The evolution of social media through COVID-19

Thought Leadership

To help brands navigate through the current crisis, and start preparing for a future after lockdown, we recently launched our ‘Do The Right Thing’ report.  Using insights from this, our Chief Strategy Officer Mobbie Nazir recently wrote a piece for WARC examining some of the potential changes to social media and key considerations for brands. A summary of this piece is below.

Even in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, with most of us living lives that are pretty unrecognisable compared with just a few weeks back, it’s hard not to wonder what the longer-term impact will be. What new habits will stick? What is the future of office life? And how is it impacting our children and young people?

It’s foolish to make fast and hard predictions – but interesting to think of the possibilities. For those of us whose work involves brand building, it’s especially important to consider what the current mass move to digital living means. Part of this is looking at what changes we’ve already seen, anticipating which new norms and values will persist, and which will eventually fall by the wayside.

So what could happen on social post COVID-19?

At the time of writing it’s impossible to know exactly what post-COVID will mean, let alone when it will happen. There is already pressure to ease lockdown restrictions, but there’s just no way to predict at this point when we will be able to return to anything resembling normality – or how long the inevitable recession will last and what it’ll look like.

But, as marketers, it is prudent for us to observe what’s changing, look at past lessons and therefore hypothesise about what might happen – and how we can best prepare ourselves and support our clients.

More willingness to use online and social alternatives
The mass change in habits caused by the strictest lockdown rules could see some long-lasting impacts. For example, online fitness classes and apps could prove a convenient and cost-effective way for people to train in the long-term.

Greater scrutiny of brand actions vs words
Post-Coronavirus, we’ll be able to really see which brands lived up to claims of being values-led. Brands who shout about their purpose after the crisis can be judged on their past actions.

Live streaming may become part of our entertainment experience
There’s no substitute for IRL experiences. But having been forced into experiencing live streams may have changed many people’s willingness to make them a more regular part of their entertainment schedule, along with the real thing.

Less short-termism in social strategies
Research shows that those who invest in brand building advertising during recessions emerge stronger. We will see more focus on brand building over short-term performance tactics on social, as brands recognise that they need to build consumer trust.

Communities will be empowered by social
This crisis has brought to light many of the inequalities in our society. But communities have used their collective voices with more confidence on social media and will be reminded that it is possible to make a difference together.

More agile production
Social media is the ideal breeding ground for more innovative, agile and adaptable production and in lockdown we’ve seen how much can be done with so little. We may see a trend towards more sophisticated low-budget and small crew techniques increasing.

To read the article in full, visit WARC.


This article was written by our Chief Strategy Officer, Mobbie Nazir.