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How Quarantine has Impacted the Way People Engage with Brands + The Newest Online Shopping Collab

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How Quarantine has Impacted the Way People Engage with Brands + The Newest Online Shopping Collab

Last Updated on July 22, 2022 by JSMM Team

Since quarantine, the use of social media has influenced many people to discover, shop and engage with new brands. According to an article by We Are Social, there were 3.80 billion social media users in January 2020 and that number increased by more than 9%, meaning there were 321 million new social media users since the beginning of quarantine. 

Social media platforms were quite literally at our fingertips throughout the lockdown, which heavily impacted individuals to scroll through TikTok for hours or online shop until their eyes got heavy. 

According to Valerie Jennings, CEO of Jennings Social Media & MarTech (JSMM), not only did shopping behaviors change but so did buyer personas. “What brands thought they knew about their customers before the pandemic is almost irrelevant now. We encouraged our clients to engage in third-party research to audit their new buyer personas for advertising purposes. Age demographics, interests and locations changed and personalized messaging became a key focus.”

Valerie added, “The role of the marketer has also changed. A recent survey noted that marketers are more valuable than ever because of the heavy lifting they did during the pandemic and continue to do. Many brands reset their messaging and priorities changed from talking about sustainable issues to just surviving in the new normal. Now the pendulum is swinging back the other direction and media investments are up and we are seeing a focus on profits again.”

Continue reading to see how quarantine impacted people’s lives through social media, plus the newest collaboration we have been waiting for!

The Impact

As we all know, social media, shopping and TikTok trends are constantly running through our minds each day. During quarantine, everyone was constantly scrolling through multiple social media platforms or spending most of their days watching movies and TV shows on a streaming service, but as much as everyone loved being on social media during quarantine, many people were also engaging with new brands as well.

According to Marketing Dive, discovering new brands while shopping during quarantine indicated that brands had the opportunity to acquire new consumers “who have become more adventurous out of necessity during the pandemic.” Since most companies around the world went through product shortages, shoppers were more willing to try new brands and look online for items they couldn’t find in stores. According to McKinsey & Company, since the pandemic, “75% of U.S. consumers have changed their shopping behaviors because of economic pressure, stores closing or changed priorities, and 36% have tried a new brand. Among those people who tried new brands, 73% planned to include them in their shopping.”

According to Vogue Business, “through effective messaging and communication, brands can increase their role in consumers’ lives and maintain a positive relationship beyond the short term.” Even though quarantine seemed like an eternity, many businesses’ social media accounts made improvements to their accounts by making them easier to look at and more relatable towards their audiences. During quarantine, social media wanted to keep their followers in the loop by starting live videos to interact with their followers and posting the latest, trending TikTok trend.

According to a recent report, here are three ways that their brand stayed connected with their customers through social media during the pandemic:

  • Created spaces to connect amid social distancing by being creative with an online presence.
  • Engaged followers with fun, viral challenges on Instagram.
  • Home was the new background by creating quality content using traditional methods for customers to enjoy.

Consumers are now looking for more authentic, personalized, and increasingly sincere experiences through social media.

  • Authentic: According to Sendible, “channeling authenticity through your brands’ social media presence is important for increasing sales and showing return on investment. The better the connection that brands can foster with prospective clients on social media, the more likely they are to engage with their content and purchase their product.”
  • Personalized: Emplifi states that “customers want more personalized content because they want brands to view them as distinct with unique characteristics and preferences, as opposed to a faceless consumer. Marketing personalization can sway a potential customer to become a buyer too.”
  • Sincere: BBB mentions that “social media brands are starting to spend a lot of time engaging sincerely with their followers. Authentic interaction with brands builds brand loyalty, especially among younger consumers. More than 60% state that they will become “brand loyal” if the company sincerely engages with them over social media.”

Brand content has also increased heavily since quarantine. Now, users on Instagram and TikTok are tagging where their clothing items are from in their caption or they create a storefront link, known as Shopify, and tag where their clothing items and accessories are from. If a user is constantly tagging a brand, that brand could eventually reach out to that user for them to sponsor their brand and have them create content that will reach their followers. 

According to Hubspot, “each brand is looking for a sponsor/influencer who can define the brand, know the audience, post consistently, tag the brand in each post, and know the worth of yourself and the brand.” Nowadays, if you scroll through Instagram or even TikTok, you will notice celebrities or TikTokers post ads, like Lebron James and Nike and Addison Rae partnering with American Eagle. 

