More than half a year has passed since COVID-19 emerged and spread across the world.
Social distancing and lockdowns help in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, however, as a result, people have limited physical social interactions.
During this time, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, etc.have played an important role in maintaining connections.
Not just in social interaction and entertainment but also for spreading COVID-19 related awareness.
Social media is found to be the primary medium for business as well as personal communication. Even several governmental agencies and international organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) used Facebook and other social media platforms for awareness and myth busting.
Through this article, we will review the role of social media during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Social Media Is Adopting With COVID-19?
Social media is a platform for interaction, conversation, image and video sharing, following, public posting, group discussion, etc.
And, in the business scenario, the same social media platform is a medium for product promotion, lead generation, customer interaction and engagement, customer support, etc.
Hence, social media is playing an indispensable role in a person’s personal life as well as in business.
During the wake of COVID-19, many firms have changed their strategies to cope up with the changing needs rising due to pandemic.
Whatsapp usage has increased by 40%. Also, the live views on Facebook have doubled in a week’s time during the COVID-19 pandemic rise. Overall, social media was found to be one of the most useful methods for several tasks.
To incorporate the changing needs, social media brings various reforms to their platforms. Some major ones are outlined below:
COVID-19 Facebook Special Section
With the alarming world-wide spread of the COVID-19, various social media platforms and other forms of media realised the urgent need to adjust their strategies to incorporate COVID-19 related sections for their users.
Facebook introduced COVID-19 Information Centre as a new “Explore” option. Although these new sections on various social media platforms are marketing-centric steps with the intention to avoid the bounce of users to other platforms for COVID-19 related information, yet they are very useful for users with lots of information and awareness related to the pandemic.
Apart from these steps, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media have introduced various stickers depicting “stay at home” and “follow social distancing” etc., to embed with user profile pictures to promote and encourage people from following these prevention norms.
Instagram has also announced that it will not recommend COVID-19 accounts that are not posted by credible health organisations.
After the extensive lockdown in several parts of the world for over a long time, many brick-and-mortar stores and small businesses found it hard to make sales and generate revenue.
This is where the Facebook Shop feature came into it’s element.
Using this Shop feature, any small business or seller can add their products and updates and set up their Facebook Shop for free. They can connect their audience using multiple platforms such as Instagram, Messenger, Whatsapp, etc., which increases the extent of outreach for the audience and also to provide answers and support to the audience.
The Shop can be customised based on business requirements with varieties of fonts, colour, and product collection. You can even carry out live shopping — a great sale booster.
The Facebook shop is starting in about 30 countries and is expected to help lots of small businesses across the world who are under the risk of extinction of financial crises due to COVID-19.
Facebook Shop is supported by several partnerships which include Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, CedCommerce, Channel Advisor, Cafe24, Tienda Nube, and Feedonomics. This partnership will support the small business in various aspects of setting up the shop, and in the selling buying process.
How Social Media Helping Business?
Contact with Customers And Other Businesses
Having regular interaction with customers is a must for high customer retention, engagement, and conversions or overall revenue. On the other hand, business interaction is necessary to keep the collaboration and partnership alive and growing.
Social media has always played a vital role in generating leads for businesses and building a real brand for companies worldwide.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, several physical channels and direct meetings were an open option for all types of business and customer interaction. But, after the extensive lockdown policies in various places, the extent of direct meeting and interaction dies out completely relying on online platforms such as Google Meet, Skype, Facebook, etc.
Even though such virtual interaction is limited, yet they seem to fulfil the requirements to a large extent in this crisis situation.
Social media has been one of the major platforms for commercial ads.
Several businesses ranging from the small to big, all use social media to advertise their brands to their targeted audience on various social media platforms during COVID-19 crises.
With the majority of people staying at home, people are spending more time on various social media platforms but, people are mostly connecting to COVID-19 related awareness campaigns and other virus-related content, therefore, reducing the engagement in the social media ads.
As a result, businesses have cut down their budgets and social media ads.
Understanding The Needs Of The Customer
With the changing situation due to COVID-19, the needs of the customer are changing in various product categories. The demands of face masks, sanitisers, hand gloves, soaps, other hygiene products, and home care are increasing whereas various ready-made eatables from the market and others.
The changing trends in these products are easy to understand by analysing, interacting, conducting surveys on various social media platforms.
How Social Media Playing Its Role For Individuals And Government Agencies
As A Primary Source For Spreading Awareness And Information
In the growing risk of Coronavirus, awareness and information to keep us safe and avoid the infection from spreading further. Social media is one of the primary methods of spreading COVID-19 related awareness. Several international organisations such as WHO use sponsored categories to spread verified and trusted information.
For Connecting Individuals To Their Social Relationship
Social media was originally designed for social interaction among families, friends and also to find new friends across the world to share ideas, information, and other forms of media such as images, videos, text, etc.
Social media has been criticised about its addictive nature, and how online socialising is killing the real-life socialising traits. But, with the COVID-19 rise, everyone depends upon some sort of social media for interactive regular interaction, video calling and picture sharing with their friends and relatives.
As Group Interaction By Various Educational Institutes
Various educational institutes and organisations are using these social media platforms as a means of interactive conversation with the group of their students or workers to manage and stay in touch with each other in the time of complete lockdown.
The Negative Side Of COVID
Even with all these benefits, there are some downsides to social media too.
The major drawback of social media during this situation is the spread of misinformation or fake news. This imposes the uncertain risk of virus spread and makes the public more prone to infection.
In addition to users’ efforts, the social media companies themselves are making every effort to stop or discourage the spread of fake news. Twitter has announced to add labels and messages to some tweets that are misleading COVID-19 information.
In the hard times of this global crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, social media is playing a significant role in keeping us connected.
In addition, the government and other international agencies are using it as a means to spread awareness and prevention information.
If you want to learn more about social media, check out these Marketing.com.au articles:
- How User Generated Content Improves SEO, Traffic and Sales
- The Definitive Guide to Marketing Your Restaurant During COVID-19
- 8 Powerful Social Media Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business
- 10 Great Examples of Social Media Reputation Management
- How To Use Social Media To Reach Your Target Audience
He is passionate about building and scaling eCommerce development.