Why you Need an Online Community for your Offline Event

Not so many years ago, the community we belonged to was determined by our physical location. Thanks to the emergence of the web, social media and mobile devices, distance has less impact on our social lives. We now have a new amazing ability to connect with groups of people we share a common interest in online communities. We choose to become a part of these communities so we can connect. Right? We connect with like-minded people, listen to their thoughts, ideas, check out their photos, and laugh at their bad jokes.

Yeah, but my events happen in the real world, not online!

The line separating the ‘online’ and ‘offline’ worlds is getting thinner and practically disappearing. Meeting people face to face has irreplaceable advantages, as does the speedy and limitless virtual web. You can only benefit from bringing these two complementing worlds together.

A lively event community will continue to contribute to the dynamic exchange of ideas, thoughts and feelings related to your event. People love sharing interesting things they do with other people. We’ve all seen similar posts on social media:

  1. “I’m going to The Oscars next week and I have a +1. Anyone?”
  2. “The buffet was definitely better than the keynote”
  3. “I decided to buy what I saw in CES last month”

There is a great opportunity here for you. If you “play your cards right”, you can influence some of the most important aspects of running an event:

  1. Word of mouth– the more people will talk about your event, the more people will hear about the event, and probably the more people attend. As simple as that.
  2. Excitement – social interactions before the event gives people something to look forward to. Build on that excitement.
  3. Ongoing feedback – identify problems in real-time, know what works well and what doesn’t.
  4. Brand Image – you’re part of the conversation. The way you participate will determine that way you are perceived.

Four Great Ways to Optimize Your Online Community Engagement

  1. Take part. Be an active member and voice in your community, distribute great content and initiate engaging conversations.
  2. Help your attendees to share. People tend to share things as they happen. Provide them with a convenient solution to instantly share their actions before and during the event to increase their participation. 
  3. Metrics and analytics. Get to know your audience and their preferences. Know what works and what doesn’t work.
  4. Bring it together. Find the social platforms that are the most relevant to your community and put them in one place for the convenience of your attendees. 

Eran is the CEO of Bizzabo, a social platform that helps event organizers to create and optimize their event community. You can contact eran@bizzabo.com with any questions, ideas or thoughts.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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