• Meriem Belhiba

4 Major Challenges experienced by community managers in this time of coronavirus

It’s evident. Social media plays a pivotal role in this uncertain time we’re living in: Corona virus and confinement. Schools are shut down. Entreprises have switched to telework. The result: everyone is locked in their houses having no other means of entertainment but social media channels. This unprecedented influx of active users impact the way social media is used and catered for. Social media networks become a fertile ground for solidarity as well as information distribution.

Challenge #1: Fake News

Digital marketers and community managers have no medical authority. Ethically speaking, they don’t have the right to propagate medical information. But, this doesn’t deny their responsibility to curtain the flux of disinformation, rumors and fake news. As brand voices and citizens, we have to partake in the digital war against the spread of fake news. The comment sections of almost all facebook pages are invaded by comments containing any form of misinformation and sensationalism. Community managers couldn’t turn a blind eye on what’s going on. It’s a citizenship responsibility and mission to react effectively against this type of comments.

Checking some of Tunisian brand pages as well as international ones, we’ve noticed a swift profiliation of medical misinformation and fear-mongering stories. Here are some of the comments that caught our eyes:

Community managers and moderators have to be sensitively reactive in this situation. It’s a national and ethical duty. A plenitude of solutions are available for an effective response to these exchanges depending on the seriousness of the comment. We can suggest:

  • Respond using official and reliable sources.

  • Hide any comment that contains seriously unaccepted content.

  • Block users who tend to spam your page with this type of fake news.

Challenge #2: Solidarity campaigns:

The times of crisis prove the extent to which people rely on social media to create a concrete social impact. Social media channels have witnessed a sharp rise in the creation of public or private groups and instant messaging groups.

WHO, national government and civil society have launched many digital campaigns to leverage funds and encourage people and businesses to partake in overcoming this global crisis.

Be part of these campaigns and propel your audience to partake in:

Community managers are the voice of brands. At this time of crisis, brands have to embrace their social responsibility in mobilizing people around legit campaigns. Spread your country’s official campaigns. Relay pertinent solidarity messages to your audience.

But, be vigilant! Restrict your participation in only official campaigns from official bodies, be it governmental or assossionational.

Some pages are bombarded by private messages from citizens calling for fundraising or individual initiatives. If you’re willing to take more social responsibility, study these demands case-by-case and make the right decisions with your whole team.

Tailor your messenger campaigns to the current situation:

Due to the active use of messenger in this time of confinement, you need to tailor your messenger campaigns. Don’t carry on your campaigns unless they respond to key and inherent needs of your audience.

You can deploy messenger instant messages to communicate on cancelled events, flights or services and information about already-made reservations and so on.

Restrict your instant messages to reply directly on your audiences’ messages instead of using it as a promotional channel.

Challenge 3: Managing social media interaction

Physical communication and interaction waned drastically channeling all the communication towards digital networks. This abrupt rise in social media use has its own challenges and opportunities. Being there for your customers and prospects in such a nerve-racking and worrisome time is primordial. No matter your sector, you should be present. This crisis will be over one day, right? People will relay their stories and anecdotes about it. They will also remember if you were there for them or not.

Keeping digital communication and bolstering your digital presence can be challenging due to the eventual increase of interaction.

Automate messenger responses:

If you’re into ecommerce or retail, things may get out of hand easily. Customers are contacting businesses from their home which makes the communication purely digital.

The workflow can be uncontrollable. Thus, rely on tools and bots that can handle part of the work for you. Consider buying a tool or experimenting with free ones to facilitate your customer service communication.

But, make the responses you enter to automation tools natural and pertinent.

Keep an eye on comments:

Interactions with facebook and instagram posts are in steep increase. Leaving comments unanswered is a big mistake in this uncertain time. Community managers should be as responsive as possible. They should turn, smartly, some comments into community discussions. Generate discussions. Your audience is bored. So, they are apt to keep talking with you and bond a strong relationship with you.

Going more social and responsive is the best hack to get the best of this quarantine period. The opportunity to build brand awareness and audience loyalty is great. Simply put, it is a great opportunity to work on each part of your marketing funnel.

Figure out the peak of interaction:

The hours when your community is present on social media will drastically change in the context of confinement. Social media management will get trickier with picks of interaction in the morning and in the early afternoon. This means more loads on the shoulder of community managers and more discussions to handle throughout the day.

What you figured out before the coronavirus outbreak is no longer valid. You may have sensed this with the drastic change in posting hours and the peaks of interaction. It’s time to know the best time to publish your post and the best time to respond to comments.

For an effective management of your team, social media heads should make some adjustments when it comes to working hours and on-call availability of moderators and community managers.

It seems to be available around the clock. But, according to the pages you’re managing, you can restrict your team to on-call checks outside regular office hours. This enables your team to react effectively and quickly on potential controversy.

Another effective way to handle this change is to rely on social media analytics tools. Figuring out the peaks of interaction manually, like you may have done before, is a pure waste of time. You can’t rely on Facebook data now when the algorithm is manipulated and active users are multiplying.

Thus, you can have in-real time data to give you insights on the hours your team should be present and ready to respond to customers’ queries and comments.

Optimizing your social media content and understanding the changes brought by coronavirus measures are your keys to successfully communicate in this uncertain time.

Challenge 4: Dealing with cyberbullying:

Even Though acts of solidarity sparked in an unprecedented way, cyberbullying is still lurking in comments and messages. Unfortunately, threats and verbal abuse have spread swiftly.

Community managers usually use profanity filters to cut off this content before it reaches their community. But, these filters are not that sophisticated to pinpoint abusive and disruptive content accurately.

Remind your community of your community guidelines:

Some moderation tools spare you the effort of dealing with each comment case-per-case. But, you still need to stipulate some general rules to your community. A kind reminder doesn’t hurt. Propel people to be positive and kind. Some people just need to be reminded of how love and kindness can change the game, others cannot understand this message. And, it’s human nature. Don’t blame yourself for it. Make it clear that you will block everyone who dares to spread hatred and rudeness in this very time of confinement.

Reward those whose kindness is overwhelmed:

Sanction and reward go hand in hand. While sanctioning people who violate the code of conduct is essential to keep your community healthy and positive, rewarding people who are positive and kind is pivotal to make your guidelines concrete.

Encourage people whose content is positive to keep posting and interacting with your community. You can send private messages to positive users to praise their behavior.

The buttonline: don’t make combating negative comments your sole mission. Try to listen to positive comments and reinforce this culture of being helpful and kind.

Challenges brought by Coronavirus are multiple. But, let’s keep our spirits up and embrace creativity, empathy and resiliency. Don’t stop communicating with your community. Your audience needs you.

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