With people spending more and more time online, social media has become all the more important for communication and feeling connected to what’s going on in the world. In times of crisis, people will look to social media for information, connection and entertainment. In March this year, Facebook reported a 70% increase in usage of all its apps. But, how has the way we interact on social media changed since the outbreak of COVID-19?
As we mentioned, social media ticks many different boxes; whether it’s keeping up-to-date with your loved ones, light-hearted distraction or a source of information. Right now, people are turning to social media for a multitude of reasons and are enjoying different forms of content. Whilst traditional social media sites like Facebook have seen a surge in usage, there’s also been a boost in apps that are more entertainment-based. Apps like TikTok have risen in popularity as people get creative with their time in lockdown, with Sensor Tower reporting that in the week following the announcement of UK lockdown, downloads of the app rose by 34%. Group apps like Zoom and Houseparty have also increased in usage as people look for new ways to connect with one another.
But it’s not just the apps people are using that’s changed. With more time to spare and people looking for ways to pass the time, interactive content has risen; people are posting challenges, workouts and webinars to connect with their followers and build a sense of community. Youtube has encouraged its users to take part in their #WithMe campaign to motivate people to document their lockdown activities and reinforce the importance of staying at home.
Sprout Social conducted a review of social media usage and how COVID-19 has affected the optimal times to be posting to your social media accounts. Comparing behaviours from 2019 to early 2020, in general, they found that activity was a lot more concentrated during the work day and apps like Instagram are taking a bigger share of time as activity is more consistent both after working hours and through the weekend.
Whilst you may not alter the times at which you post as a result of the above report, it is worth noting that with increased usage overall, consistent engagement with your customers has never been more crucial.
Rightly or wrongly, social media is increasingly becoming a secondary news source. Whether it’s directly from national media accounts themselves or simply engaging with online opinions and debate, people have always taken to their online platforms to discuss current events. According to Global Web Index, 48% of US and UK consumers are using their social media accounts to read more news as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, with 44% stating they are using Facebook to keep themselves updated with news about the pandemic. With an increased reliance on social media as a source of information, companies are being held to account for the monitoring of posts spreading misinformation about the pandemic and businesses should be conscious of the responsibility to use their platforms wisely.
COMMUNITY THROUGH CRISIS
In many ways, the COVID-19 crisis has brought out a lot of what’s good about social media interaction. With a lot of smaller businesses struggling to keep their doors open and many people self-isolating or facing financial struggles, communities and larger businesses have rallied together to support those in need and contribute to an ongoing empathetic narrative. For businesses, both big and small, it’s highlighted the value of talking with your customers as opposed to just to them; finding out what they’re prioritising and what they’re interested in and from that, identifying the best way to communicate with them and add value during these times.
Whilst the above is a brief insight into the changes seen over the last few months with social media and online interaction, it’s important to remember that each industry will be impacted in different ways so it’s important to remain up-to-date with your own digital insights so that you can develop opportunities for success. With so much uncertainty right now, social media is going to continue to be a fundamental tool for your business to communicate and connect with your customers.
HOW CAN WRIGGLE MARKETING HELP?
As a specialist social media agency, we’re well equipped to deliver your brand promise through comprehensive social media management. If you have any questions on managing your social media or are looking to get some strategy in place, give us a call.