I recently attended a Social Media Week Webinar partnered with Suzy (a real-time market research platform). This webinar was held by Matt Britton (CEO of Suzy) & Toby Daniels (CEO of SMW).

The topic of conversation was the role of social during this difficult period of social distancing. They used a study launched by Suzy at the end of April which looked at consumers in the U.S. The sample of 829, is directionally representative of U.S consumers and census weighted across age, gender, ethnicity, and region.

In this blog, I will briefly run through the discussion had & thoughts on looking into the ‘new future’.

How Are Consumers Using Social Media?

-To connect with people

-To react to information

-To use it to escape & as a form of entertainment

-Interacting with brands

Connecting With People

Consumers are using social media more, 63% more, since COVID-19 started. With the merging of home & business life, many of us are using social media more than we used to.

Interestingly though, 54% aren’t paying attention to the amount of time they’re spending on social platforms.

It’s clear the structure of our days have changed, they have become fluid, which makes it difficult to keep tabs on how much time we’re spending on social.

Top Platforms?

Facebook 57%, YouTube 42%, Insta 40%, Tiktok 9%.

Findings from the Suzy study show that Tiktok is the primary platform for 18-24 year old consumers & Facebook is the primary platform for over 35’s.

Did this shock you? Me too. I had imaged Tiktok to be higher, more & more people are jumping on the platform as an escape, to keep busy & feel part of the community.

How Are Consumers Using Social Media?

  • Communicate with friends & fam (55%)
  • To stay up to date with news & current events (34%)

Why?

  • To stay connected 48%
  • It’s easy 41%
  • To build community 39%

However some people think it using social media this way causes misinformation 25% & can be an impersonal method of staying connected with loved ones 25%. But right now, it can’t be avoided to use social to stay in touch!

Interestingly, the good ol’ fashioned phone call still stands as the most popular way to stay in touch during this time, with 57% of consumers sampled in the study saying they used the phone. Other platforms included; Facebook 55%, What’sApp 36%, Insta 34%, FaceTime 26%, Skype 21%, Zoom 19%.

However, it’s great to see that consumers have adapted & learnt new software to stay in touch & make sure we are still able to work remotely.

What Type Of Content Are Consumers Posting?

  • Entertaining Content
  • Inspirational Content to uplift people (have we reached peak Covid-19 when your dad sends you a motivational message on the family chat?!)
  • Informational Content relating to Covid-19

Connecting with Celebrities & Influencers during COVID

Influencers & celebs are in the same situation as us (some may disagree in that they are in their expensive homes etc & aren’t relatable to at all), BUT this situation has brought back the day of user-generated content.

Entertainment platforms consumers are using seems to be; TikTok 66%, YouTube 65%, Insta (62%) & Snapchat (53%).

TikTok was big before Covid-19 hit, but since it has really coming into its own. This is because everyone is at home & the platforms lets you create easy, quick, relatable videos.

Instagram live streams have increased (this could be due to the fact we are all sharing this experience), which is great to see considering that nothing from normal life is live, no shows, no sport …so there’s a thirst for live content at the moment.

We can see that consumers are enjoying live music from artists, fitness classes & even learning a new skill during a live online class.

 Connecting With Brands

Consumers are looking to connect with brands who are informative, honest, clear, caring & community focussed. Brands need to be more human in order to connect with consumers at this time. Brands need to think about producing content which shows compassion & empathy.

How should brands be marketing during the crisis?

As brands, we should be helping consumers escape, aiming to bring people together, develop a community & drive connections.

What Does The Future Hold?

In the new future, will brands continue to use social media in more human-centric ways or revert back to old tricks?

It is clear that Covid-19 has had an effect on the way we, as consumers, use social media, but also how brands market to consumers.