5 Tips to Improve Your Online Event Community
A good online event community is an essential part of any marketing strategy, but they’re one of the most difficult things to achieve. Online event communities, as gatherings of people, are hard to predict and manage. Creating a successful one is an ongoing process and requires listening and tweaking what’s not working.
Digital presence is not something you can start thinking of the week before your event. From the minute you start planning your event, you should also be planning your online community.
This is even more important for recurring events targeting a similar audience every year. Not having good online event community means that you have to start from scratch every year. Happy attendees operate as free advertising for your event once they leave. Online communities mean you can capitalize effectively on their enthusiasm.
How do you go about building an active digital presence? Here are some tips:
1. Be efficient
Work expands to fill the time allotted to it and this is still true when you are dealing with social media websites designed to keep you scrolling . This is just as true for event marketers as it is for anyone else.
Choose a certain period of time each day/week and dedicate that to scheduling posts and tweets. There are several applications to make this easier. While its good to respond to comments quickly, don’t let it take over your day.
It’s a good idea choose one member of your team to be responsible for the online event community element of marketing. This prevents duplication of work where several people may be checking the same thing.
Online community is important, but be mindful of when real work starts to turn into procrastination.
2. Superfans are the Engine of Your Online Event Community
If you have a choice between a group of people who all vaguely like your idea and no-one hates it and one where some people hate your idea but also some really love it, always choose the second group.
Nobody engages with something they don’t care about. In the early stages of revitalizing or starting your community, focus on the handful of people who love your idea. This might involve giving them special ranks in a forum or swag at events as encouragement to keep interacting. Their enthusiasm signals to those on the fence that your event really is all it’s cracked up to be.
3. Your Online Event Community is Always Growing
Once your event community starts becoming more active, it can be tempting to relax and let the community handle itself. The problem with this (which can extend to the real event if you always have the same attendees) is that people are cliquey. ‘Constant September’ means that there are always people who are new to your community. Be sure that your event community doesn’t devolve into in jokes or otherwise become inaccessible.
While it’s nice to have expert level communication in a community atmosphere, not everyone will be able to partake in complex discussion. Make sure to vary the intensity of the content you post and the discussions you curate so a wide range of people can get involved.
4. Get Creative With How You Communicate
If you’re finding your follower or engagement figures are stagnating, it might be time to try something new. Knowing that people have an attention span of roughly 6 seconds, visual content can reach people faster and is much more likely to be shared.
Infographics are a highly shareable form of content and are sure to give your event community a boost beyond your current follower pool. There are many inexpensive online tools to create them, so you don’t need to bring in an expensive external agency. Videos and Buzzfeed style quizzes are also great options to engage less committed fans.
5. Limit the number of sales posts
If your social media presence is about why your event is amazing to the exclusion of all other content, it’s unlikely your community engagement figures are great. This isn’t to say you can’t make sales posts. Try not to be quite so overt about them and intersperse them with content that will be relevant to the interests of your fans. As with most things, everything in moderation.
Obviously, online communities are as diverse as the people within them. Most of your most successful event marketing strategies will evolve from just talking to your fans to find out their likes and dislikes.