Covid-19 Pandemic Changes Public Response to Social Media Content

  • Almost a quarter of social media users have changed attitude towards brands due to coronavirus content
  • Two in ten people have ditched an influencer for pandemic opinions
  • Staying up to date is the prime reason for logging into social media

As countries around the world have gone into lockdown, more and more people have been turning to social media to maintain contact with both friends and the wider world. But while this was a foreseen response to social isolation, the ways in which the public have been using and responding to social media during the Covid-19 pandemic may take some by surprise, with brands losing followers and shoppers changing loyalties. Award-winning UK digital marketing specialist, Shaz Memon, has been exploring the changing role of social media in a time of pandemic. 

With social distancing in place, the fact that 27% of people interviewed by Digimax cited staying updated as the main reason for using social media during the last 3 months is to be expected. 16% said they are using social media to reach a new fitness goal, 13% using social media to communicate with friends and family, and a surprising  5% are using social media platforms to help them find new work.  

Businesses may also be interested in the way that the public has been responding to the posts they’ve seen on social media platforms from brands.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, 23% of social media users say that their attitude towards a brand has changed because of what they’ve posted during lockdown. 31% said that this was largely due to insensitive advertising. While almost half (42%) said they were more likely to buy from brands in the future who had helped charitably during the pandemic. This ties in with the more than a third (38%) of social media users saying that they had shared or liked content raising money for coronavirus causes. And 7% saying they had engaged in pandemic baking and sharing.

This interest in the charitable aspect of the pandemic is reflected in some of the most popular hashtags used recently. #Clapforcarers, has been used 40,946 times while #Captaintom appears 22,501 times. 

Other popular pandemic hashtags include:

  • Coronavirus – used 24M times
  • Covid19 – used 21M times

But while social media has been used as a force for good in a number of ways during the Covid-19 pandemic, 14% of users stated that they found it to have a more negative impact in this time. While many users (19% of respondents) said they had unfollowed an influencer/celebrity on social media specifically because of their Covid-19 content.

Digimax Founder and Director, Shaz Memon, told B365:‘Social media has been a marketing superpower during the course of the last decade, but the Covid-19 pandemic has left many people out of their depth. They’ve not known how to respond to such unprecedented circumstances, and so mistakes have been made.  

‘Brand reputation is a fragile thing. And once it’s tarnished, without careful handling, it can take years to rebuild. As lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease, now is the time to make a positive impact on social media. And to do this, companies need to avoid self-serving content. The public is looking for positivity and support. The clever SME will use social media to give it to them.’