With more people staying at home and wanting to stay connected, even virtually, social media has seen a spike in usage since the start of the pandemic. Being an avid social media user myself, it’s been interesting to see how the platforms evolved over the past months to keep up with changes in user behavior.
Since the pandemic started, we’ve seen an increased variety of advertisements and companies hosting giveaways to engage with their audience. Personally, this makes me more inclined to be on these social media platforms because I find the content on social media both engaging and insightful (though there are admittedly pitfalls to beware of as well.) Adaptability is a word that we’ve all become familiar with, and the social media platforms adapted by engaging their audience while keeping up with (or even creating) new trends.
Here are three ways the social media platforms adapted due to the impact of COVID-19:
1. Instagram and Tik Tok Continue to Grow
Instagram is by far one of my favorite social media platforms. Throughout the pandemic, I found both myself and my followers posting more often and on a wider variety of topics. eMarketer even estimated that time spent on Instagram has grown 14% this year.
Another platform that is becoming extremely popular is Tik Tok. The app can grab the eye of any user by enabling them to watch and create videos. The app can also be leveraged by businesses in the form of ad placements or even creating their own Tik Toks. In fact, there are now 500 million users around the world using the platform.
2. A Shift in Social Media Posts
2020 also saw a shift in the types of content posted to social media platforms due to the events that took place. From the pandemic to social justice issues and changes in the economy to the elections, last year was a constant learning process not only for brands and social media users but for our world. In fact, 33% of social media users reported seeing a shift in what people posted due to events taking place around the world.
While 2020 certainly brought new challenges to this space, social media served as a platform for brands and users to share ideas and, hopefully, continue to learn and grow.
3. New Features on Social Media Platforms
Instagram now offers more convenient access to shopping through its platform with its own “shop” section that you can select at the bottom of the app. The update makes it easier for users to find products and stores to shop from. This represents an opportunity for brands to attract attention from new (and existing) audiences and streamline the shopping process.
Twitter also recently unveiled a new feature, called fleets (similar to Stories on Instagram) to help include all users in the conversation. These conversations are removed after a day. Followers can see Fleets at the top of their timeline, with a similar set up as posting a tweet.
Social media has been an outlet for many users for an extended period now. More users are now becoming aware of the features that social media has to offer. With COVID-19 still a prominent issue in today’s society, this is an excellent way for brands to share their content on such popular platforms.
Molly is a senior studying public relations at Quinnipiac University. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, working out, and spending time at the beach.