The COVID-19 pandemic threw everyone a curveball, and everything had to change almost overnight. Teachers had to teach remotely, and doctors had to consult from behind a mask. Social media trends were not left behind and also underwent changes.
Here are five ways that social media trends changed during COVID-19:
Shifts in Peak-Times For Posting
Social media marketers have to know the best time of the day to post content for it to get a lot of attention. There was a clear shift in peak-times after the pandemic started. The results are as follow:
- Facebook: Before the pandemic, the best time to post on Facebook was on Wednesdays at 11:00 and between 13:00-14:00. During the lockdown, these times changed to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 10:00 and 11:00. Posts that appear online after 17:00 have lower engagement.
- Instagram: The peak times on Instagram used to be on Wednesdays at 11:00 and Fridays between 10:00 and 11:00. The worst time to post was on weekends, especially Sundays. Post-lockdown, however, more users are turning to Instagram over weekends between 09:00 and 17:00. It also showed more traffic on Mondays, Tuesdays at 14:00, and Fridays at 11:00.
- Twitter: The best times to post on Twitter used to be Wednesdays and Fridays at 09:00. At the moment, the best time to post is Fridays at 09:00, with the increased engagement starting at 07:00.
More Emphasis on Organic Material
Many companies had to make budget cuts during the lockdown period, which meant they had to reduce their advertising. While being mindful of their marketing funds, many companies decided to use organic material as a part of their marketing strategy.
There was an increase in user-generated content where followers were encouraged to do the marketing on behalf of the company. It gave companies a more authentic voice. Many advertisers received incentives like giveaways and partnerships to encourage continuous advertising. Also, companies are interacting with more posts, which shows genuine gratitude.
Change in Content
The impact of the pandemic altered the content users post. Generally speaking, there is an increase in posts that showcase creativity and focus on entertaining users. More and more people are using apps to create and edit their posts. Therefore, a large number of Gen-Z users said they wanted more engaging and fun content in their news feeds. Thus came the rise of TikTok. It is an app where short creative videos can be made and posted. By April 2020, it had more than 2 billion downloads, and shortly after that, Instagram released its reels feature.
Greater Support For and Representation of Various Issues
Mental health has been addressed by numerous companies. Many businesses are even using it as part of their marketing strategy. Social media users are more inclined to engage with a brand that addresses certain mental health issues. This was especially during the lockdown period. Snapchat released the ‘Here for you’ tool and extra features to help cope with the pandemic’s pressure. TikTok also promoted the hashtag #MentalHealthAwareness and streamed live sessions with mental health experts.
Cybersecurity has also become more important because various specialists started using VPNs. What is a VPN? A virtual private network helps users to browse through a secure connection and ensure that their information is not leaked. Cyber attacks are more common these days, and marketers have to protect their social media accounts.
Changes like these proved necessary as more and more people relied on remote work to perform their tasks.
A Larger Sense of Community
During the pandemic, many people felt isolated and alone. They were forced to stay at home, and it wasn’t always pleasant. Social media users acknowledged this and started creating a sense of community amongst followers and fans. TikTok featured a series of hashtag challenges where users could participate and share their attempts.
Users also assisted in helping others find work. For example, influencer Michael King created a spreadsheet for freelancers where they could add their names if they were available. Companies could then look at the spreadsheet and hire freelancers. This created many job opportunities. As of September, the spreadsheet has 1,000 rows of freelancers.
The COVID-19 pandemic allowed social media to become a place of comfort where personal issues were addressed and dealt with. The changed behavior forced many companies to change the way they approach their marketing strategy. They found new ways to engage with customers, supporters, and followers.