Social Media Use and Trends During Covid-19 Pandemic

Social Media Use
Image by Lindsey Prether, MSU ComArtSci

With the world under quarantine for the last three months, digital tools play an even larger role as organizations large and small navigate the new normal. Not surprisingly, social media platforms have experienced a significant boom as well: PR Daily reports that Facebook (including Instagram) has seen a 9% increase in daily users, Twitter an 11% increase and Snapchat a 20% increase. TikTok exploded in popularity, becoming the most downloaded app in a single quarter. From January – March 2020, TikTok saw 315 million installs, a 58% increase over the previous quarter.

Traffic is Up But Ad Revenue is Down

One irony of soaring social media use and traffic is organizations that could most benefit from increased paid content have had to cut their marketing budgets – along with their staff in many cases – because of the global shutdown. This in turn means social media companies were unable to capitalize on the huge boom on their platforms with increased rates and revenues.

However, as most states and countries begin gradually opening back up for business, this is actually a great time to advertise on social media – while rates (and competition) are low and traffic is high. If you can find a way, Facebook and Instagram still offer the most bang for your buck for paid campaigns.

Pros and Cons of Social Media As a News Source

Interestingly, while users spending all day every day at home rely on social media for entertainment and distraction, they’ve also turned to the platforms for news about Covid-19 in droves. A survey of 1000 people by Flixed found an “unprecedented increase in consumption of news articles” on Facebook. Facebook was also by far the primary social platform for most people’s news, with 35.8% of those surveyed reporting they got their news there. Twitter was the main source of news for 17% of those surveyed, with LinkedIn at 16.3% and Reddit at 12.4%.

Unfortunately, this uptick in news consumption included the spread of misinformation as well as news from reputable sources, as reported extensively in the media and in this article in MSU Today. President Trump’s provocative use of Twitter even led to the platform flagging one of his tweets as “glorifying violence.”

Mindfulness for Mental Health

Additionally, this increase in our collective news diet on social media had negative effects on many people’s mental health as well, with 48% of those surveyed reporting their mental health was worse compared to January 2020. Research shows excessive exposure to social media can fuel feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation and – especially in vulnerable young people – the dreaded fear of missing out (FOMO).

So while social media in the time of quarantine can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and loved ones, and reach your target audiences to get your message out and grow your business, we must also be mindful of how it makes us feel. If we find our increased time on social platforms isn’t lifting us up, it’s probably time for a break and switch to another non-digital activity. A brisk walk outside in the fresh air or other exercise, journaling, cooking, playing games or reading an actual book are all great antidotes to digital overload. HelpGuide has this terrific resource if you’re struggling with unhealthy social media use.

Timing Is Everything

As we tiptoe back to a post-Covid-19 world, are you ready to take advantage of this opportune time to reach your audiences through the strategic use of social media? Let’s chat! KB Concepts would love to help you put together a creative, effective and affordable campaign. Stay healthy and safe!

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