Mid-COVID-19 Update: Surge In Social Media Usage And Ecommerce Buying
Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with nationwide closures of restaurants and public avenues has led to a spike in social media usage. A survey shows that 28% of the Australian population spent most of their time on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
This surge in social media usage, combined with the uncertainty of the global economy, will have a significant impact on brands. They now have an unprecedented number of opportunities to connect with an audience that is eager for content, information, and online social experiences.
However, as social media becomes prevalent, competition among businesses will also increase further. That’s why now is the time to try and stand out from the crowd.
The eCommerce industry can also greatly benefit from the lockdown by tweaking its marketing strategy and messaging. People are afraid to leave their homes, and they are compelled to shop for all their needs via online stores ensuring minimal contact with others.
Brands can act on these opportunities to increase their overall value and communicate with the customers in a sensitive and empathetic way.
Impact Of Social Media Usage On Businesses
The pandemic has had a considerable effect on the social media strategy and performance of brands.
The demand for paid ads on Facebook has lowered considerably, making organic content more critical for businesses that want to save money while increasing their reach and brand awareness.
Leverage the following elements to promote your brand in times when social media usage is at an all-time high:
Social media platforms are experiencing an upsurge in engagement rates as people are confined to their houses. This spike in engagement rates is due to a decrease in posting frequency across almost every industry.
When it comes to the effect of Coronavirus on engagement rates across three major social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we can see that more businesses are experiencing higher engagement rates.
Industries like alcohol, food & beverages, and higher education are witnessing a significant spike on Instagram. On the other hand, Facebook is showing similar numbers for all these industries, including financial services brands, as users try to determine the stock market. Twitter is also experiencing a surge as more people are turning to this channel for updates and connecting with their favourite brands.
Decreased Cost Per Click Rates
Facebook has decreased its cost per click, making it easier for anyone to advertise despite a limited budget. This is a possible opportunity for businesses to relay their brand message to a broader audience than they usually could before the pandemic hit.
This decline in CPC has been seen all over the world following the spread of Coronavirus, but as businesses start to take off again in some regions, the CPC might begin to rise again.
Decline In Click-Through Rate
People are no longer interested in buying non-essential items, putting off all such purchases for the future when the global economic conditions are much better.
This has significantly decreased the CTR for many online businesses. People are more interested in genuine organic content instead of paid promotions. This is an opportunity for companies to create and push more organic material as it is perceived as more reliable during this time.
However, CTR has started to recover in areas where the lockdown is lifting off, and businesses are resuming with their everyday operations.
Strategies To Leverage Increased Social Media Usage For Brand Promotion
Businesses can benefit from the increased usage of social media in the following ways:
Create Relevant Content
Firstly, cancel all your scheduled social media posts. This is not the right time to push sales, promotions, or deals for new services and events. None of that benefits people who are in lockdown, and you may just end up making your audience angry about their circumstances.
Secondly, you must track the social media platforms for the latest trends that other businesses are following and adapt your messaging accordingly. Gather insights and create content that is suitable for that particular time. It must help in building deeper connections with your customers.
Customers can only look towards your brand if you communicate with them during this crisis. Let your customers know what steps you are taking to ensure the health and job safety of your employees, and if your work environment is clean and safe.
Also, remain in contact with them through the dissemination of relevant information about your business niche and how it is being affected by the pandemic.
Support Your Community
Social distancing has presented us with plenty of free time at our disposal.
Offer educational and informative content that supports the customer’s curiosity and personal development, while giving them the opportunity to put all their time to good use. You can create virtual events and webinars that can be seen by an increased number of people who are using social media.
Also, by collaborating with influencers and advocates, you can get interactive content that can be highlighted through chats, webinars, live videos, and social stories that appeal to your audience.
Impact Of Coronavirus On Ecommerce Businesses
Australian consumers are stockpiling grocery and medical items as COVID-19 becomes a global pandemic, and people are forced to stay in isolation.
