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Got GIF? Financial Literacy in 140 Characters or Less

Feed the pigLast month marked my fourth Financial Literacy Month at the AICPA. It’s amazing how much the landscape and messaging has changed in just a few years. While our outreach and exposure for the program has grown, our actual messages to individuals have become shorter. We have moved from lengthy articles on our websites, to a few sentences on Facebook and now to singular images on Tumblr. In a world where younger audiences are looking increasingly to online sources for financial advice, how do we accurately communicate financial literacy lessons with just one animated photo and a few words?

This trend of shrinking messaging is something that the AICPA’s Feed the Pig campaign is constantly working to address. With almost 45K fans on Facebook and 8K followers on Twitter, Feed the Pig is no newbie to the world of social media. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room to grow and learn. In April, as part of our Financial Literacy Month celebrations, we entered the Tumblr world with a new blog that focuses on common financial concerns, presented with a little humor. The title for the new blog is “The Only GIFs and Memes That Save You Money.” The posts focus on answering the “duh” financial questions, like “Is a savings account actually necessary?” while also celebrating the everyday financial triumphs, like packing your own lunch. The idea behind the new campaign is to take the message where our audience—25-34 year olds—already is. As with Facebook and Twitter, we want our posts to act as the impetus that motivates our followers to take action to learn more. The tough part comes when we try and identify what short tidbits of information will most effectively speak to our audience.

Typically our messaging follows timeless advice, such as budgeting and saving, while also addressing more recent trends. For instance, our April Harris Poll survey found that more than twice as many U.S. adults cited having enough money for a comfortable retirement (28 percent) and providing their children a debt-free education (23 percent) as the best indicator of financial success than did owning a home (11 percent) and having a financial situation better than their parents (11 percent). From this research we initiated a greater emphasis on saving for retirement in our messaging. And we of course always look to you, the CPA experts, for your insight into what messages we should be communicating to consumers.

What do you see as the most important lessons or topics for young adults today? How do you think is the best way to reach them? And, on a lighter note, are you following us on Tumblr? :)


Claudia Cieslak, Communications Manager - Consumer Education, American Institute of CPAs.


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