According to The Manifest, here are five ways to interact with brands on social media:

  1. Liking posts
  2. Leaving reviews
  3. Mentioning brand on personal profile
  4. Direct messaging brand
  5. Tweeting at a brand

We’ve mentioned how brands are now finding new ways to purchase products that would be easy for customers to use through social media. Well stay calm, it’s finally happening! Keep reading to see how two, well-known brands chose to collaborate together to make their brands even more successful than they are today.


TikTok and Shopify: The Collab We NEEDED

I think we can all agree that the TikTok and Shopify collab should have happened a long time ago. According to Shopify, TikTok and Shopify decided to collaborate to bring product links to Shopify merchants, which can be used to tag products in TikTok posts.  As mentioned before, users on TikTok can choose to shop directly from the merchants storefront or click a tagged product in a merchant’s TikTok video, which will take them to the merchants online store for checkout. 

TikTok is one of the world’s fastest-growing entertainment platforms. Plytix mentioned that from February 2020 to February 2021, installs across Shopify’s social commerce channels increased by 76%. With the new addition of Shopify to TikTok, more users are utilizing Shopify and it has become much easier for their followers to find products from their favorite TikTokers. The TikTok era will not be ending anytime soon, it’s just beginning. Video creation has been accelerated by the outbreak, and it’s a behavior we expect to consolidate in the post-COVID reality.

This partnership has the potential to encourage more brands to switch over to Shopify. The Evening Standard states that “TikTok does a great job at making authentic, meaningful connections between brands and users.” As we all know, TikTok has very limited ads during the scrolling experience, so the Shopify feature has pushed brands to think more creatively about how they promote their shopping experience and their products. With the new shopping feature, brands will be able to create their storefronts through Shopify.

Holiday Shopping? Already?!

With the holidays just around the corner, so is holiday shopping. The holidays are full of gifts and gift-giving. 

According to Forbes, these are the hottest trends you’ll see for Black Friday this year:

  • In-store shopping is back!
  • Local is in
  • Buy now, pay later
  • Brand loyalty is out
  • Curbside pickup is continuing to shine
  • Deals matter

Black Friday 2020 was one of the weirdest Black Fridays the world has seen. As we know, online shopping increased heavily because of quarantine. According to Black Friday, 100 million consumers shopped online in 2020. There was also a huge drop in in-person shopping on actual Black Friday, with only 58.7 million people hitting the stores, compared to 37% year-over-year. 

Now that stores are allowing in-person shopping, Black Friday 2021 is looking a little better numbers wise. According to NBC News, retailers will promote more in-person shopping on Black Friday, more than they did in 2020. Per usual, Black Friday deals will kick off early, as holiday shoppers are eager to get all the deals before everything is gone – especially with the stock shortages and supply chain delays. 

With the massive growth of online shopping, a recent report stated that people like to touch items and see the products they’re buying for their loved ones. But as always, Black Friday is known for long lines and crowded stores. The Delta Variant is causing some stores across the country to limit in-person shopping and reevaluating face masks and vaccination procedures.

Despite that, Black Friday 2021 will not disappoint this year, especially with all the new deals and the new brands and trends we have seen all over social media this past year! Here at JSMM, we are excited to see what we can get our hands on this Black Friday!

What’s next?

Looking forward, social media will always be as popular as it was during quarantine. Social media is ever-evolving, so it’s hard to predict how successful it will be in five years. During the pandemic, social media made a huge difference in people’s lives – whether it was by creating a TikTok, sharing your favorite dessert recipe or devoting an entire Instagram account for your local business. Even though the pandemic caused heartache, grief and anxiety among people, it also brought solidarity and gratitude. Social media was the place where you could go to share your story or laugh until your stomach would hurt. 

In the next few years, social media will constantly be surprising everyone. The impact that quarantine had on people to discover, shop and engage with brands has truly affected many people, but in a great way. Social media is now engraved into our daily lives. Even though trends will come and go and new apps will be created, your Instagram story game will always be 💯, thanks to all of the time we spent on social media during quarantine.

Written by

Valerie Jennings, founder and CEO of Jennings Social Media & MarTech (JSMM), is a trailblazing entrepreneur who established her agency in 2003 at just 24 years old. A pioneer in leveraging social media for marketing since 2005, Valerie has transformed JSMM from a niche PR firm into a globally recognized digital marketing powerhouse. Her strategic foresight and commitment to innovation earned her accolades such as the Top Women in Media Honoree and Marketing Executive of the Year by the Stevie Awards. An advocate for AI in marketing, Valerie holds an AI Certification from Coursera, led by Andrew Ng of Stanford University.

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