Social networking has taken on a new meaning in the age of global pandemics, mass quarantine and social distancing as people strive to stay connected in a world that exists solely online.
Once overlooked, underutilized or taken for granted social media features are being brought to the forefront and put in the spotlight to bridge newfound gaps in education, relationships, marketing and more. Here are five features that are keeping us connected.
A long-time darling of the marketing world, Facebook Live is getting plenty of extra love during this time. Museum curators are stepping in front of the camera to stream in-depth tours of artifacts and exhibits. Zoos and aquariums are doing the same, allowing viewers to get up close and personal with animals in a new way. And, musicians are using Facebook Live to host concerts live from their living room.
Much of these streams and events are Grade-A examples of what an exemplary Facebook Live should provide: a behind-the-scenes and in-depth look into a life, brand, business or organization unavailable elsewhere.
A large, and rapidly growing, percentage of content and engagement on the platform, Facebook Groups were designed with community in mind. From amateur turkey-calling enthusiasts to individuals with green-eyes, there’s a place for everyone.
Facebook has even given brands and businesses the option to connect a group to its page to further engage with fans. While many press pause on their marketing activities during this time, a group is a fantastic way to remain engaged with fans and customers by sparking conversation.
Laden with all the bells and whistles, Instagram Stories is a great way to frequently connect with others. Unlike posts in the Facebook or Instagram feed, the Stories format encourages multiple posts per day offering many opportunities to check-in and create touchpoints with others by sharing a funny meme or a quick snapshot of your day.
Deepen engagement with Instagram Stories by tapping into its more advanced features, like Q&As, polls, quizzes, filters and more. These added elements allow you to interact, conversate and engage with your audience in new and fun ways.
Hashtags in some form or another have manifested themselves on a variety of social media platforms, but nowhere do they prosper more than on Twitter. Live tweeting has long been a practice for events from industry conferences to the Oscars, and in this new era of social distancing users are taking this particular feature to the next level. With hashtags like #WorkFromHome, users are sharing anecdotes, seeking help and guidance from others and tapping into a new form of shared experience on the platform. Beyond this, users are organizing virtual events using a central hashtag to create community and encourage engagement, like #QuarantineMovieNight.
Facebook Town Hall
More for users than content publishers, Facebook’s Town Hall feature allows individuals to centralize all information pertinent to their community. During a time when users are looking for the most relevant and up-to-date information about the ongoing COVID-19/coronavirus crisis, this feature is invaluable for both citizens and the health departments, representative and other entities trying to reach them.
While the directory feature allows you to find, follow and contact local, state and national representatives, the Explore tab is where users can find the timeliest information from government organizations in their area. This includes information from public pages associated with fire and police departments; city and county health departments; city governments; housing authorities; and more.