The Uptick Of Social Media Since Lockdown

A Shift in Consumer Behaviour

With the outbreak of coronavirus resulting in the entire nation finding themselves in lockdown, seeing the closure of bars, restaurants and just about any public attraction for that matter, people are spending a whole lot more time at home than usual. With that comes an inevitable influx in social media consumption, particularly on Instagram, and the new contender to the arena, TikTok (no, we’re not talking about the infamous Kesha song).

In the midst of this pandemic, many people are turning to social media to keep them entertained with engaging content as they try to tackle the boredom of self-isolation, as well as providing a source of social interaction for those isolating alone and supplying regular news updates on the current crisis. With that in mind, industry sources have forecasted that e-commerce advertising spend will grow by 17.7% and social media spending will increase by 22.2% as a result of coronavirus, as consumer-led brands utilise the power of social media to keep their audiences engaged.

While industry research reveals that the majority of consumers don’t think that brands must halt their advertising during the coronavirus outbreak, many companies are continuing to pull their ad campaigns and are closely reviewing their budgets. Twitter’s recent announcement serves as a warning that digital marketing is not immune to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Despite a clear uptick in social media growth, platforms like Twitter are being hit by reduced ad spend as brands have to halt their marketing activities.

A Marketing Week and Econsultancy survey found that 55% of UK marketers have either postponed or reviewed their ad campaigns, while a further 60% are completely cutting or reviewing their ad budget. In our opinion, this is the perfect opportunity to test and try the digital waters if you’re able to. Have you had to close your shop and cease trading throughout this crisis? A long-term client of ours, Flat Caps Coffee, has halted their customer-facing trading to support social distancing guidelines. Working closely with them, we were able to help create a simple yet effective marketing strategy that has supported them through the initial stages of lockdown. Using paid marketing and an effective email and social media campaign, we were able to create new revenue streams through their online store. The support and leverage we offered to our client helped them achieve a 96% sales increase, 147% increase in website traffic and an impressive 86% increase in basket value.

Are you a business owner who is thinking about turning to the online space during this time? Some might argue that throughout this period, with a lower demand for paid ads on Facebook and the increased performance of organic content, perhaps lies a hidden opportunity for brands that have some budget to spend and increase their reach because of the lower costs of ads on Facebook. Leading social media platforms will inevitably become less competitive, as you bid against each other for the audience, so this could pose the perfect opportunity for people to achieve cheaper results, if applicable to their business.

The TikTok Opportunity

If you’ve never heard of the new social media app that is currently dominating the online world, TikTok comprises of users posting their short-lived, lip-synced, music, dance or comedy video sketches; with a booming trend for apparent life hacks and visually-inspiring food videos. With The Atlantic magazine branding the social media platform as “cringey”, we’re curious to know what has attracted TikTok’s mere 800 million active worldwide users to the platform; and the bigger question, will they stay?

To put the rapid global popularity of the platform into perspective, here are some useful insights:

  • TikTok was one of the most popular apps of 2018, as it took the coveted #1 position in the Google Play Store, with a whopping 2.78 million downloads in the USA and a total of one billion downloads worldwide.
  • Due to its rising popularity and appeal amongst a younger demographic, TikTok is now available in 154 countries and is in the top 25 overall of 135 of them. 
  • TikTok has been installed on mobile devices around 800 million times, thanks mainly to China’s social media video craze. TikTok continues to grow in popularity at a rapid rate.
  • According to official TikTok statistics, their users are loyal and keep returning to the app. A large proportion, 90%, use the app multiple times daily.

From these statistics, it’s clear that TikTok is a heavily subscribed platform that harnesses a highly engaged user base. TikTok is growing at an extremely rapid pace and holds no prisoners; the platform is proving highly influential in the current climate.

Not Now Karen

During the coronavirus induced lockdown, there has been a large influx of 30-40 somethings ‘giving TikTok a go’, most likely fuelled by their children and sheer boredom, but will we come out the other side of lockdown with Tik Tok not being as cool as a result? Remember when all the parents joined Facebook and all the kids ran for the hills to Snapchat and Instagram? Is TikTok about to face an éxodos post lockdown?

As far as we’re concerned, we love TikTok! It’s a channel where only positivity lives, it’s massively creative, cute and fun. Twitter, believe it or not, used to be fun, Facebook was great before the parents descended on it, Instagram is fake, Snapchat was always sleazy – TikTok is pure –  it’s one of the only pure fun apps left… but some might say Karen is ruining it.

However, for every ‘Karen’ there is an ad opportunity! TikTok recently launched their ad platform and many consumer brands have not jumped on it yet as the data skewed very young. Now that the boomers are getting involved, there is a window of opportunity to reach people in a very greenfield platform where ad fatigue is nonexistent.

How Businesses can Respond to the Coronavirus

The recent outbreak of coronavirus has substantially impacted businesses all over the world. It’s become clear to see that it isn’t just consumers behaviour that is changing towards social media consumption in more recent weeks, with leading social media platforms like Twitter have published a listing of 20 tweet prompts to help people think about what they want to share, in order to keep online activity flowing and keep your brand at the front of consumers’ minds by appearing in their followers’ feeds. Facebook have also recently launched a focussed effort to provide valuable help and recommendations to businesses that are being affected by the ongoing crisis:

1 – Keep yourself safe and informed

Stay updated on coronavirus by monitoring official sources, such as WHO or the government health department. It is essential to be aware of new developments and to respond quickly to changes that could directly impact you and your business.

2 – Highlight important posts

Pin any important announcements at the top of your feed for ease of viewing.

3 – Consider alternative channels

Having to postpone or cancel your event due to the current outbreak? Consider using alternative channels to host these events virtually. A physical workshop could be turned into an online webinar or a live session to keep your customers engaged and connected.

4 – Responding to customer service queries

Stay responsive with your customers throughout this uncertain time. Make sure your responses to queries are accurate and timely to maintain and ensure customer trust and satisfaction!

5 – Provide clarity through FAQ’s

Prepare FAQ responses that will provide as much visibility and reassurance to your customers as possible.

Final Thoughts

While TikTok has not yet gained a market share which competes with the likes of Facebook and Instagram, its rapid growth and video-centric concept makes it a redoubtable force in the world of social media. While its appeal is not limited to a younger demographic, this is a Generation Z app. The platform lends itself perfectly to the somewhat disdainful sense of humour of the first generation of true digital natives. It could be argued that this is what appeals to younger users who are tired of seeing the picture-perfect lives and bodies that the Instagram search page seems to be inundated with; TikTok provides more of a down-to-earth, real-life snapshot of users’ lives.

It’s not all doom and gloom. With the rise of people staying at home with nothing to do, comes the rise of people scouring the internet all day searching for something to amuse them, even in the slightest. Here poses a huge opportunity for businesses to make clever use of; with ad budgets being slashed and the competitive advantage drastically landsliding, now more than ever is the time to turn your business to the online space. The opportunities are truly endless.

In light of these uncertain times, we want to do the most we possibly can to help. With more attention turning online than ever before and many competitors reducing their ad spend, every business is going to need a bespoke strategy to move forward with and reach consumers online. We are willing to discuss different payment options for anyone facing difficulty during this challenging time, through reducing our usual fees, deferring payments and if your business is based in the North East, you could even qualify for up to 40% off our normal rates. If you would like to discuss how we can best help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free, no obligation chat.