According to Nielsen, Australian online grocery sales have increased by more than 45% as consumers look for variants to avoid large crowds. This has given way to a massive shift in consumer behaviour where people are resorting to online stores due to the shortage of goods in brick and mortar stores.
MerchantSpring, which is an Australian marketplace consultancy, reports a growth of 300% to 400% for some categories in the online sales channels.
It is difficult to determine the full impact of Coronavirus on online growth rates, but the results will not be consistent. The growth rate will depend on the niche, customer behaviour, and how much longer people will have to distance themselves socially.
Some eCommerce niches are seeing a significant surge in revenue which includes:
After the lockdown was implemented, the resulting panic led to a shortage of goods at the local grocery stores due to which people turned to online stores.
Health And Safety Products
These products are being produced and restocked at an alarming rate as they are being purchased faster by people to protect themselves from the virus.
Food And Beverage
To avoid crowds at the supermarkets, people have resorted to online stores that provide delivery options. People are choosing to buy these items from online stores more than they did before the lockdown.
Moreover, one of the trends that we see in eCommerce is the diversification of online stores. Businesses are trying to pivot and adjust to the needs of their consumers while staying relevant in today’s competitive landscape.
Some eCommerce sellers are adding sanitisers and other medical supplies to meet demands while others are changing their delivery models.
Adapting Your Ecommerce Store
To adapt your store amid Coronavirus and its impact on business and society, here are some of our tips that you can follow.
Analyse Customer’s Needs
You need to think about your ideal customers and determine their current situation and particular needs or concerns. Once you understand what they require, you can quickly assess your readiness to meet them. For that, you will have to consider what you currently possess in your inventory, or you can diversify your online store to sell products that they demand.
Shift Focus Towards At-Home Audience
Since the consumers are isolated at their houses, you can shift your strategy to serve their needs in these rapidly changing stressful times. Some stores have begun stocking on items that are more relevant to people’s lifestyles today.
Update Your Online Product Pages
This is the most critical time to communicate with your customers about any changes in services. Due to Coronavirus, you might face some supply chain disruptions.
If that happens, you must keep your product pages updated so that your customers know what to expect. You need to develop and maintain transparency about your services and provide as much information as you can about any delays in product shipping or restocking.
Create A Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs can be the best way of recapturing your existing customers and appreciating their loyalty to your store.
As customers are spending most of their time online, rewarding them for buying from your eCommerce store can be the perfect wat to keep them coming back.
You can promote customer satisfaction by a loyalty program that offers exclusive discounts to customers when they achieve a certain number of points from shopping with you.
Provide Special Offers
As businesses shut down all over the world, the resulting economic uncertainty and employee lay-offs have made shoppers more price-sensitive.
It could be the perfect opportunity for you to offer special discounts on your services and products. Discounts can also be a good way of attracting shoppers if your store is not witnessing increased traffic.
As people remain confined to their homes, there is a significant surge in social media content creation and usage. With the right strategies and a quick response to the changing environment, brands can adjust their campaigns to align with the surge in social media consumption.
Moreover, eCommerce businesses need to react in real-time to the changing information and situation all around the world. It is necessary to make adjustments in response to changes in consumer behaviours while also preparing for the return to normal beforehand.
Has COVID-19 (Coronavirus) increased or decreased advertising costs on social media?
Facebook’s first quarter financial reporting for 2020 revealed significant impact from COVID-19. “We experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks of the first quarter of 2020,”
How has COVID-19 changed shopping behaviour?
During the earliest stages of the lockdown in March 2020 customers started to turn to online shopping for necessities they would normally shop for in-store as they looked at tightening their budgets and spending long periods of time at home.
As we near the end of April, as people are getting used to spending longer periods of time at home, they are moving past the necessity phase and are expanding to at other categories such as entertainment, hardware, toys and games. They are also beginning to exhibit a change in priority from necessity to availability with their online shopping behaviours.