From an ever-evolving pandemic and countrywide shutdowns, to political conversations and civil unrest, our day-to-day behaviors look a bit different in 2020. Grocery shopping, going to the gym, and even (especially) scrolling through social media are completely different now than they were in early March. With all of these societal changes, the role of social media continues to serve as different outlets of expression, escapism, and information.
According to a recent Influenster survey of 7,738 total respondents in June 2020, 90% of respondents in the United Kingdom and 86% in North America agree/strongly agree that they have seen a recent shift in the content they are seeing as social justice and activism have been more prominent online with recent events (like the murder of George Floyd and unchecked spread of COVID-19) and subsequent protests.
Respondents in the UK stated that the content they’re now seeing on social media is “political,” “resourceful,” and “inspirational” while those in NA described the content as “political,” “overwhelming,” and “stressful.”
Social media users are now more cognizant of the types of content they publish in an effort to be sensitive to current events and ongoing situations. In fact, half of respondents in both NA and the UK agreed that they have changed their posting behavior as a result of current events. And of those respondents who have changed their behavior, 43% in NA and 52% in the UK are sharing more information and resources as they relate to current events.
Here are the changes we’re seeing in social media usage and behavior:
What platforms are popular now during the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the way we shop, work, and well, live (for now).
It’s probably no surprise that with people staying home more, screen time has increased massively. The majority of survey respondents in the UK (82%) and NA (72%) said that their social media consumption has increased significantly during the pandemic.
Both respondents in the UK and NA said that Instagram is the platform they’ve consumed the most during this time. 69% in NA and 67% in the UK said their Instagram consumption has increased compared to pre-pandemic.
TikTok (37%), Instagram (28%), and YouTube (20%) have been the preferred platforms to “escape/use purely for enjoyment” during this extended time at home.
But no platforms are being avoided altogether. More than half of respondents in both regions said there is not a platform they’re avoiding right now due to COVID-19 information overload.
And while people have more time to engage with their existing social media platforms, 47% of UK respondents and 50% of NA respondents said they haven’t used this time as an opportunity to try a new platform they hadn’t used before. Of those respondents who have started using a new social media platform, TikTok was their top choice.
Important for brands and retailers to note is 82% of respondents indicated that social media is the most common channel to get information about a brand and its products, followed by the brand’s website (39%).
As a business, your tone, type of content, and messaging should be thoughtfully executed based on the archetypes that work for each platform and in the current climate.
What types of content do people want to see?
Some of the top types of content people are looking for in the UK and NA include ‘influencer content’, ‘shopping content’, ‘humorous content’, ‘recipe content’, and ‘updates from friends and family’.
People want content that will bring them some joy during these tough times. They’re also looking for serviceable and informative content. As a brand, think of the ways that you can provide uplifting and forward thinking content and messaging. Think about your consumers’ needs and unique circumstances, and share serviceable information and resources that can help.
According to an Influenster survey conducted in May 2020, consumers want to hear information on new services that brands are offering in response to the crisis (39%) and what measures are being taken to help frontline workers (29%). Shoppers also want to see brands more focused on social responsibility vs. selling products (26%) online. And 35% of consumers look at the brand’s social media channels to receive these updates, even during the pandemic.
Remember consumers are paying attention to the messaging and content you’re pushing out. Make sure that your statements align with your brand’s mission and values, and be transparent with the actions you are taking. Social media is a place where you can build long lasting connections with your consumers – just be willing to meet them where they are.