For any event organizer, simply having one-off success shouldn’t be the main goal. Rather, professional event organizers seek ways to have year-round engagement with their audience. At some point, these efforts and great content nurture a loyal event community.
Suppose your event brand is the one that gives year-round value to your industry. If so, it can create cohesion among your audience, form a loyal event community and introduce your event organization as a market leader. So, what it takes to build an event community is understanding their wishes and their professional needs so that you can deliver content that should provide answers instead of raising more questions.
Table of Contents
Building an event community takes time
Setting a different set of values helps build an event community
Understanding your audience is what it takes to build an event community
Building an event community takes a lot of understanding from an organizer. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and organizers must use various techniques.
One of the most basic mistakes happens at the beginning of the journey when conference organizers decide to charge less or give away free tickets. The idea is to get more people involved, but usually, it’s counter-productive. Free events generally have higher ‘no-show’ rates and devaluing the event can create a less emotional investment for people to attend.
It doesn't mean setting ludicrous prices at the beginning of your project. You can give attendees options to pay a reasonable price and donate a small amount of money simultaneously.
Make sure your social media posts look good and, in the case of a conference, involve stars (speakers) they identify with or follow. This can be achieved during event prep when developing conference content, as it is crucial in understanding your audience’s needs.
During the first conference year, you won’t develop a loyal community instantaneously, but this shouldn’t disappoint you.
Engaging your audience is as much about targeting messages at the right time. Collecting data is a great way to start and the first feedback you receive from your audience can be an eye-opener. Various metrics can be collected simplified or more systematically using a professional event management platform that helps you identify the most engaged audience members.
Generating excitement and anticipation should be a priority for your team.
There are several ways to get your community excited. One of the most proven is to communicate with forthcoming conference speakers. Create speaker cards to announce the most prominent, as well as those bringing new insights into the different topics your conference is going to cover.
Behind-the-scenes videos, images, press releases, or just a simple countdown to the event will work. Still, you can also think of having community special offers (i.e., discounts, VIP passes, speaker area access passes).
Attendees are the most important stakeholders at any event or conference, but you should remember the business side too. Adding value to sponsors provides what it takes to build an event community, as you want loyal sponsors that will follow you anywhere.
Mentioning your sponsors is a convenient way to say thank you by providing additional awareness for them inside your community.
Once the event is over, communication and interaction with your audience won't stop. It's what it takes to build an event community!
Continue conversations to extend event excitement and energy for as long as possible (e.g., bring online topics that have received much interest on-site).
Networking plays a very important part at conferences. Doing follow-ups with introductions and connections helps with growth, just the same as with feedback.
Organizers must collect as much feedback as possible from all stakeholders while the impressions are still fresh and recognizable. Use your event management platform or standalone apps to send automated emails conducting surveys about conference quality and areas where you can improve (e.g., satisfaction with the registration desk waiting times or catering).
Finally, organizers seeking to grow loyal communities must think about memories. Providing video recordings from all conference stages, presentations and a wrap video helps build long-lasting relationships within your community.
Understanding your audience helps to define their needs and focus your content toward building an event community. Using gathered data helps event organizers know what worked well and what didn’t and can help event organizers plan further events to keep existing members happy and attract future members.