COVID’s impact on social media marketing—& what you can do about it

by | Jan 19, 2021 | Analysis, Covid-19, Public Relations

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every aspect of our lives, from the way people spend their time, search, find, and buy products, to the way businesses, brands, and marketers advertise and promote their products, or services.

In this article, you will learn some of the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on social media marketing, what you can do about them, and the reasons why it should be used to thrive through these trying times.

In addition, you will also discover examples of current brands that heavily rely on social media marketing, and how you can make use of some of their strategies today, so you can emerge stronger on the other side of the crisis.

Here are some of the major effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on social media marketing:

1. People are spending time online and using social media regularly

When people began spending more time at home, as a result of the pandemic, they also began using the internet more, which gave rise to an unexpected increase in social media engagement.

According to reports, 46 to 51 percent of American adults started using social media more since the outbreak began, and the average amount of time spent on mobile internet has risen by an hour more every day during the crisis.

As of today, it is reported that there are an estimated 3.23 billion, which is about 80 percent of the overall global number of internet users, who are using social media at least once every month in 2020. Facebook currently remains the leading social media platform used by users, followed by the likes of Instagram and TikTok.

2. More people are engaging with online ads

Because more people are spending more time on social media networks and mobile devices during the pandemic, they are also engaging more with online ads. One report indicates that the number of mobile internet users engaging with online ads has increased by 15 percent during the crisis.

According to another report, the numbers of social media impressions have increased year-on-year by 20 percent, which means that more social media users are seeing more ads. The report also adds that this is also a result of the rise of Story and video format ads.

3. More people are turning to social media influencers

In addition to the increase in social media usage, and ad engagement, the number of internet and mobile users turning to social media influencers and their content has also increased as a result of the pandemic.

Due to the physical restrictions, social media users are naturally inclined to seek interpersonal connections. One of the beneficiaries of this need is influencer content. One survey conducted by the Global Web Index discovered that more than 80 percent of consumers in the US and the UK say that they’ve consumed more content during COVID-19.

4. More people are shopping online

What’s more, there are now more people buying and shopping online, as a result of the pandemic, and social distancing rules. The current crisis has forced many to shop online from the safety and convenience of their own homes, and avoid waiting in lines, and crowded areas.

This, in turn, has caused an expansion of e-commerce with new customers and different types of products. According to a report, online sales grew by 15.1 percent, and on Cyber Monday 2020 alone, consumers spent a record of $10.8 billion, which broke previous online shopping records.

What can you do to weather the storm of the COVID crisis?

Here are some of the most important things you can do to adapt to the COVID-19 impact:

1. Take advantage of social media marketing

Since more people are spending more time on social media networks during the pandemic, they have become the perfect go-to places where you can advertise and promote your ideas, products, or services. Social media platforms and tools are also among the best when it comes to increasing a business’ brand awareness, attracting inbound traffic, improving customer satisfaction, and boosting conversion rates.

2. Make use of mobile ads and sponsored content ads

Because of the increase in the number of mobile internet usage, and ad engagement, around the world, now is the right time to take advantage of mobile advertising, and sponsored posts.

The best ways to create mobile ads that get more clicks is to write compelling content copy, make use of striking images and visuals, make your ads interactive, and more engaging, and test out multiple designs.

Another way to create compelling online ads is to make use of sponsored content ads that show up in news feeds on both desktop and mobile devices. You can use this type of online ads to get your content in front of a larger audience and showcase your brand expertise.

To increase your ad engagement, on Facebook, for example, focus on the quality of your posts, make your ads relevant to your audience, make sure they meet their needs, and also incorporate calls-to-action to let them know exactly what you want them to do.

3. Partner with social media influencers

Influencer marketing has proved itself to be enduring in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brand interest in social media influencers has witnessed an increase, as a result, which, in turn, created new opportunities for brands and marketers.

You can collaborate with influencers to effectively reach your audience, build trust for your brand and business, improve your brand awareness, enhance your content strategy, add value for your audience, and create stronger relationships.

4. Create video-centric posts and ads

Another great way to make use of social media marketing to drive your conversion rates is to use video-centric posts and ads. According to reports, incorporating videos into your ads could increase your conversions by a whopping 80 percent. When making videos, you might want to keep them short, but interesting, add lead captures, and utilize video testimonials.

Popular brands that rely heavily on social media marketing

  • PlayStation

One of the greatest examples of a brand that has managed to take social media marketing to its advantage is the legendary video game brand PlayStation. The brand currently has about more than 20.6 million Twitter followers to-date, witnessing about over 300 percent rise in following in the past five years.

Among the primary reasons why PlayStation is currently outperforming on Twitter is that it always tries to stay active with its followers, by regularly posting engaging content, with new gaming footage and streaming events, and being creative with its messaging.

With its #PlayAtHome initiative, PlayStation manages to incorporate the pandemic into the messaging by encouraging its followers to stay at home and download its games for free. According to some reports, the brand managed to get over 10 million downloads as a result.

In conclusion, the best way to increase engagement with your followers is to focus on the quality of your content, and messaging, and incorporate videos and creative visuals to attract your audience.

  • Nike

Another great example of a brand that knows what it’s doing when it comes to social media marketing is athletic apparel brand Nike. The brand is currently the largest sports brand in the world, and has about a whopping 123 million Instagram followers.

Although Nike has temporarily shut down some of its global physical stores during the beginning of the pandemic, the brand was able to boost up engagement with its audience using unique content marketing strategies, which offered expert tips and streaming workouts to its followers for free.

On top of that, another way Nike is boosting its engagement on Instagram is that it tries to strike the right balance with its response to the COVID-19 crisis. The brand cleverly uses emotional branding to keep its fans engaged by appealing directly to their emotional state and aspirations.

In its “Play for the World” campaign, Nike uses the phrase “Play inside, play for the world,” to inspire its followers to unite in the new normal. In other words, the best way to grow your social media following and engagement is to get creative with your brand and appeal to the needs of your audience.


There you have it! These are some of the major impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on social media marketing, and how you can take advantage of them to weather the storm of this economic crisis. In these unprecedented times, taking note and advantage of the shifts in behaviors of consumers can allow you to not only survive, but thrive in these trying times.

Manuel Fornillos
Manuel Fornillos is the Chief Content Officer of Startup Credo. Writing specialties include social media, digital marketing, technology, mobile applications and business.


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