Till a few months back the world was under lockdown. Though things are now taking a positive turn and people are adjusting to a ‘new normal’, we still have a long way to go. People worldwide are practicing social distancing. As per a report by a market research firm Nielsen, social media activity saw a massive 50X surge in India in wake of this pandemic.
With this data on hand and the known fact that in last 6 months the world has seen a surge in use of social networking and digita channels and platforms, it becomes important that brands, utilise this time to maintain a constant presence in digital space. This is the time when brands need to focus on social media marketing and create a lasting relation with target audience, building trust and loyalty.
Social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and Twitter have become the connecting links to the outside world in the time of the pandemic. Social platforms have also become a primary source for obtaining information in an average household.
These social networks motivate, connect, enhance and offer a feeling of being there. But sometimes it might also have a huge negative impacts in the lives of many during the lockdown. Let’s discuss how social networking sites have affected our lives.
The Positive Impact of Social Media During Lockdown
Many social media platforms have started its own awareness features. Facebook has introduced a ‘Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information Centre’ feature. Just a tap here provides the users with lastest updates from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and news from global health organisations. Few platforms like ShareChat not only is helping professionls to connect with special features but are also running regular campaigns to encourage its users to practice social distancing
Most of the news agencies have been using their own social channels to speard awareness about the pandemic and this has helped us to stay updated without really searching for any news. Brands with the help of various digital marketing agency have created ads and awareness campaigns for the target audience. Just by looking at the social profile of a brand or a store you can now know what steps are they taking for your and the staff’s safety.
Communication Link Between Government and People
When there was complete lockdown, social media in India emerged as a critical platform of communication between the government and citizens. Various government agencies started using social media platforms like twitter and facebook to send pandemic-related updates. Police was also sharing information directly with people through social channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. During the lockdown, social media platforms facilitated an easy two-way communication between people and government representatives at various levels, at times resulting in speedy grievance redressal.
Facebook has provided the platform of fundraising for fighting against COVID-19 by collaborating with big names in the entertainment industry and otherwise for the home-to-home raising of funds. The leaders have three key objectives- to entertain people who are locked in their homes, pay tribute to the frontline workers, and raise funds for people with no food, no work, and no home.
Creativity At Its Best
The social media marketing and content creation has become an important source of earning for many in the recent months. Many people have come up with fun and very serious ideas and have been creating engaging videos during the lockdown. The stand-up comedians have been organizing online sit-down concepts at home. The fitness instructors are organizing live sessions for providing some motivation for fitness. People are getting motivated to remain healthy by doing virtual class, doing household chores, and following healthy routines. The chefs are offering free and paid cooking classes over Zoom.
The list of creativity is endless when it comes to how people have discovered that social networking can actually work so well and make you feel like you are actually there without stepping out of the house.
The Negative Impact of the Social Media Platforms
There is a negative impact also with the increased use of social media platforms.
Misinformation About Pandemic
The people have also spread rumors about this pandemic on social media platforms. Like for example in UK and USA people started attacking 5G towers as there was a rumor floating around social media that these towers are weaking people’s immunity and that is the reason why this pandemic is spreading so fast.
Contributes of Fear and Depression
Social media platforms have provided live streaming of a lot of things and subjected us to the devastation of the coronavirus. We have seen people in extreme circumstances, grieving families; doctors and nurses working without the PPE and people dying alone in hospitals without family contact. COVID19 has created a fear of the unknown. A new research has shown that there has been a great rise of link between depression and anxiety and social media use in the recent times.
What the Brands and Businesses Need to Do?
Understand that the people are social creatures. The brands need to increase their social presence during this pandemic but with care. As a marketer, find out the likes and dislikes of your audience. Be creative, be sensitive and yes do keep posting as people are there in social media and they will find you. Go silent and you will be forgotten.
You can also optimize the website and content with the help of a social media marketing agency. The use of the right keywords (the ones that are being searched more now) is essential to improve google ranking.
It is quite easy to use social media platforms. But we must use it in the right way to get the most out of it. Social media platforms can be used to gain knowledge and information. It can be used to stay connected and be a part of the community, find a cause and be apart of something larger. From fear, with each passing day, many people have found meaning in social media!