Adapting Social Media Marketing Amidst the Pandemic

2020 has just started but it’s already an eerie world out there.

Coronavirus has spread across the globe, shaking up companies of all sizes and ushering us into a strange time. While the full economic repercussions still remain unclear, coronavirus pandemic is already precipitating its whipsaw effect on the digital marketing world

Social media platforms may have provided a means of communication between individuals and businesses but they’re not immune to the impact of the coronavirus. Usage traffic may have spiked but the real question is – is it translating to revenue?

Here’s how coronavirus has impacted major social media platforms:


Coronavirus is sending Facebook messaging app usage through the roof.

As the coronavirus pandemic has forced people from all over the world to stay at home, people have turned to Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger apps to stay connected.

In most affected countries hit by the coronavirus outbreak, Facebook messaging spiked up to more than 50% compared to the previous month. In Italy alone, the group calls jumped by more than 1,000%.

Daily calls on WhatsApp and Messenger are comparable to messaging traffic made during New Year’s Eve. It’s a clear uptick in usage activity and should be a good thing right?

But here comes the downside; Facebook does not monetise WhatsApp and Messenger, unlike its other core business Instagram. More importantly, many of the advertisers who contributed to Facebook’s more than 70 billion last year are comprised of small businesses at risk of the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a delicate position for Facebook, which is also immune to advertising pullback. According to Analytics Chief Alex Schultz and Engineering Chief Jay Parikh, the surge in usage activity is not translating to a boon to its bottom line.

In the short term, Facebook is expected to suffer a slump in its advertising revenue since they rely heavily on ads from small businesses.

As Mark Zuckerberg has said, “Our business is being adversely affected like so many others around the world. We don’t monetize many of the services where we’re seeing increased engagement, and we’ve seen a weakening in our ads business in countries taking aggressive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

It’s something Facebook, Zuckerberg and the rest of us had never seen before.


On March 23, Twitter has announced a 23% boost on the number of its active users but has significantly suffered an operating loss as the coronavirus outbreak crimped their advertising revenue.

Twitter may have been a vital platform during the time of isolation but just like Facebook, it is not immune to the crippling effect of coronavirus.

Over the last few weeks when it officially unfolded into a full-blown pandemic, conversations around the topic have caused a 23% increase on Twitter’s total monetisable daily active users or mDAU to 164 million daily users quarter-to-date.

Being an ad industry, Twitter is expected to take a hit from companies pulling their ad spending back due to their fear of recession. And because people are now put in isolation, it means in-person gatherings will not be allowed. In effect, advertising events have been cancelled which also affected Twitter’s potential ad revenues.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Twitter has had a very good start of the year including the notably successful Super Bowl campaigns.

What Should You Do To Adjust Your Social Media Marketing

Marketing in the age of coronavirus pandemic can feel like shouting in an empty space. Although the number of active users on social media has doubled up in the last days, most of the people aren’t there to buy or convert but purely to stay connected and click on coronavirus updates.

Pulling back on some of your ad spend is inevitable, especially ads that were targeted to drive conversions and tied to performance.

If your business is at risk of the coronavirus outbreak and is holding back on ad spending, how would you adjust your social media marketing on these platforms?

  • Start with social listening.

Without a question, there is a need to adjust your strategy on social media and social listening can be a great start for you. Get a pulse on what interests your audience to see what type of content is still relevant.

Dig deep into the discussions surrounding your business, your industry and your community to gain a better perspective. Through Facebook, Twitter and other applicable social media platforms, you can gather feedback and ideas by creating polls, starting up a live chat or asking questions.

This way, you can adjust and tailor your marketing strategies while still being considerate and valuable.

  • Pivot your social media content.

With business activities slowing down, it’s time to take a look at your social media content pieces you have going out. People stuck in their homes are now busy browsing on Facebook and Twitter looking for content with a thoughtful approach and added value. They want to be educated.

Consider changing your approach to creating content and adapt to the current situation. Keeping your brand identity, focus on content that resonates. The world needs interesting content right now and not ads that they don’t want to hear about.

  • Keep on blogging. It’s still one of the best ways to educate your audience and at the same time, to get found on the search engine results page. A blog can help you position your business when people are looking for services within your industry.
  • Create informative and inspiring videos. People are increasingly on board with video content even with coronavirus in the picture. Facebook, Instagram Live, YouTube are your top distribution platforms to posting timely videos that provide a more engaging experience.
  • Evaluate your tone and images. Think about the message your brand is sending in this time of crisis. If you have content images that include people touching or in a crowd, refrain from using those. Avoid using lines or phrases that could translate to close interaction such as ‘get closer to your customers’ and ‘let’s work hand-in-hand’.
  • Highlight how your brand can help.

As a brand, you exist to provide value. Now more than ever, you can emphasize your products and services that enhance people’s lives while on quarantine.

Be active on your social media pages by telling your brand story. What makes up your brand? Do your products and services provide something of value to your audience at home? Does it help them stay productive? Does it give them the means to still do their jobs even with the absence of face-to-face interaction?


The good news amidst all the chaos is that we are digitally connected today more than ever, thanks to the power of social media platforms. The likes of Facebook, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, and Twitter have made our quarantined lives less challenging than it really is.

While certain marketing strategies that have previously worked before the coronavirus are no longer relevant and are limited in other capacities, there’s still work to do. Sure, you may have to scale back on promotional ads on social media, but your marketing does not have to stop.

Prepare to adjust your social media marketing thoughtfully and proactively. Value first, then conversions.

Visit us at www.elephantintheboardroom.com.au for click-worthy marketing tips and advice.

We harness the power of technology to reimagine interactions between businesses and consumers. Pixel-perfect, cutting-edge websites, apps, software and campaigns that make an impact.








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