It’s safe to say that the rise of COVID-19 is affecting both businesses and consumers alike. With public outings and everyday services on pause, the time spent inside and in isolation has led to an increased dependence on technology to provide us with social interactions. According to a study conducted by online marketplace IZEA, 66% of social media users believe that their social media habits will increase significantly during Coronavirus confinement.
More statistics found that:
These statistics highlight that “as more consumers are confined to their homes, there will be a significant surge of social media content creation and consumption,” and “marketers have the opportunity to connect with a captive audience seeking content, services, and entertainment.”
For marketers, this surge in social media usage comes with an increased amount of competition; coupled with the need to adapt to the stress and uncertainty caused by this global crisis. As a result, brands will need to work twice as hard to captivate their audience and drive purchases. With that comes an even greater need to appeal to their audience in authentic, yet sensitive ways.
If you identify as a brand or an influencer, it is more important now than ever to keep up to date with breaking news in order to adjust your content and online persona accordingly. This method of “social listening” will help you develop a sense of trust, empathy, and positivity with your audience.
For consumers, these statistics show the trajectory for “the new normal.” Over the past decade, we have seen the growing influence that technology and media has had on society. However, with this pandemic, we are going to see an increased dependence on technology and media to — quite literally — survive socially.
This spike in dependence on online and social media platforms reflects our innate desire to connect, stay social, and be entertained. With most of us confined to our homes and limited socially, we depend on platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and now Zoom. Without them we would be isolated not only physically, but in almost every sense of the word.
In fact, with the Coronavirus, more and more celebrities are choosing to go Live on Instagram not only as a means of replacing previously scheduled live events, but also to keep in touch with their followers. According to Digital Trends, “everyone is going live.” Miley Cyrus recently announced her daily Instagram livestream, Bright Minded, where she collaborates with special guests and other celebrities on how to “stay LIT during dark times,” every Monday through Friday at 11:30am PST.
“Innovation plus boredom is creating a new Instagram Live experience,” actress Quinta Brunson states. With people all around the world starved of entertainment, Instagram Live provides users with content and opportunities to more actively engage rather than passively scroll their feeds. Not to mention, going Live is a more authentic experience. You are watching and engaging with people in real time — commenting, reacting, and even joining in on the fun by going live with friends.
We have all begun to adopt new ways of socializing by downloading apps like Houseparty and organizing “Wine Wednesday” gatherings on Zoom with friends from the office. We’re getting more creative with the meals we make, the activities we do, and the conversations we’re having at the dinner tables. And, we’re becoming more thoughtful and empathetic with the content we post.
But where do we go from here? What can we expect for the future? Well, it is likely that our increased online and social media use will likely plateau in the near future once we have accepted and adopted this new normal. COVID-19 has left most of us in the dark in terms of what the future has in store for us, but as consumers — and as humans for that matter — we adapt to our surroundings despite the challenges they pose.
All in all, the future may be unknown, but that hasn’t stopped us from trying to adjust to this new lifestyle. Where our social gatherings are done through screens and our hands are constantly dry from washing them every twenty minutes. The good news is, we’re all in this together. And all we can do is continue to inspire those around us, continue to engage with our community (virtually of course), and continue to spread positivity and hope for the future.