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How the Pandemic Changed Social Media: 6 Quarantine Trends Here to Stay

The pandemic has shifted a lot of industries, including social media itself. In this article,

We will examine the shifts that have taken place.

Knowing these shifts can really impact your marketing strategy and your use of social media post-pandemic.

Due to the constant lock-downs, travel restrictions, and rules, so many of us found ourselves lonely. So we sought community and connection using social media.

It became our little refuge to connect virtually and post relatable authentic content.

Now let’s explore 6 trends that came up due to this shift:

1. Quarantine increased time spent on social media, as well as social users worldwide.

Between 2019 to 2021, the amount of social media users worldwide increased by 11% — from roughly 3.4 billion in 2019 to 3.78 billion in 2021. In fact, we saw a 5% jump in global users from 2019 to 2020 alone. Boredom was at an all-time high with recreational activities outside restricted. Consider, for instance, the sudden popularity of bread baking in March, or the random challenges across social apps, like the "flip the switch" challenge that exploded on TikTok in 2020.

2. Quarantine impacted video consumption.

2020 was an impressive year for video. In fact, media uploads increased by a staggering 80% year-over-year — peaking at 103,603 video uploads on April 22.

The pandemic greatly impacted how quickly video rose in popularity. It's now the most popular type of content and has been for two years in a row. In particular, TikTok, the popular short-form video platform, saw exponential growth as a result of the pandemic.

This can be attributed, in large part, to the authenticity of the content produced on TikTok.

If your business hasn't considered it already, 2022 is a good time to test out new types of short-form video content to see how it resonates with your audience.

3. The pandemic impacted the best times to post on social media.

Nowadays, many people work from home and have chosen remote work as their preferred lifestyle moving forward.

Suffice to say, the pandemic permanently shifted people's work schedules.

For instance, Sprout Social found the new best times to post on Facebook are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10–11 a.m.; Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 2 p.m. are the best times to post on Instagram.

And currently, the best times to post on LinkedIn are Wednesday at 3 p.m, Thursday at 9–10 a.m., and Friday from 11 a.m.-noon.

In 2022, you'll want to conduct your own tests to determine which times are most popular with your audience — and on which channels.

4. The pandemic impacted the most popular types of content.

During the stress and uncertainty of quarantine and the beginning of the pandemic, many turned to social media to escape the real world. This is why fun, lighthearted types of content won out.

In fact, in 2020, roughly half (42%) of Gen Zers said they wanted content described as fun — which surpassed Gen Zers' interest in romantic content (29%) and exciting content (27%).

it's vital your team focuses on creating more authentic, behind-the-scenes content in 2022. In fact, many of you already plan to — HubSpot's Blog Research found 79% of B2B and 54% of B2C plan on increasing investments in authentic/behind the scenes content in 2022.

5. Quarantine sped up influencer marketing's popularity.

Influencer marketing grew exponentially as a result of the pandemic.

The influencer marketing industry went from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020 — a staggering 470% increase — and is expected to jump to $13.8 billion in 2021.

Leimgruber told me, "The pandemic boosted the creator economy into the spotlight. Millions of new creators joined the scene, and many found new ways to earn and support their craft. This extra attention on social media allowed influencers to earn money and turn a hobby into a profession."

Influencer campaigns increased by 37% between Q2 and Q3 of 2020, and rose by an additional 34% between Q3 and Q4.

And influencer marketing's popularity isn't slowing down. In 2021, sponsored content increased by almost 27%.

6. The pandemic increased the need for community — and new platforms are rising, as a result.

Being stuck at home made it difficult — if not impossible — to feel a sense of community.

Pre-pandemic, many people turned to the office, fitness classes, parks, or other public spaces to feel connected to a larger group.

Overnight, those were no longer an option.

In 2021, social media became the #1 channel used in marketing. It's vital you learn how to pivot with these trends to continue to see growth and success across platforms.

The good news? Social media users are craving authenticity now more than ever. So the more your brand can lean into its own uniqueness, the better.

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