Social media: how corporate communication changed during the Covid-19 emergency

Social media: how corporate communication changed during the Covid-19 emergency

10 July 2021 Off By Oscar Giacomin

The emergency represented by the pandemic upended the daily routine and habits of many people. Our only windows on the outside world were the displays of our electronic devices, and digital communication became the only way to stay in touch with each other. Accordingly, since the beginning of the lockdown there was an increase in the amount of time spent online, but the kind of media and digital contents chosen and used by Italian people varied also according to each person’s generation. For instance, while Generation Z and Millennials preferred online videos and streaming services, Generation X and Baby Boomers chose traditional medias like television.

It appears evident that the amount of time spent online has increased since the beginning of the lockdown. Suffice it to say that the time Italian people spent on Twitter apps has increased by 70% since the beginning of the pandemic. The Digital 2021 survey, by We are social, Hootsuite e Kepios and focusing on the time of the pandemic, can be summed up in five points:

a significant increase in digital activities, especially in those countries that underwent a lockdown due to the coronavirus;

  1. a sizable growth in the use of social networks, and namely of video calls;
  2. a widening of online shopping, especially in the food industry;
  3. more time spent playing video games and e-sports;
  4. new opportunities for digital investors.

According to the latest data obtained after the pandemic, in Europe the use of Messenger for multi-party video calls grew by 1000%; also tremendously on the rise is the use of Facebook (+70%), Youtube (+ 82%) and video conference tools (+98%). 

This stronger relation with technology that was fostered by the virus may continue after the end of the emergency. One person in five said that they have got used to consuming streaming content and that they intend to keep up this habit in the future. One person in seven said that they will keep dedicating to social networks the same amount of time that they do now, even when daily life will go back to normal.

Over the past few months, many companies and businesses stalled in terms of production and had to rethink their communication plan, not interrupting their presence on social media but adopting new contents and new tones of voice. The goal wasn’t to promote their activity, but to offer leadership, support, a chance to establish significant connections. Here are the four strategies used by business for good and effective communication on social networks in the time of coronavirus:

1. The tone of voice used to communicate with the community has been adapted to the situation of emergency. Brands that were used to displaying an ironic tone of voice pivoted to more serious communication, because people were not appreciating campaigns that were too cheerful or filled with humor. This doesn’t mean that brands only used serious or tragic tones, but they at least avoided making jokes at a time when people were, and still are, living in an emergency context. Moreover, the situation is continuously evolving. The winning strategy was using an approach meant to promote a sense of community and positivity.

2. Many brands have offered their specific skills and have used social media as an educational channel, publishing posts on relevant subjects, contents that allowed viewers to get to know the company’s resources, and communication activities that offered a way to keep in touch.

3. Another approach that was used was real time marketing, i.e. creating content on trending topics: this is always a good strategy for corporate communication on social media, but at times it is hard to follow, when there is a lot of information and many events making the rounds. Covid-19 slowed down discussion on other topics on social media, because it became the one focus of discussion online. Some brands were able to seize that opportunity and used real time marketing to create an effective and consistent communication strategy, with a sensitive tone of voice, while keeping true to their identity.

4. Among communication strategies, creativity is always one of the most useful weapons. With people spending more time online, they were exposed to a higher number of brands and campaigns. So, to give their social communication more visibility, many companies had to reinvent their strategy from one day to the next: it’s what was done by some brands in the travel industry, who invited their followers to “do things from the couch in their own home,”, for instance by traveling with their imagination.


Oscar Giacomin  / General Manager, Facto Edizioni

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