5 reasons why you should create an online event community (+ 5 tips to grow)
What can be so good as achieving your attendance rate goals on your live events? That’s right, having an engaged and blossoming online event community! Providing a safe space, where your attendees can keep the conversation going, is a major asset that will delight your attendees.
What is an online event community?
An online event community is usually created within the scope of one event, or an event series. Taking the best advantage of digital tools to leverage results, the online community will be the virtual space where the event attendees can gather post-event to continue to network or discuss the event related-themes.
What do you need to create an online event community?
First and foremost, it is important to analyze your audience’s needs: would they be happy to continue the conversation after the event? Make a survey to be sure of your audience’s needs. You will also need a good online community platform with a lot of engagement and networking capabilities. Last but not least, you will need a community moderator that will:
- post new content;
- answer to the community members;
- host pre-scheduled micro-events;
- activate your audience.
5 reasons why you should create an online event community
There are some common needs that are transversal to all industries when we are speaking about creating an online event community.
1- Create long-lasting relations with your event attendees (and increase your customer lifetime value)
The first reason is the most evident, and the first benefit we usually think about when speaking on an event community. Building long-lasting relationships with your event attendees will be a beneficial win-win. It will result in more sales for you and an increase in your customer lifetime value.
A successful community brings a lot of benefits for your attendees:
- a private place where to find more experienced peers to ask questions and share good practices;
- a networking plaza with high-value contacts for their activity (and the permission to be in contact with them);
- exclusive information to keep your community members ahead of the game.
The benefits for your brand are also important. This community of engaged individuals has the potential to attend your future events, and even become your brand advocates. The main rule to succeed is to build a community that truly seeks to help your event attendees, and enabled them to achieve their goals.
If you aim to build a community to only relay sales messages, you will lose your audience’s interest. Don’t worry, if you provide value to your community, the sales will follow.
2- Be the host of a GDPR-compliant space
It’s now easier to communicate than ever. There are a lot of tools that allow you to build a community. A Facebook or a Whatsapp Group would be the most common choice, but these are not known as the most GDPR-compliant platforms. This would be one of the reasons why your attendees will join your community: it will be hosted in a GDPR-compliant space, where they would not be afraid to disclose professional or personal information. Provide a premium experience for your attendees: a safe space, where they can find experts or new business opportunities in their areas of expertise.
3- Increase your brand authority
Hosting your online event community on a branded platform will help you to keep on your attendees’ top of mind. Create long-form quality guides with relevant “how-to’s” for the industry, in order to establish your brand as an authority in your niche.
4-Improve customer experience
Your community will also be naturally the place where a lot of questions will be asked about your company or product. Your attendees can share their tips on how they overcome a difficulty, or how they are using your services or product to get better results. This will be valuable for your customers, which will have a better customer experience, but also for you, because you will have access to a lot of feedback from your community. The online event community will also be a privileged medium of contact with your team and often, in a less formal and more friendly tone, improving customer experience.
5-Grow your sponsorship revenue
Event sponsors want to be sure that they will get their expected return from their support. Having an engaged community is the best way to show your potential sponsors that you have an audience built for your next event, increasing the chances of success and lowering the time spent on sponsor search. This will also be beneficial for your community: with an increased budget, you will be able to create more valuable content and grow even more your community members!
5 engagement tips for growing your online event community
With the right technology, it’s easy to create the right setup for your online event community. However, we are not going to sugarcoat it: keeping your community engaged it’s a lot of work. But as we have seen there are a lot of benefits, and growing your community, it will pay off! Read our tips to start to grow your community.
1- Make partnerships with influential attendees
To kick start your community you will need active attendees that won’t be afraid to be the first ones to speak up. You will need a group of strategic members that will help you to entice other members to become active. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a curated choice of members to help you out. Exchange for some benefits that will be helpful for them, such as marketing activities, product discounts or offerings, etc. Don’t forget to include less experienced attendees in this group – they will open the way to other peers that may be afraid to talk. This will help you to gain some traction to get the conversation going.
2- Post new topics regularly and moderator takeover
It’s important to often post new content, to achieve your established goals. Invite a guest moderator to take over the community for a day. It can be someone from the group you already selected. Take advantage of this moment for a 24-hour thematic marathon to boost your engagement.
3- Invite members to share case studies and questions
Case studies and questions are incredibly valuable content for your community. Case studies will help other members to solve similar problems. Entice your experienced members to share their success and failure stories. Especially these last ones: what are the main pitfalls they would avoid today?
Questions are the main content of communities. They are the departure point for everyone to learn more.
Creating a gamification dynamic will help you to improve your members’ participation. It can be very easy to put in place. Online tools such as the SCOOCS engagement board will allow attributing points to defined actions. Users will be able to see their scores on a public board at any moment! Who doesn’t love a little bit of competition?
5- Reward the most active members
If you add rewards to your gamification activities, you have a winning strategy! Make special and exclusive offers for your members and host an awards ceremony!
Do you want to build a successful online event community? Find here all the SCOOCS features, and how they can help you on this task.