The Best Ways To Build Engaging Communities For Your Online Event

Posted by Sophia Duplin

Humanize Your Next Event With A Buzzing Online Community 

It’s a great feeling to know you are deep into the planning process of your next great event online. 


You’ve ticked off many items on your virtual event planning checklist: lined up keynote speakers, chosen your virtual event platform, and put the dates on the calendar. You’ve secured sponsorship and organized your ticketing system. Your event is ready to move forward. 


But now, you need to add the essential ingredient for a successful event: your audience. While there are several ways to attract an audience to your next event, the best way is to grow an online community around your event. 


Both large events and small events benefit from a thriving virtual community. 


Let’s take a look at the benefits of building a community through your virtual event and how to leverage communities to engage potential attendees no matter what type of event you are hosting online.


The Best Ways To Build Engaging Communities For Your Online Event

The Importance Of Using Your Virtual Event To Build A Community 

Virtual communities allow people from all walks of life to engage with other like-minded individuals through a common interest or topic. 


No matter your event goals, online communities offer many benefits for your company and your virtual event. 

  • Social Collaboration: When users come together, they can solve problems and discuss new ideas. 

  • Cost-Saving: By gathering online, there is no need to pay for a caterer, signage, or post-event clean-up. 

  • Builds Trust And Loyalty: Online communities can help customers succeed, which will instill a sense of loyalty and trust in your brand. 

  • Drums Up Excitement For Your Event: A thriving online community is an excellent place for digital marketing that will build interest in your upcoming events. 


Additionally, when you and your event team create an online community, you gain valuable insights into customer preferences, predict their needs, and increase customer retention. 


How To Build An Engaging Community Through Your Online Event 

A robust virtual community is an essential part of a successful event, especially when you host an online event.  If you have an existing fanbase, you will see increased market research, networking, and engagement opportunities. 


Let’s see how you can build an engaging online community from the ground up to benefit your upcoming event. 


Step 1: Decide On The Format Of Your Online Community Organizations

Event planners need to identify the best platform for their online community. Many options are depending on your end goals for this group. 


Social media platforms, like Facebook or LinkedIn, offer free communities with basic features. Chances are your target audience is already present on these online platforms, so they will likely build a consistent presence in these spaces. 


However, you will have to design community guidelines, create a content calendar of topics you’d like to discuss, and closely monitor posts for spam or unrelated issues. They may also be limiting depending on your target demographic, which may not frequent the type of social media platform you choose.


Paid communities are a good option for professionals who want to distance themselves from social media and curate features that benefit their members. They offer essential features like:

  • API Access

  • Automated Moderation

  • Multiple Rooms For Thought Sharing 

  • Conversational Topics For Members 

  • Area For Training Or Upskilling 


Depending on what you want to do with your community before and post-event, you should choose the right platform for your community. 


No matter which path you choose, the community needs to be a place where your target audience wants to show up and offers you the most benefits towards the success of your event. 


Step 2: Test Your Community With A Private Group

A soft launch is a great way to work out any community issues before you increase your reach. 


Offer private invitations to a select few of your target audience who you think will engage with your online community. 


This will allow you to obtain feedback from their initial experience and get to know your target audience even better. Once you adjust your community based on the input, you can plan your official launch. 


Remember to continue to learn and refine your community to curate the most valuable experience for yourself and members of your community.  Use this time to begin building a content library for community members to access before, during, and after your virtual event. 


Step 3: Launch Your Community Before Your Online Event

Now it’s time to open the doors to your community. Professionals in the event management industry know that practice makes perfect. 


Invite your target audience, speakers, and email list to preview what your community has to offer. Your speakers can connect influencers and other valuable contacts to your community to broaden the audience and enhance the conversations circulating within the group.


Provide email templates to affiliates to use when inviting others to join the online community and be upfront with your expectations. 


You’ll want them to send these out at least 30 days before event day to provide enough time to drum up interest in the community and virtual event. 


Step 4: Interact With Your Community 

Once requests to join start increasing, it’s time to engage with your community to build trust and loyalty. 


You need to begin networking with your attendees right away to get an idea of who they are, how you can best serve them, and why they care about the topic of your next event. 


Put yourself out there to ensure attendees recognize your face and connect your presence to your topic. Create a robust and authoritative presence in your community to ensure the conversation flows in the right direction. 


Here are some things you can do to help community members learn more about you and each other. 

  • Provide A Variety Of Networking Opportunities. 

  • Post Free Resources And Downloads 

  • Ask Direct Questions About Themselves And Why They Are Participating In Your Event 

  • Create A Content Posting Schedule To Provide Regular Content To Spark Conversation 

  • Inject Fun With Gamification Or Fun Icebreakers 


Building solid relationships within your virtual community will show your target audience that you value them more than customers. 


This helps build trust and brand loyalty amongst your community leading up to your online event date. 


Step 5: Follow-Up, Collect Data, And Build Relationships 

After your virtual event, follow up with your community within 24 hours. Gather critical data on how the event was perceived, what attendees thought went well, and what they would like to see in the future. 


By reaching out to your community post-event, you will continue to build critical relationships that will lead to potentially larger events and a higher number of guests in the future. 


Continue to nurture your online community in between events. As you formulate your next event plan, you will bounce ideas off community members and offer specific content that you notice they want within community discussions. 


Build Communities To Strengthen The Effectiveness Of Your Event Planning

Online communities and virtual events go hand in hand. By providing a space online, attendees can build connections while you grow your user base. 


They also act as a hub for your content strategy as you post interesting content that will resonate with your target audience. 


You can also build out sub-communities centered around specific job roles, topics, or areas of expertise to further engage your audience. 


BeaconLive can help you build your online community and plan your next successful community event. 


With our event planning team, responsive customer service, and live tech support, BeaconLive makes connecting with your audience more straightforward than ever. 


Topics: Virtual Events, Virtual Events: Best Practices, Virtual Events: Promotion & Planning

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