How the role of social media has changed over lockdown.
For many people, social media is a central aspect of everyday life. It has become a part of life that I cannot imagine being without. It is entwined with reality. If you don’t have Instagram, you have Facebook. And if you don’t have Facebook, you at least have LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is designed specifically for the business community – and is being used now more than ever – it shares many similarities with Facebook: the newsfeed, ‘connecting’ with one another, sharing articles and photos. The main principles of all social media sites being: sharing and networking.
We are a generation of sharers. It is so easy, and no one can deny the feeling of gaining instant validation through immediate ‘likes’ and responses. For many people social media was a lifeline during the isolation of lockdown; it was a community which offered emotional support and hope. In the Covid era, utilising the power of social media is more important than ever. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were primary sources of information during lockdown. They were also vehicles for fake news and disinformation (the darker side of social media).
During the strictest months of lockdown there was a clear tailoring of content and social media strategy by brands and businesses, with a focus on consumer wellbeing. Happiness, calm, nostalgia, and connectivity were all used to boost morale, and create a more personal brand-consumer relationship. It is as if the dialogue between the customer and the business has softened and humanised. This is probably because people are no longer able to build relationships through physical dialogue. Other ways have had to be found to develop relationships with your client base. People who have previously experienced face to face meetings, have found themselves Zooming. Where nuance is lost, brand strategy has become so important in filling some of these gaps. There was a clear shift from commercial, to communal.
A study from Google on first impressions of a website, claims that it takes 50 milliseconds to form an opinion of a website design. In a previous post we explored how logo design can make or break a product, company or individual. This exemplifies the importance of brands and businesses being social media savvy when it comes to getting spotted, and remembered. During a period of such uncertainty, the most successful social media campaigns have emphasised solidarity, offering comfort and reassurance to consumers.
Why is this relevant to web design? For many businesses, a social media presence is as important as its website. With so many people working remotely, web design and social media is more significant than ever in terms of creating new business and revenue. The majority of communication, and relationship building is from behind a screen. So, first impressions matter. Lockdown has revealed the importance and interconnected relationship between brand strategy and social media presence.
Having a sea of disposable knowledge at your fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. There is often so much information to take in and process, it can be overwhelming in its magnitude. Therefore, it is so important to stand out from the crowd. Social media, with all its positive and negative features, will continue to play a vital role in business. Lockdown has catalysed the shift from physical to technical; office to front room; meetings to Zoom. It has also resulted in many businesses showing the human side behind their brand. By emphasising to the consumer that we have all experienced the whirlwind that has been 2020 together, are companies going to continue to use social media as a tool to build more personal relationships with consumers?