More and more companies are realizing that customers are expecting to communicate with the company via social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Online community management is a challenge for many companies, as this department brings together three traditionally separate departments that have hardly any contact points in the traditional corporate structure. These three divisions are: Corporate communications, customer support and marketing.
- Corporate Communications responds to inquiries from the press and influencers, compiles and publishes press releases and ensures that the legal requirements with regard to publication obligations for the respective corporate form are met.
- Customer support traditionally takes care of customer dialogue, answers questions, processes cancellations and solves problems.
- Marketing communicates the brand values, current offers, new products and ensures targeted sales promotion.
An effective and modern online community management unites these three areas and therefore interacts with many internal stakeholders. To ensure that this can be done effectively, it is imperative to gain insight and knowledge of the processes and procedures within the three departments mentioned above.
In 2016 and 2017, until the announcement of the bankruptcy of airberlin, I held various freelance positions in the area of online community management for the airline airberlin.
At times I have worked as an online community manager, in this position I have supervised the activities of the team of the online community officer and have been available as a contact person in critical, complicated or escalated cases for all stakeholders, especially the community officers. Furthermore, I also carried out shift planning and evaluation of the daily reports of the Online Community Officer.
I summed up the mood on the Internet for the airberlin brand in daily and weekly reports for various department heads, but also supervised influencers and bloggers and established cooperations with influencers.
In the event of a (imminent) communication crisis, I worked with the CIC (Crisis Information Center) to prepare and publish reports, analysis and overviews about the distribution of critical facts in the online media, as well as postings and publications in the field of crisis communication.
At times I also stepped in as an online community officer and directly supervised and moderated the dialogues and conversations in the online media within the shift system. In several places I have found small optimization possibilities for the existing processes and have been able to implement them in consultation with other affected departments.
At the beginning of my freelance contractual relationship with airberlin, I assumed that due to the size of the company and the processes involved, I would not receive any recognition or praise for my work. I was more than surprised by airberlin’s corporate culture because throughout my entire career I have not received more recognition, friendliness and praise in any other company, whether employed or self-employed. This culture has led to the fact that I never had the feeling of “having to go to the office” at any time, I always had the feeling that I was allowed to visit great people in the workplace and to work together as a team on the whole.
The airberlin family, repeatedly mentioned in the media, was something very special. I am very sad that it has not been possible to save airberlin, because this bankruptcy ends not only a piece of aviation history, but also ends a corporate culture that many other companies should take as an example.
The images in this post were kindly provided by the Instagram user @planes_at_txl. Thank you very much!