of all, similar to both companies and personalities using social media, this can be either very beneficial for them and their brand — or not. For the royal family, who has constantly been criticized by many for being old fashioned and represent an outmoded era, social media has been a way to change the perception of the family. And Sweden is not the only country where you can find Their Royal Majesties on Facebook and Instagram; other royal families in Europe, such as the British and Norwegian royalties, are also active users and have received good response from the public. With thousands of followers, commenting, liking and talking about the royal families whenever something new is posted about them.
The social media platforms is not only a great forum for the fans and supporters of the royal families, but also a place for the royal families to handle different crisis that may occur, and a big opportunity to take control over what is being posted about them on the internet. That being said, not everything can be controlled about what is written about the royal family – especially not on the internet when everyone can share their opinion and create a debate.
Social media is much about the communication between to parties, however, when it comes to the King and Queen and their social media accounts, it’s more about providing information to their followers rather than having actual conversations. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t benefit from the comments they receive from their followers, and see what posts are most popular among the people.
So maybe the new King and Queen of social media is the actual real life royalties sitting with a crown on their head, waving to the peasants from their castle (ehm sorry, I mean posting a selfie on Instagram). And this might also be evidence that social media is for everyone – because if the most traditional and old fashioned institution can manage to stay relevant by using social media, so can everyone else.