If there is one certain right now, it's that Covid-19 is affecting all our lives. For many of you it will mean a shift from the office to working from home, and for your customers, it will mean getting in touch with your brand is more challenging than it's ever been.
It's no surprise social channels are feeling the impact, Vodafone recently confirmed it has seen a 50% increase in usage of it's network in several European markets, an increase it expects to continue, meanwhile Facebook and Disney join Netflix, Amazon and YouTube in announcing a temporary downgrade in stream quality to help them handle the demands on their services.
But what is the impact for communities? While community is, by its very nature social, the way we use and rely on community vs. social is uniquely different. As the measurable impact no doubt will increase as users acclimatise to the change in how we work, and engage with each other and brands, it's likely we’ll see a gradual and longer term increase in the demand on the resources available through community. In fact, there are some early indicators to suggest this is already happening, when looking at traffic to our communities, we’re already seeing an unseasonable 13% increase week on week, that equates to an increase of 21% compared to the same period last year.
What does this mean for community owners?
We’re looking at very early insights and time will tell what the long term impact is, but one area we would recommend you focus on right now, without hesitation are your moderation practices. We’ve long said the role of moderation in community is not simply about enforcing the rules, your moderation team play a critical role in supporting users, guiding and steering them to get the most out of the information and expertise within the community, they are often the face of the brand, and with whom your community users engage with daily.
Moderators manage and maintain a healthy relationship among users and with the brand, and right now, everyone involved is under unique pressure and stress that will affect that relationship. So what to do?
Be aware of the potential for an increase in tension, which likely has little to do with your brand or community environment, and instead a result of external factors neither you or your users can control.
Moderate with empathy, and recognise you may need to adjust your normal response to displays of frustration and emotion in the community (ensure any adjustment in expected response is clearly communicated to the team).
Check your documentation, are your community and moderator guidelines up to date? Is your moderation team responding to community issues inline with moderation guidelines? Do they acknowledge any short term change in your approach?
Be consistent, be fair!
Last but not least, it has long been a best practice to ban as a last resort, and this was never truer than today.
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I would agree with @jonobacon, there are a variety of tools that can support remote connection and they each have great strengths but many of them also require people to be there in the moment, together, which of course at times like this, can in itself prove challenging.
It's probably no surprise I'm a big advocate for providing an internal space for employees to connect within community. Its not only provides a safe space to support and enable each other, but a space they can engage and connect when they're able, removing the challenge of being available together at precise times.
The ability to connect easily with your peers is important, but its at times like this it becomes crucial, and I think @allensmith81 and @elinares hit the nail on the head when they talk about giving community the ability to not only talk about issues, and questions relevant to the business, but a safe space to be open, honest and vulnerable, the strength of connection this type of support network provides cannot be underestimated.
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@rhappe thanks for sharing, great cheat sheet from @JillianB, I think the key to these types of comms is the frequency and keeping updates/ comms consistent. With so much changing from one minute to the next, having a consistent approach to comms you can rely on is powerful 👍
I won't be able to make the webinar but look forward to hearing more about it later.
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@allensmith81 I love LOVE this!
Its a very difficult time, stress levels are understandably elevated, there's enough to deal with, without the added pressure of trying to adapt to an entirely new working model. I confess as someone who worked from home for 7 years before I came to Khoros 8+ years ago, and working a mixed home office approach since, the transition for me is pretty straight forward. I have the home office set up, all the equipement I need, and I've learnt strategies over the years to deal with the challenges of working from home. But for many this will be very new, and an additional stress at an already very difficult time. I am sure having the safe space you've provided is greatly appreciated by those taking part, and those not, just seeing others ask the very questions they have, and sharing those concerns will make have an impact on the passive participants to. I don't think your community will be alone in taking this approach.
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