The pandemic has changed the way we connect with our neighbors. For businesses and people alike, we’ve turned online to stay connected with our friends, family and larger community. Data shows just how valuable our local communities are to us. A Facebook-commissioned survey of the people who participate in online groups revealed that 42% of people are connected by geography, nearly rivaling the 50% of people connected by interest.1
As more people join online groups for support and connection, countless small businesses have been able to build online communities that help them understand a locale’s evolving needs. We’re calling this behavior the shift to “glocal” community. Businesses of all sizes can become part of the glocal movement by building online communities that strengthen connections and offer support at the local and global level.
To identify key shifts in people’s behavior toward communities, Facebook IQ analyzed internal data, commissioned surveys and third-party research. Here are the biggest takeaways for brands looking to adopt a community-first approach.
Grow your digital community
According to Facebook IQ data from February to May, local groups grew their membership by a factor of 3.3.2 Experts predict that people will spend close to four hours a day on their phones in 2021, making this a great opportunity to nurture your community online at a time when we can’t always see people face-to-face.3
When shelter-in-place orders went into effect, home security company ADT launched a group called Safe at Home for sharing safety resources and activities everyone could enjoy at home. As more people joined, generated content and shared stories of kindness, the group flourished. Safe at Home was so successful that ADT saw 10 times more shares in one month than in the entire previous year.4
Keep your community in the loop
During the pandemic, we’ve seen how store hours, inventory and safety measures can change at any moment. Unlike television and print ads that can take weeks of planning, online platforms give businesses the flexibility to instantly update their communities. Whether it’s sharing times when the store is quiet, daily cleaning procedures or alternative fulfillment options such as curbside pickup, digital platforms are an easy way to keep your community informed and engaged.
With limited foot traffic due to the pandemic, New York-based Vietnamese restaurant Di An Di created a secret to-go menu and shared the story behind each dish on Instagram. When the restaurant promoted a special dish on Instagram called the Viet Cajun Crawfish Boil, alongside the Food Order button, the dish sold out in minutes. Thanks to its exclusive menu and sharing the story behind each mouthwatering dish online, Di An Di was able to drive sales and stay connected with diners.
Give back to your community
More than ever people want to know that the businesses they support are giving back to their community. In fact, two in three people surveyed across the globe said the way a business responds to the COVID-19 crisis will seriously impact their future spending.5 There’s plenty of ways businesses can give back to their communities, such as supporting local initiatives, partnering with nonprofits and sharing how they’re keeping shoppers and staff safe.
A great example of a local business that stepped up for its community is Generation Kia. When the New York area auto dealership closed its sales department to comply with stay-at-home orders, it used Facebook to update local residents about continued service and safety measures. To thank local healthcare workers, Generation Kia offered them complimentary oil changes, vehicle deep cleaning and disinfecting treatments.
We’ve seen firsthand how COVID-19 has expanded our sense of community. Businesses of all sizes have the opportunity to adopt a community-first approach and build meaningful relationships that will continue long after the pandemic.
To learn more about the shift to glocal and other trends shaping the future, visit Facebook IQ.
This is the final article in a four-part series by Facebook experts who dive into the global macro-shifts shaping the future. We hope you found this series insightful, and we can’t wait to share more trends with you in 2021.
1 Facebook-commissioned online survey of 2,336 online general population respondents per wave, ages 18+, U.S., Wave 1, May 2020.
2 Facebook IQ source: Facebook groups data, AU, BR, CA, DE, ES, FR, GB, HK, ID, IN, IT, JP, KR, MX, NZ, SG, TW, US, Feb. 23-May 5, 2020. Growth based on comparing weekly local group joins from the first week to the last week during the time period analyzed.
3 Yoram Wurmser, “Mobile Shopping Gains Are Likely to Stick in the Future,” eMarketer, June 2020. https://www.emarketer.com/content/mobile-shopping-gains-likely-stick-future
4 Facebook Business. “ADT Resilient Business Story,” September 2020. https://www.facebook.com/business/stories/resilient-business/adt#
5Facebook IQ source: “Tracking the Coronavirus” by Ipsos (survey of people ages 18-75 in CN, VN, IN, IT, RU, US, AU, JP, GB, CA, FR, DE, UK, BR, MX, ES), April 2-4, 2020