Emerging Social Media Trends During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Words by NJI
Published June 8, 2020
Last Updated July 10, 2024

In the past four months, our daily routines have dramatically shifted, resulting in new modes of digital communication, remote working, and the cancellation of major events. This new normal has not only altered how and when we use technology, but also the kind of content we gravitate toward.

This holds especially true for social media. Read on to see the emerging social trends that will interest, engage, and resonate with your followers, along with the best time to post content.

Emerging Trends

Trends to add to your social media plan to connect with your audience during this global pandemic.

Acknowledge COVID-19

Consumers want companies and organizations to talk about the initiatives they are implementing in the wake of the pandemic. Rather than steer away from the subject, show how your team has adapted and what efforts you are taking within the larger community. These posts resonate with followers and will give them insight that they can actually use in their daily lives.

Budweiser #OneTeam

Budweiser posted a short video on YouTube addressing COVID-19 while still promoting their brand. They used the hashtag #OneTeam which displays support for all of the heroes working together to fight the pandemic. Budweiser also addressed that they will be relocating their sports marketing funds to help companies and workers on the front lines.

Cultivate Human Connection

People are now using social media as a way to foster a renewed sense of community—making social media social again, with less emphasis on brand promotion. Social media has become much more raw and unplanned because of this, making live feeds a perfect fit for organizations to use.

Live Feeds

In order to create this live connection people are using apps like Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts to have one-on-one conversations. Companies can mimic this by using live feed features on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube to connect with their audiences. These live feeds often have Q&A elements that can directly engage your audience. We recommend tapping into the live feed features to showcase company initiatives to fight the pandemic, educational videos, or virtual interviews.

Popular Platforms

The change in content has resulted in different apps rising in popularity, especially when entertainment is offered as a distraction to social media users.


Before the coronavirus pandemic, TikTok was seen as a Gen-Z hub, where the younger generation posted funny dancing videos. However, in February 2020 alone, there were 113 million downloads of the app, resulting in 800 million active users. TikTok is also the #1 rated entertainment app available on the iOS App Store.

With that increase, we’ve also seen a shift in the demographics using the app. 28.8 million US adults (ages 18+) currently use the video-sharing app. This is compared to roughly 14.2 million who used the app in March 2019. TikTok has rapidly emerged as a powerful tool for targeting every age range.

Leveraging TikTok for Your Brand Needs

Posting creative yet educational content to target the younger generation can be a great tool when trying to increase your brand awareness. A great way to promote your organization on TikTok is to partner with a famous TikToker. TikTokers have millions of followers and they usually start hashtag trends that companies can use to increase traffic to their profile. By leveraging current hashtag and video trends, your content has a better chance of being published to the “For You” page, an area that uses complex algorithms to target users with similar interests. Being posted on this page often leads to videos becoming viral, resulting in millions of likes and comments.

For companies with an older demographic of consumers, TikTok can be beneficial to you by expanding your usual social media plan. Older consumers often use social platforms as an informational resource. By posting quick interviews, informative tutorials, recent news, and health facts, companies can target the older demographic by connecting them to relevant and accurate news.

World Health Organization

Like many social platforms, TikTok has adapted the blue checkmark we’ve all grown to recognize. This symbolizes that yes, this IS the official account for the organization or person. The World Health Organization is an example of a verified account, and currently has 2.4 million followers on the platform. The WHO engages members of the platform by uploading interview clips, animated videos, and even participated in the #SafeHandsChallenge, which highlighted how to properly clean your hands and encouraged others to do so.

Connected TV

There has been a rise in TV consumption, especially subscription services that are played on Smart TV’s such as Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire. Some of the most popular internet-based channels are HBO, Hulu, Starz, and Amazon Prime, all of which include advertisement listings. Advertising on these platforms will be beneficial because streaming services will be used even after the COVID-19 pandemic lessens.

For companies that focus on highly specific demographics, Connected TV has the capability to target specific audiences using first-party data. By leveraging IP and third-party targeting, Connected TV is able to show different ads to viewers streaming the same content. These ads are played pre-roll and mid-roll, requiring the user to watch the ad in order to continue the video, making view rates much longer for both 15- and 30-second ads. View rates tend to be longer because they can’t skip the ads and they are played during specific TV shows selected by the user.

Details & Statistics

Optimal Posting Times

Social media usage has shifted as more aspects of life and work move to online, changing when we frequent social platforms the most. Overall, there has been an increase in social media usage throughout the day, especially during 9-5 working hours. After the workday ends, there has been a decrease in social media use because of home and family needs.

An infographic depicting optimal posting times for four social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn). It shows pre-COVID optimal times as 11am for all platforms except Twitter, which is 9am. Post-COVID recommendations include Monday, Tuesday, and Friday for most.

Along with the change in optimal posting time, social media users are engaging with content more. In April 2020 there was an “increase on average by 44 engagements per day across all networks and industries.” Brands that post content that speaks directly to the needs of consumers tend to see higher engagement across the board.

Clients Adopting the Emerging Trends

Take a look at a few of NJI’s clients who have adopted some of the emerging trends listed above.

The Home Depot – Acknowledge COVID-19

In April The Home Depot asked for NJI Media’s help creating social media graphics showcasing how they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. By using their iconic font and coloring the graphics turned out to be both educational and informative all while maintaining their brand image. The graphics acknowledge that The Home Depot is supporting their workers and communities, resulting in a trusting relationship between their customers and workers.

National Beer Wholesalers Association – Acknowledge COVID-19

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) wanted to address how their distributor members are giving back to communities during this crisis. They asked NJI Media to create a gif using the hashtag #DeliveringMore. In this gif, we showed a moving semi-truck distributing Personal Protective Equipment and hand sanitizer to those in need. By using their main transportation equipment in the graphic we stayed true to what NBWA does while showing that their distributor members are keeping the supply chains afloat across America.

The Institute for Energy Research – Live Feeds

The Institute for Energy Research recently used Facebook Live to connect with their audience during the COVID-19 pandemic. They streamed a documentary and then held a Q&A afterward to discuss the video with their audience. Before their pre-scheduled watch party, ads were used to promote the event which reached 660,100 people attributing to 6,500 page views and 5,300 responses.

By utilizing these emerging social media trends businesses may find that higher engagement follows. If brands put their focus on supporting others and posting educational content, then they will earn loyal followers that are truly interested in the company’s values and beliefs.

Statistics courtesy of sproutsocial.com.