3 powerful ways brands used social media during the pandemic

Published on: March 04, 2021

The pandemic has us all glued to our phones and social media. The trends of the preceding few years of digital detoxes and unplugging have been completely reversed over the course of the last year. 43% of social media users say they’re spending longer on social platforms due to the pandemic.

For brands it's essential that you're sensitive to this context when creating for social media at the moment. But it also presents an opportunity to engage with your audience in new and more meaningful ways. Show your support and help keep your audience informed, safe and entertained in these trying times. 

Below we’ve outlined some powerful examples of brands who've successfully hit the right tone with their social media content this past year.  

1. Cultural movements and current events

It’s rumored the phrase “doomscrolling” will soon be in the dictionary. A telling testament to how we’ve all spent our time during the pandemic. We are increasingly turning to social media to stay up to date.

Keeping up to date with news and current events is most people’s top reason for using social media. All except Gen Z, whose top reason was entertainment, although 34% use it for news as well. 

Brands can no longer afford to stay silent on big cultural issues and movements. They need to show public support and own up to any failings whether that be in terms of systemic racism or contributing to the climate crisis. Now's the time to show you will be stood on the right side of history.

In a sea of generic and bland statements, Ben & Jerry’s social media posts stood out as bold and direct after the murder of George Floyd: 

The brand has long been champions of social causes, including equal marriage rights and climate activism. 

2. Promoting wellbeing

Before the pandemic social media was being scrutinized for its negative impact on people’s mental health. In 2019 research found that 23% in the US and 29% in the UK felt social media had a negative impact on their mental health. 

However, once the pandemic hit and we were all confined to our houses social media has become a lifeline to stay connected with those outside our four walls. 

The need to detox completely flipped with consumers saying social media has helped them feel less lonely (57% in the US & UK). With just under half saying it has helped alleviate stress and anxiety.

Jansport’s #LightenTheLoad campaign is an example how brands can sensitively tap into the mood of their audiences and offer meaningful support.


3. User generated content

Thanks in large part to the explosion of TikTok we have seen a huge increase of video content creators. Often associated with Gen Z, we are now seeing more diverse audiences creating and sharing video. 22% of parents with young children create and upload more videos because of the outbreak. 

It's a great time to engage in a two-way conversation with your audience by encouraging user generated content. Think about how your products or services might be helping people stuck at home, whether that’s health related or simply entertainment! 

Doritos asked “anyone feeling stuck at home” to create a video including Doritos for the chance to win $10,000 and have their video aired during the first Saturday Night Football game of the season.


There you have it, three very different but powerful ways to use social media to help both your audience and your brand through this pandemic. 

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