While the world self-quarantines during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are turning to brands to put the community back into community management.
In this new normal, we expected a lot of things. We expected that that digital consumption would go up and that consumers would spend more time binging TV. We expected that social activity would spike, that people would look to social for a distraction, and that connection would be a value in tall order. But what we didn’t expect is something we found out pretty quickly during our daily journey of community management. People are reaching out to brand pages – just to talk.
They want to talk to us about this new normal and sometimes about nothing in particular. When it comes to post content, fans aren’t just individually commenting to hail the greatness of a good post. Instead, they are starting conversations with others on the post thread, because most of all, they want to laugh – together. And in that action was something that was a part of our efforts all along, something that can so easily get lost in the mix: putting the community in community management. People need more than a voice that messages and responds; they need a voice that helps brings them together, uniting them under an umbrella of a brand they love.
In fact, we’ve seen that this element of connection has increased significantly over the last few weeks and has been encouraged as a coping mechanism by health experts across the board. It’s not that people didn’t always have the ability to connect — they did — but once face-to-face was lost, we put an enormous amount of value on how important it is and how we can mimic it. From virtual happy hours to swapping texts for video calls, we see our behaviors changing day after day. And those behaviors are also leading to a change in how consumers talk to brands. Now, instead of consumers reaching out to a brand when they need something, that craving for connection is driving a desire just to talk so they can feel that sense of community.
As we all try to adjust to the new normal, it’s important for us as brands on social to adapt, become better listeners and find creative ways to cultivate connection during a time when consumers need it most. Whether it’s creating opportunities for fans to get to know each other, or taking our brand hats off and just becoming more human, it’s worth remembering that at the end of the day, there is no community management without community.
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