COVID-19 has significantly increased the usage of social media

Alma Brdarić, Digital Account Manager, McCann Sarajevo

The period of COVID-19 is not behind us, and we feel that the „rope“ around the communication neck is loosening, so we have much more space to find creative and functional solutions.

The virus COVID-19 has brought to question many common marketing spheres, which was not the case with social media. Digital media usage has significantly increased since the pandemic start, regional web portals have been visited more and communication on social media has reached its peak. Clients pursued to stay in the mind of the consumers, maintain their presence and have a constant interaction with them. In a situation like that, we have tried to find best ways to use this situation to our advantage. We have analysed every segment of business with the aim to provide the clients with quality content through careful and reasonable manner of communication.

At that moment It was a challenge to adjust the way of communication, while the media were „bombing“ us with the statistics for the number of infected people and a message to stay at home. Therefore, following that direction, all the communication content has been adjusted to the pandemic, but we were very limited with appropriate photos or videos, so we created fun posts to communicate social responsibility. Communication was entirely directed to the spread of optimism and hope that the crisis will soon pass and the world would return to its normal life. Although it was difficult to adjust to the new circumstances at the beginning, it was also quite surprising how fast we adapted and showed that we can be just as efficient at home, as we are from our offices, providing quality solutions and meeting the needs and demands of our clients.

One of the most positive examples is the realization of the Tuborg campaign named “Are you open to challenge?” which had a very positive reaction from Instagram followers.  Tuborg BiH Instagram channel has increased for 500 organic followers in less than three weeks, and the average post reach was over 4000. Tuborg is a brand that usually supports young musicians from the region, and with this competition, it has provided a new encouragement to those who enjoy rap music. In addition, this campaign created a positive emotion, which motivated followers to join the challenge and enabled them to push their thoughts away from the difficult everyday life.

The majority of companies offered their customers an opportunity to shop from home and thus get used to online payment process. E-commerce has developed rapidly in all the countries of the region, while online transactions have increased in over 22% in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the last year. The percent of online shopping has also increased from 5% to 8% during the same period. That provided a chance from MasterCard to successfully implement many activities on social networks, communicating the simplicity of payments from the comfort of your home through card payments and the safety of contactless payment.

Social media have been flooded by the hashtags #ostanikodkuce (#stayathome) inviting followers to share photos and videos and contribute to raising the awareness of citizens, with the goal to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Podravka BiH has directed their communication towards the positive sides of being at home and, through posting motivating and inspiring recipes invited followers to share photos of their culinary successes on Facebook and Instagram, with the hashtag #kucisamikuham (#imcookingathome)

As very important segment in online communication of brands, influencers have been greatly endangered at the beginning of the crisis.  Some of them faced cancellation of cooperation, some had their campaigns moved, but what is most important is that, besides all the difficulties they encountered, they have not stopped creating content. Most successful brands have carefully chosen who represents them on Instagram, they do not value just the number of followers, but they also strive for the authenticity and focus of influencers on a specific target group, as well as the quality of the content they place and the engagement of their followers. How influencers will adjust their content, will also depend on the progress of the pandemic, but now is the right time for influencers to strengthen their community and to use their influence in a smart way.  

Currently, brands have turned to creating business strategies, various content which will be acceptable to the public, but also fun, useful and motivating.

With Instagram and Facebook, the public is especially interested in YouTube content.  . What they enjoy the most, besides fashion and beauty format is the preparation of the creative and healthy meals, exercise, meditation, home decoration… Live communication - IGTV, has also gained a very new dimension of the non-promoted video format with carefully created tutorials. TikTok, application of short videos whose popularity increased rapidly through the pandemic, has become the entertainment for all ages. Many have tried funny videos, dance videos and other TikTok challenges. This content allows TikTok users different way of action that animates and additionally encourages them to take creative action, leading to stronger brand recognition and online sales.

With the economic crisis coming to the big door, the brands will be very careful how they will manage their budgets, and at the side of online public, there certainly will not be any understanding for those who failed to hold attention and touch their hearts during the months of crisis.

What is inevitable is that this situation will permanently change the market. Starting with the fact that brands will realise the benefits of constant presence in the media, through the development of products and services, to the fact that companies also accept that digital transformation is a realistic possibility of the future business.

One is for sure, the period of coronavirus is not behind us, but we feel that "the rope" around the communication neck is loosening, so we have much more space to find creative and functional solutions for different content and topics which we want to share with our online audience.

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