You might have noticed a surge in memes, viral videos and articles about a particular household item lately. We're calling it the great toilet paper panic of 2020; a subset of the #Coronapocalypse content that's flooded our social media timelines lately. What is it about toilet paper that has captured national (and even international) attention? Why not medicine? Or canned goods? And what does that have to do with you and your business?
In this difficult time, many businesses are running lean, radically changing or closing in response to the volatile state of the market. Paying attention to social media trends can help you make smart decisions and anticipate upcoming changes so you’re prepared -- not 100 rolls of toilet paper prepared -- but effectively prepared for what comes next.
Taking a closer look at the toilet paper fiasco, what led to its rise to one of the largest trending topics in the middle of a global emergency? Here’s what we found:
1) It’s relatable. Social media is nothing if not the apex of relatable content.
We’re all going through this uncertain time together and we all need toilet paper. Even influencers have made posts about it to remind their fans that celebrities face some of the same struggles we do!
Influencers are an essential part of the social media ecosystem. Why? They can help bridge the gap between companies and customers by making companies more relatable, more human to their audience. They seem to magically make anything relatable. I mean, if they can make toilet paper engaging, what else can they do?
It’s crucial that they keep their audiences satisfied with the type of relatable, entertaining or informative content that they built their following on. It’s just as crucial for your brand.
2) It led to some pretty hilarious jokes.
Jokes serve the social functions of bringing people together and easing stress in difficult times. They provide people with a much needed break from the complicated emotions they experience during a disaster. Whether it’s an individual or company reaching out on social media, or a joke by The Daily Show -- laughing together helps us relieve tension.
As we see below, a lighthearted take on a Coronavirus related trend or observation can lead to high levels of spread and engagement
We never outgrow potty humor – it’s just human nature.
There’s nothing that brings Americans together quite like sports - and with almost all games on hiatus right now, the jokes and memes are more important than ever as people take solace in their sense of community with fellow sports fans.
Users took to social media to blow off some steam and have a little fun with each other-- from new dances on Tik Tok to predictive text games on Twitter and Facebook.
3) Smart businesses are already using the toilet paper social media trend to gain publicity.
Guerrilla Tacos in Los Angeles offered a kit with the restaurant’s food, toilet paper and eggs. This measure helps them cut down on supplies like toilet paper that they may not need as restaurants shift to carry-out only, and provides their customers with an essential and high-demand item. It also serves the community well by saving people a trip to the chaotic grocery stores where it may be hard to practice the social distancing recommended by the CDC. The story was picked up by CNN and received thousands of likes and a massive reach.
4) Experts took to the media to weigh in
Even Economists are looking into this phenomenon: it turns out, calls for social distancing prompted people to buy a “buffer stock.” Economists predicted the toilet paper shortage will end as these buffer stockers would go back to buying just enough to match their usage after ensuring they had a buffer. Additionally, they point out, most people have space limitations and wouldn’t be able to continue buying toilet paper at this rate.
The toilet paper brands also joined the conversation. They say: don’t worry - the shortage will be over soon and someday this will just be a distant memory!
So what’s our takeaway from this research?
Listening to the conversation on Twitter answers some important questions about the toilet paper crisis for us - What’s going on? What caused this? Who is impacted? How will this affect me? How long will it last? How are people reacting?
More importantly, how can your company utilize the insights to connect with your customers during the COVID crisis?
As people spend more time at home, social media becomes the center of all interactions. Now, more than ever, social customer experience is absolutely crucial. We can’t be sure how long the impacts of this pandemic will last, but we do know customers’ interaction with your brand on social media during this time will strongly impact their perception of you well into the future.
We all have our own feeds full of memes, articles, and information. For your business to make the best strategic decisions moving forward, monitoring the conversations happening on social platforms holistically is essential. Our Listening software considers emotions involved with each mention which provides valuable insight into consumer behavior.
Nuvi’s analytics tools allow you to pinpoint trends not only accurately but efficiently. Create a strong customer experience strategy that can carry you through this crisis with these insights.
Let us gather the details, so you can draw the conclusions and act right away.