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COVID-19: Community management is the secret sauce!

How to gain your customers’ trust in times of corona

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Portrait von Christina Essl. | © punkt & komma
Christina Essl
Social media marketer

One thing’s for sure: Whether you’re an entrepreneur, marketer or customer, we are all currently living through an exceptional situation. We know the coronavirus poses several challenges for businesses. You probably have a lot of question marks floating around in your head and are wondering how to continue your business endeavours. Or which communication strategy is the best to safely manoeuvre your company through this crisis and keep it financially afloat. Understandably so! 

However, besides economic considerations, there’s one thing you should never lose sight of: staying in touch with your customers. Fellow humans and your connection to them play an especially important role in times of COVID-19. But how do you gain your customers’ trust and strengthen your relationship with them? The answer is simple: by way of community management! That’s why we’ll shift our focus from the meta level to practical application in this article.

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Community management

The fact of the matter is that community management has become more important than ever. Default answers and copy-and-paste responses are by far not enough. Quite the contrary: Social media users will spot the difference between those and genuine personal messages right away. In short: They’re looking for authentic and trustworthy information and a reliable partner to support them, as we all live through this crisis. 

Just continuing what you did before? That’s a bad idea! Take some time to review and adjust your community management guidelines and create an escalation plan. Determine how you want to communicate with followers and users right now, and which choice of words and tone you would like to use. Important: It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it! 

© Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Always keep in mind there will be a time after corona. The better you prepare for it, the easier and more efficient your daily work in dealing with your community will be. As a support, you should think of all the questions your audience might have about your post before you publish it. Is it important to answer these questions? Then address them in your post right away! You’d like to maintain the arc of suspense and/or generate interaction? Then leave out some of the information but make sure you’re quick in responding to questions. 

Define which information you would like to provide your users with and how you can strengthen the ties to your customers on a daily basis. It’s crucial that the community manager is familiar with the editorial calendar. Also think of a situation-appropriate strategy on how to deal with negative comments. Try to empathise with your users, respond to questions in an authentic way and address any fears and concerns they might have! 

Expert tip: Showing sensitivity and a keen intuition regarding what people need from you right now is essential! In times of corona, you need to be very deliberate in how you respond to the worries and problems of your customers on social media. 

You’ll see: If you intensify and adjust your community management to the situation, you’ll gain and strengthen customer trust. And that’s how you’ll not only survive this acute COVID-19 situation – you’ll also position yourself for success in the long run. 

Find out what to keep in mind regarding community management and what potentials this time holds in store!

© Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

6 tips for effective community management in times of COVID-19

  1. Communicate openly and authentically: Social media users are looking for brands they can trust. Standard prefabricated answers? No, thanks! Be personable and speak to your users directly – and you’ll see that reactions to your conversation will be positive across the board! 
     
  2. Show some empathy: Even before corona but especially now, the most important task of a community manager is to listen. None of us wants to feel alone, we want to share our concerns on social media and be taken seriously. Make your community feel understood and try to alleviate any fears they might have. Don’t just react to questions but actively seek out conversations with your fans and followers. Secret tip: engagement. Try to lower your response times and answer questions as quickly as possible! You’ll be surprised at the positive effect this has – not only on your interaction rate but also on how your users perceive your brand. 
     
  3. Strengthen customer retention: Take on the role of a mentor, listen to your fans and be on hand with help and advice. Most importantly: Treat your customers with respect – we’re all in this together! That’s how you not only strengthen the long-term relationship you have with your customers. They’ll also look back on this COVID-19 situation with positive memories of how you handled it. Users are going to remember how you dealt with the crisis and all the work you put into supporting and accompanying them throughout. The magic word here is trust! 
     
  4. Lay your cards on the table: Be honest and provide your community with all the information they need right from the beginning. If you know your fans, you’ll know what questions they might have and how you can support them. Tip: Get in touch with your customers! Especially in times like these, it’s all about sticking together. In other words: We can do this together! 
     
  5. Set clear boundaries: Interaction grounded in respect is important for any community – online and offline. Create a positive framework for your fans and followers! There’s no room for insults and trolls. Tip: Write a few short and concise guidelines and define the responsibilities within your team up front. Determine who’s allowed to communicate what and when. That’s how you can avoid contradictions and ensure the quality of your work remains high. 
     
  6. Creativity? Yes, please! Let your ideas run wild. You know your community best, and you know what your users like and what they don’t like. Stand out from the crowd with bespoke and unique community management and show everyone how it’s done. Go for it!
© Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Your turn: Don’t drop the ball now and use your chance to create something great in the social media world with your community management strategies! Today, tomorrow and in the time after corona! 

Do you have any questions or need some assistance with your social media activities? Our content heroes are always here for you – even if they’re working from home right now!

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