How COVID-19 is Changing Social Media Usage and Platforms

Posted by Sarah Wai on Aug 24, 2020 8:15:00 AM

man on social media
This blog was originally posted on May 6, 2020 and is being updated consistently.

A lot is changing very rapidly in the social media landscape, as you've likely noticed. Because of "Stay at Home" or "Shelter in Place" orders, people across the world are increasingly online and that means that they are on social media more than ever before.

With all of the changes happening, it can be hard to keep up! So we've compiled what we know so far and we will continue to update this blog as we acquire more information. There's a lot to digest, so I recommend jumping to the sections that pertain to the social media platforms you are currently using or are interested in using.

Overall Social Media Changes Resulting from COVID-19

Engagements on posts have increased across (almost) all industries, but especially for healthcare, consumer goods, and the media and entertainment industries. People are craving social interaction, on top of being online more, and that is causing them to engage more than they used to.

The industries that have seen a dip in engagement are likely, at least partially, seeing a dip because they are posting less on social media with all that is going on. The industries seeing a dip in engagement are nonprofits, retail, and sports. Really no surprise there.

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What IS surprising is that Twitter engagement saw a huge dip across all industries. And Instagram saw a big increase in comments and messages. My theory for both of these stats is that people desire REAL engagement more than ever, and Instagram offers that in higher doses than Twitter does.

Ideal times to post have changed for most social media platforms as well, and I'll make sure to break those down in the following sections.

Breaking Down the Changes by Platform

Since there are so many changes taking place, I thought it would be easiest to break down by platform. This makes it easier for you to skim to the information you will find most valuable.

Changes on LinkedIn

New best times to post:

  • Wednesdays at 3 pm
  • Thursdays 9-10 am
  • Fridays 11 am to Noon

Updates as of August 24th:

  • LinkedIn has announced some new additions to its Sales Navigator platform, as it works to provide more solutions to help businesspeople increasingly working remote, and unable to hold regular face-to-face meetings with clients.

Updates as of July 7th:

  • LinkedIn company page analytics have received an upgrade, with company pages now having the ability to see who their followers are rather than an arbitrary number.
  • LinkedIn is now limiting the number of times admins can invite people to like their page to 100/mo to limit spammy invites.

Updates as of June 10th: 

Updates as of June 2nd:

Updates as of May 19th:

Updates as of May 12th:

Updates as of May 6th:

Changes on Facebook

New best times to post:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 10-11 am
  • Avoid any time after 5 pm any day of the week

Updates as of August 24th:

Updates as of July 7th: 

  • Facebook released their Holiday Insights for Marketers this week! This is a great resource to plan ahead for marketing your products or services during the holidays this year in the midst of a pandemic.

Updates as of June 24th:

Updates as of June 10th:

Updates as of June 2nd:

Updates as of May 26th:

Updates as of May 19th:

Updates as of May 12th:

Updates as of May 6th:

Changes on Instagram

New best times to post:

  • Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 11 am
  • Tuesday at 2 pm

Updates as of June 19th:

Updates as of June 2nd:

Updates as of May 26th:

Updates as of May 19th:

Updates as of May 6th:

  • Posts/links to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and local health authorities will be highlighted every time someone clicks on hashtags related to COVID-19 in an effort to curb misinformation.
  • Instagram is also taking measures to prevent misinformation by blocking certain hashtags, posts, and any potentially misleading information.

Changes on Twitter

New best times to post:

  • Fridays 7-9 am (with 9 am showing peak activity)

Updates as of June 19th:

Updates as of June 10:

Updates as of June 2nd:

Updates as of May 26th:

Updates as of May 12th:

Updates as of May 6th:

  • In an effort to catch up with other top social media platforms, Twitter is launching a new stories feature called "Fleets" (get it… because they're fleeting?). They can't be retweeted, liked, or publicly replied to, and (like other social platforms) they will disappear after 24 hours.

Changes on WhatsApp

Updates as of May 6th:

  • WhatsApp has launched a new COVID-19 fact-checker bot to help reduce the spread of misinformation
  • WhatsApp group calls now allow up to 8 participants, doubling the capacity it previously had in an effort to encourage connectivity
  • In an effort to reduce the spread of misinformation, WhatsApp is limiting message forwarding (previously unlimited). They are restricting messages that have been sent through a chain of five or more people, and you can now only forward a message to one person (so choose wisely).

Changes on YouTube

Updates as of June 19th: 

Updates as of June 2:

Updates as of May 19th:

Updates as of May 12th:

Updates as of May 6th:

  • In an effort to reduce network strain throughout the world, YouTube has decided to reduce its default streaming quality. To stream in HD, you now have to select to do so.

Changes on Snapchat

Updates as of August 24th:

  • Snapchat is testing a feature that would allow users to share Snapchat content that is not their own off of the platform, a potentially great win for businesses.

Updates as of June 19th:

Updates as of May 19th:

Updates as of May 6th:

  • Snapchat is launching a new mental health resource center called "Here for You" on their platform. This feature will provide people with relevant updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC, Crisis Text Line, NHS, and other similar partners, links to relevant resources, and exercises to help people cope with anxiety and stress they may be battling.

Changes on TikTok

Updates as of August 24th:

  • TikTok has announced the full launch of the ability to control TikTok via Alexa voice activation on equipped mobile devices.

Updates as of June 19th:

Updates as of June 2nd:

  • TikTok has announced a new #LearnOnTikTok program, which will see it fund a range of educational videos in order to help facilitate learning during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Updates as of May 12th:

Updates as of May 6th:
  • TikTok added 13 million monthly active users between January and March of this year- equating to 45% growth, year-over-year.

Changes on Pinterest

Updates as of June 2nd:

  • Pinterest has continued its shift towards becoming a full eCommerce platform, with the addition of a new 'Shop' tab within its Lens visual search results.

Updates as of May 12th:

Stay Up-to-Date on How COVID-19 is Changing Social Media

We'll be updating this post weekly, so we recommend bookmarking it and checking back frequently to get the latest updates! We plan to keep updating you until there's nothing new to say, and that may be for a long time yet.

Sarah Wai

Written by Sarah Wai

Content and Email Marketing Specialist of Tribute Media. B.S. in Media Communications. Certified in Hubspot, Inbound Marketing, Contextual Marketing, and Email Marketing.

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