How COVID-19 Changed Social Media Engagement


Preface by the author Remco Livain – How COVID-19 changes engagement rates on social media

COVID-19 has changed our lives, possibly for good. One of the fundamental changes has been how we spend the time we have online, also engagement. It is no secret to anyone, that commuting times have been reduced and our days look a lot different.

Companies big and small, who depend on social media as their main source of communication, will be interested in the findings presented in this Sprout Social report.

How COVID-19 Has Changed Soocial Media Engagement | Sprout Social

What is Interesting to see is that there is a clear change in interactions on social media. The engagement rates have not only changed, but the timing of posts has to be altered.


What is the best time to post

Updates to Facebook times to post

While we previously found that Wednesday from 11 a.m. and 1–2 p.m. were the best times to post on Facebook, and Wednesday was a peak day overall, our updated review showed that activity was more consistently high throughout every weekday.

Currently, the best times to post on Facebook are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10–11 a.m. In fact, every day at 11 a.m. was a slight peak compared to the rest of the day.

Updates to Instagram times to post

Similar to Facebook, the number of peak times during the week expanded since our previous review for Instagram. Previously, Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.–11 a.m. were identified as the best times to post.

Now, we are seeing that out of an overall very busy span of weekday and working hours time, Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 2 p.m. are the best times to post on Instagram.

Updates to LinkedIn times to post

Since LinkedIn is a professionally-oriented network, it’s not surprising that behavior has remained largely similar. The best time to post did shift a little: moving from top times at Wednesday from 8–10 a.m. and noon, Thursday at 9 a.m. and 1–2 p.m., and Friday at 9 a.m. to current best times for LinkedIn of Wednesday at 3 p.m, Thursday at 9–10 a.m. and Friday from 11 a.m.-noon.

>> Note, these times refer to USA-times. As Chris rightfully pointed out in our Fireside Chat, most USA-social media posts suffer from a compromised posting time that suits both the east- and west coast, well. The key message is that the best posting times have changed and it is worth reviewing what CURRENTLY works best on your timezone and market. <<


Do brands and retailer post more during COVID-19

According to this Sprout Social analysis, the number of interactions have remained fairly stable across all platforms. That is, the number of posts made by brands have not changed significantly.

Most marketing- and communication teams continue to run their regular social media methods, during COVID-19 – neglecting the change in user behavior


Which social media channel should you focus on

The social media channel you use needs to suit your needs and resources. If you have not done much on social media so far, I would do the following; Focus on your customers and team strength and ask yourself:

  • Where can I reach my clients best?
  • What do I want to communicate?
  • Who on my team can do what – am I able to create video content or do I need to focus on text/imagery?


Fewer Direct Messages on Social Media

Furthermore it is remarkable to see that the number of Direct Messages decline. I did personally not see that coming. I had expected the number of service requests to have gone up, significantly during the Coronavirus.

This pandemic has not been easy on retailer and fulfillment agencies. Hence, I would have presumed the sheer number of complaints to have gone up.


Have customers become more compassionate?

Maybe the COVID-19 situation has made consumers think harder before writing a complaint to customer care teams. Whoever orders something online knows it might take a couple of days more to receive the goods.

Of course, this research only shows the interactions between brands and consumers, not the type of messages that have been send. I would therefore not jump to conclusions and state that customers have generally become more understanding and show compassion towards retailer.


Implications for social media teams

It is key to spend time analyzing when and where social media posts work best. User behavior has changed, and this will continue in the months to come.

As we return to our regular daily routines, the post and interaction impact will continue to develop. But, it could very well be that some customer have started to develop new habits and daily routines. As any good data-driven marketeer would do, have a thorough look at the data and adjust your actions accordingly.

If you need assistance to analyze your social media impact data, a social media audit by one of our marketing specialist can help. Reach out for a personal consultation.


Discussed in our Fireside Chat

In our daily Team Fireside Chats, we discuss trends in online marketing and digital retail. This topic came up in our Monday discussions. If you are interested in more insights – have a look at our video.

The content is in German – we are working on providing English captions in the near future.

Personal consultation
If you need help analysing social media data, a social media audit by one of our marketing specialists can help. Contact us for a personal consultation.