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Building Your Online Community in Times of Uncertainty

There has been a lot of professional chatter these past few days about the right way forward in this time of crisis. People are in panic mode as events are canceling, businesses are closing, and as government-mandated social distancing seems like what we must look forward to for the next 6-18 months. Building your online community in times of uncertainty is vital to your brand’s survival once the dust settles.

This is scary. As a small business owner, there have been so many thoughts, doubts and concerns running through my mind. It seems like no business will walk away from this global pandemic without a scratch or dent if they survive at all.

Many of our clients are in the healthcare and nonprofit industries. Now more than ever, is a time for depending on their digital channels and underutilized online communities. Things like community management, building your online community, content marketing strategy, and engagement are going to have instrumental value in the coming months.

Now is not the time to take pause and let things unfold. My fear for companies and organizations doing this will be seeing an impossible hill to climb as our economy moves toward its healing process. Don’t forget that will happen, we WILL get past this.

building your online community in times of uncertainty -up hill battle

Still, researchers and experts alike estimate at the very least, early fall is when we will start our long climb back to normalcy. The reality is it likely will be more like 12-18 months before we will all be able to take a deep breath of fresh air.

So what does that mean for your business?

For Everyone:

No matter your industry, nonprofit or for profit, focusing on your digital efforts and building your online community is vital right now. Without this, you lose your connection with your stakeholders. Without that connection, how do you plan to come back once things return to normal? It is vital that you continue to building your online community in times of uncertainty.

For Nonprofits:

Nonprofits out there with fundraising efforts and events: Do NOT stop telling your story and expressing the need for your communities to support your efforts. Your presence is needed now more than ever!

If you have events in the next three months—reschedule! For any events in early fall, start exploring alternative dates for rescheduling them for late fall. We have no idea how long this crisis will last, but when things lift and we all start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we are going to want celebrate and do some good!

However, I also recommend you start thinking of alternative ways to deliver your event. There are many opportunities these days for online events: live streaming, challenges, etc.

As it pertains to donors and sponsors, putting a hold on individual donor asks is advised, but approaching medium to large businesses can still happen. Yes, everyone is feeling the burn but just like you, companies out there are trying to stay relevant and active.

Sponsoring a future event or your new online fundraising idea might be exactly the opportunity they need for reconnecting with the community.

Nonprofits and corporations can use this time to work together helping others, and continuing to remain active in their communities. This is a win-win, if you ask me.

Moving forward after COVID-19

It can be hard to press on in times like these, but the reality is if you are not active online during this time you will fade into the background pretty quickly. All that hard work building your audience online will start to diminish and when things are back to normal you will be starting from ground zero.

Moral of the story: spend this time to cultivate and engage your online community. This is not the time to take a break.

We understand this seems overwhelming. Figuring out where to start can be hard, especially if you and your team are not adjusting to a new remote management structure.

building your online community in times of uncertainty

Here are some ways to kick start your social media content refresh, and remember you can always ask for help! Digital agencies like LHM Strategic are experienced, ready and able to help update your content, strategize content ideas, or just take over your digital and social efforts so you can focus your time elsewhere.

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