When the entire world seems to stop, the shift on the internet is almost instant. Although we are encouraged to physically distance ourselves from each other right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online communities are able to keep us together. Due to their strength and connections they form, online communities have the ability to help its users during uncertainty and change.

Online communities can provide:

  • Distraction/entertainment
  • Comfort
  • Reassurance
  • Togetherness

Examples to consider for your community

Here are some ideas on supporting your community during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many more that may be more unique to your community (be creative!) but hopefully this gets you started.

Offer a place on the community for support

You may want to provide an area for members to chat about the world situation since we’re all interacting digitally more than ever these days. Take this opportunity to create a place where your members can engage in a positive place and support each other!

Given the sensitive nature of the topic, it would be a good idea to emphasize kindness and patience in discussions, in order to avoid negativity overtaking any positive impact the dedicated forum can provide. Outlining any specific additions to your regular rules will help users understand how moderators will be managing discussions on the forum.

Not only does this give a designated place for users to have conversations around the coronavirus, but it keeps the conversations in one place, allowing people who wish to avoid the subject to do so. People may turn to online communities for a distraction or break, and don’t want to see conversations regarding the coronavirus. Those users can ignore the forum or thread and moderators can move any conversations outside it to the necessary place.

Unique monetization for a period of time

Get creative with monetization methods to make it easier for more people to access the benefits of your community while still remaining profitable. Like offering a discount for a period of time. Several companies are making some changes to help their employees and customers.

List resources and helpful information

If it makes sense for your community and don’t have liability concerns; help keep your community aware of the situation by sharing resources; perhaps in a designated forum or widget. Here are some examples of resources to share:

Set up a way to support the community

Give your online community a way to support local communities. Maybe set up a way for members to donate to a local food bank or encourage members to do a “spring cleaning” to donate items to Goodwill and shelters.

For XenForo communities:

To make the donation process a little simpler, we are offering our ThemeHouse Donate add-on for XenForo 2.1 for free until June 1st 11:59pm UTC with coupon code DONATE2020. We hope it will help your community help others.

The strength communities have, whether geographic or digital, can impact its members and make a difference.

Play a game in your forum!

Sometimes everybody needs a distraction. During challenging times, this is even more true, so why not play a game? There are countless ways to have fun on a forum and boost engagement in your community. Variations on “Where’s Waldo” is a classic, as is “Photoshop Tennis”: A game where you start with an image, and each subsequent reply has a modification of the image from the previous reply.

Caption contests, meme contests, fun “get to know you” quizzes (including having your members fill out a quiz about the poster above them) and more all help add to the entertainment value of your community and build up relationships.

Stay focused to your community’s strategy

With so much going on it can be easy to get side-tracked from your community goals and strategy. Keep your vision in-mind and continue to make appropriate steps towards it.

Audentio is with you during this challenge.

We love the communities we work with, and want to continue to support each and every one of you.

Victoria Dinneen
Written by Victoria Dinneen

Marketing Director for Audentio. A finger always on the pulse of who Audentio is and where we need to go — Victoria is enthusiastic about coffee, an occasional baker, and a yoga instructor.