“My screen time this week: 6 years” is just one of the memes doing the rounds that captures the new reality of time in lockdown perfectly.
We are all flocking to streaming services such as Netflix for entertainment, Zoom for work and socialising and watching more YouTube content.
Facebook too has seen a 20% rise in traffic in March on desktop and mobile, according to SimilarWeb.
20% is pretty huge when you let that sink in.
Searches for news and government sites as well as health-related information, restaurants and deliveries and e-commerce sites are also up.
We’re all dressed down with nowhere to go – but online.
So what changes have we been seeing?
Facebook is coming into its own again now, because of its functionality. The very thing that made Instagram a bit cooler and fresher – it’s streamlined style – now only highlights the usefulness of Facebook at a time like this.
Facebook is a very convenient central point for news, Live videos – how many of those have we watched lately?! – and for circulating positive or humorous Groups, Pages and memes that have sprung up to boost people’s spirits.
Where else would we have discovered the inspiring act of dressing up to put your bins out? Clocking over a million members to date, the Bin Isolation Outing Facebook Group is doing more for promoting Aussie tourism than any TV campaign ever has.
Creativity has also been spreading around the internet, and it’s been wonderful to witness.
We’re seeing innovation in the form of businesses offering new and much-needed services or products, entertainers and artists brightening up our (very long) days with expressions of their creativity, and people just being silly, loopy and fun.
The “at home” versions of highly produced TV shows have been comforting and wholesome. Daggy Tik Tok dancing has been equally enjoyable to watch, as people lean into the crazy. In some cases, people are opening up ideas, businesses or content they would have never normally considered, and it’s one of the genuine silver linings to all this tragedy and upheaval.
As people and businesses are letting their guard down, we’re seeing more honest stories being shared by business owners, appealing to communities for support; taking us behind the curtains. It’s no longer a crafted, Instagram authenticity: it’s stripped back and real, and it’s helping us to connect even more to brands and businesses.
Sometimes it’s glitchy or unrehearsed or imperfect – and we’ve found out that that’s ok, and people don’t mind.
We often hear marketers urging brands and businesses to act more human: now we’re seeing examples of that everywhere. Even Jacinda Ardern has been posting Lives from her couch in her trackies; speaking to her constituents more like friends. It’s utterly refreshing.
Here are 4 tips for businesses to get on board with social media in the current changing times.
1 – Stay Active
Even if your business has closed or changed, keep people updated and don’t be afraid to try and connect to new people. It’s a great time to show who you are with more regular posts.
Stopping posting right now is akin to dropping off the edge of the earth. Remind people you’re still alive and kicking, and think ahead to your glorious rebirth, if you have had to close. People will be so invested in watching those stories of re-emergence!
2 – Get Creative
This is the perfect time to try something, imperfectly. Have a go at an idea you’ve always had but lacked the time or courage to execute. Release the pent-up crazies and bask in the humanity of it all. Make people laugh. Show them who you really are. Take a risk!
3 – Launch that side hustle
It’s also a great time to launch a new idea.
A lot of the business Groups I’m in are full of posts asking for website and logo designers. If you have the time right now, for good or bad reasons, use it to cobble together at least the start of an idea. Test the (very bored, very online) market with questions or surveys. Have a crack at a basic landing page and see what happens. Go for it!
4 – Be real
For some, this might mean picking up your phone, turning the camera to face yourself and chatting with your audience in Instagram Stories. Yes it can be intimidating if you’re not used to that, but once you get a few responses, you realise you’re just connecting to others, and people like that. More than that, we need it right now.
I’ve seen bloggers cry, and people blog about the closure of their business, and share cooking fails with pride. We’re all in this together! We really are.
So as we collectively experience the highs and lows of this strange time together, remember that businesses and brands are made up of people too, and we all have a role to play in creating connection online.