• Tereza Krpcová

How have in-person communities changed during the uncertain times of COVID-19?

What a month it has been. Perhaps nobody expected that the coronavirus outbreak would last so long and that it would impact our lives this much. No in-person community could have been fully prepared for this situation and for living under this high degree of uncertainty. However, it’s up to us whether we treat this new reality as a threat or an opportunity. Viewing it as more of an opportunity can turn this long period of isolation into a chance to work on our skills, learn and try new things, think outside the box, interconnect communities and their members, create space for human connection and simply help each other because at the end of the day we are all in this together.

So taking this crisis as an opportunity, every community manager probably has a few questions, such as “how can I build a sense of belonging and deliver value virtually” or “how can I shift my in-person community into a virtual one?” We have prepared four tips for you to answer these questions:

Speed is crucial. The goal of every community manager is an engaged community but achieving that goal requires speed. Particularly amidst the outbreak, you must come up with new solutions, new best practices and new content as quickly as possible in order to keep your community engaged. As was mentioned above, this might be an opportunity for us to boost the sense of belonging in our communities. Think out of the box, ask your community members what they need, listen and iterate. Don´t be afraid to make mistakes, since people are more understanding now. React on new impulses and don´t hesitate too much.

Long-term thinking. Yes, everything is happening very fast, however, try to think in the long term. Creating one-time solutions isn’t that efficient. Ask yourself “what that benefits us now can we keep doing when the world returns to a more ordinary rhythm?” The ideal outcome is to adopt new best practices that you incorporate into your future strategies and plans.

Time for digitalization. For those who built their communities in a solely in-person environment, it can be pretty challenging to shift to an online ecosystem. But as David Spinks, founder and CEO of CMX says:

“The best community programs have always been a hybrid of online and offline. So if you've been all offline up until now, see the opportunity — you'll have a more balanced program when the dust settles.”

If you build communities that have a physical basis but need a great digital presence too, Spaceflow can be the right solution for you! In the Spaceflow app you can give room to your tenants to chat and plan activities, promote your own online events, run contests, ask users their opinions in polls, share announcements, promote discounts and perks, and much more!

Meaningfulness. Don´t create new things just because others do it and try not to “copy-paste” new ideas. You are the person who knows your community best and you should know what your community members need, even if it only takes a little adaptation. If you are not sure what they need, just ask them. Create a poll, call some of your most active members or write an email in which you ask your community members for more insights. This is a unique situation the likes of which we’ve never experienced before, so it’s best to focus on meaningful actions and activities that really bring value to our businesses and communities. There is no room for competition. If you can join forces with somebody to partner for a better outcome, this is the right time!

Do you want to learn more about Spaceflow? Find out more here.

If you want to learn more about communities and community building, read the articles on our Spaceflow blog and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

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