Posted by Fabrick on 23 February 2021

So, it feels like Day 28932832832 of lockdown, and 3.0 feels very different from the March 2020 announcement; maybe because we’re genuinely out of things to say to one another - yep, I’m still walking at weekends and watching Summer and Seth break up a million times on The OC - or perhaps because seeing one more drop of rain may just bring us to breaking point.

One thing is for sure, this change in behaviour has altered the way we interact, with Hootsuite highlighting that people in the UK are spending, on average, an extra sixty minutes every day browsing the internet, with daily time spent online increasing from five hours twenty-eight minutes in 2020 to six hours twenty-six minutes in 2021, equating to an entire day per month online compared to this time last year. I’m not even going to share my weekly screen time – but I’m definitely in the above average camp!

Perhaps most interestingly for me, the same research highlights that conventional search engines are still, of course, dominant when it comes to users seeking brand information, but social media is very much on the rise. We’ve known for some time that news consumption on social platforms has been growing steadily, but the pandemic has highlighted a craving for ‘doomscrolling’ to keep up to date with the latest news (or rumours if you’re a Twitter fan!) that reinforces how influential our favourite channels have been as a news source throughout the pandemic, thanks to the easy to consume search functions.

Being seen as a ‘news platform’ means that channels are becoming more responsible for preventing the spread of (I hate to say it) fake news, which was seen during the December election when Twitter displayed a banner on Trump’s tweets to let followers know that his posts may not be all that accurate. So, are we still having fun on social, or is ‘doomscrolling’ and spending hours on TikTok just part of the new normal we’re all adopting? I think it’s definitely true that the idea of social media being used solely for entertainment no longer stands; the focus has shifted from passively consuming content to also needing to create better content ourselves.

Although we may not be busting a move and joining in with the ‘hmmm’ and ‘things just make sense’ trends that TikTok has witnessed, we have definitely had to be more aligned with digital content in the latter half of 2020 and definitely moving into 2021. We’ve hit pause on the face-to-face events (we miss you Futurebuild!) and are starting to embrace live content and pre-recorded webinars and roundtables for clients. Digital content isn’t just about jumping on things that work for other users, it’s about finding how our clients consume content and playing to those strengths. Online webinar series have been extremely well received by clients and customers alike; I was on a call with a client last week who couldn’t believe how many new leads he had managed to generate from hosting online webinars with Fabrick’s help; particularly since GDPR wiped out most of his contacts back in 2018. A big plus for businesses is cost and time savings. Travel expenses, lunch budgets and ultimately, time, are completely negated with online webinars, with relatively small budgets being focused on social promotion and solus emails with relevant magazines proving fruitful to inciting engagement and sign ups to these online events.

It’s definitely not been ‘easy’ adapting to meeting new people over a computer screen – and if I have to say “sorry, that’s my dog barking in the background” one more time, I may just go mad. But I’ve definitely learnt to think outside the box, and become more au fait with how online platforms like GoTo work. If anything, the pandemic has helped expand my knowledge, and I’m not sure we will ever really say goodbye to these new, more cost-effective ways of working even when Pfizer does its thing and we’re all vaccinated. Here’s to a new, improved normal… and less fake news!

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