Creating a Live Event Framework for my community :)


(Suzi Nelson) #1

Hey gang!

I am tasked with creating the framework for live events for one of our customer groups.

My community is made up of customers who have purchased one of our products, and is geared around peer-to-peer support. The idea behind the live event initiative is to help them organize in-person meetups so we can scale this puppy.

Does anyone currently do this for their communities? I’m in the research phase, so logistics, cost, guidelines, insurance/licenses, and branding risks are all topics of interest. Anyone have any insight on their own strategy they can share or point me to some CMs who are doing cool things with member-hosted live events?


(Sarah Hawk) #2

I think @katelynrae might a good person to check in with here, I know she has plenty of experience with offline events.

@dun3buggi3 too. Check out Running Offline Community Events and Meetups – it has some great tips and ideas.


(Darren Gough) #3

Hey @Suzi_Nelson. Sounds like a great opportunity.

Quick question : would your company be actively involved in running the event start to finish, or is the idea to create an “event pack” where the logistics are taken care of, but the members can pick it up and deliver the event themselves?


(Katelyn MacKenzie) #4

@Suzi_Nelson The meetups that I host are more community driven. What I found best was if you find a common ground for hosting the meetups you will get enough traction and find others that would love to help and host it!

My questions for you are : What kind of meetup do you want this to be? More of a support meetup? A meetup for other members to get together and just be social? One that others can do lightning talks or an educational one?

The best way to scale a meetup and to find those who want to help host is to get everyone around a common goal or a mission.


(Suzi Nelson) #5

yassssss you guys are awesome.

Ideally, we would like to create the event pack and members can deliver themselves.

My original idea was to creating a networking event where our members could meet each other face to face - they are constantly asking how to locate members in their city, so I’m confident they are ready for some sort of live event. But I do think there needs to be more of a draw than just networking. Lightening talks and educational talks would be a great option, but I have no idea how to structure that logistically. It would be so cool to require them to record it so we could have more content for our Content Team to put out.

Then there’s the issue of brand risk, licenses, insurance, etc. I’m also wondering if it would be better to start local, figure out what people want, and THEN scale, but my boss wants to announce this to a group of our community leaders next month (!!!) so we might not have the option to start small.


(Katelyn MacKenzie) #6

So creating lightning talks is not as scary as you think. Just have to give guidelines like only 10 min to talk, it has to be within these parameters etc. Educational talks can be from someone who is a super user within your members or be done by someone who works at your company. Those talks could be done via google hangouts.

As for brand risk, the people who are helping you run these meetups will have to fall under the idea that they are “Brand Ambassadors” for you. So they have to follow certain guidelines there. Like keeping the talks structured around your product, how they have used it, tips and tricks. They also need to communicate with you before announcing a meetup so you can review content to make sure it is on “Brand”. As for licenses and insurance, are you needing to give them special access to parts of your product? If not, then I don’t see why you need to worry about licensing. You want to make this easy for your Super Users or Brand Ambassadors to host events. And what is the deal with insurance? If you ask a venue to be your “Venue sponsor” they usually have docs that you can sign and they have insurance for these reasons.


(Scott Gould) #7

Hi @Suzi_Nelson - check out the TEDx resources for running events - they are very thorough, and free.


(Suzi Nelson) #8

Fantastic resource, thank you!


(Suzi Nelson) #9

My CEO mentioned looking into insurance and licensing, I’m not sure what he was going with there. I’ll get more info on this - this might be a case of making sure we’re talking about the same thing, ha


(Richard Millington) #10

I’d definitely start with just one small meetup close to you first to see how it works and adapt the framework around that.

Almost every event that uses hosts meetups around the world tend to begin that way. I think it helps a lot to have an idea of what people will respond to first and assess the demand for it in each region.

Insurance is definitely going to be an issue, but in the events we’ve hosted in the past tends to come to a few hundred dollars. I don’t think it will stretch beyond that.


(Suzi Nelson) #11

Hey all! Thanks for helping me out - and thanks @katelynrae for jumping on a call with me/answering my thousands of questions in Facebook chat (seriously y’all, she’s awesome).

I just made a first draft of my business case for the live events! Here’s the gist, in case it’s helpful to anyone else:

ABOUT THE EVENTS

  • These are going to be member-led, monthly events
  • Organizers can choose between three meeting structures (demos, lightning talks, keynotes)
  • Proposing we start one here in Austin first, so we can get a feel for it and make changes before official launch
  • After audience analysis, I’m proposing that events are free to our community and a small fee for non-members
  • All organizers have to complete an application and phone interview

BENEFITS
Business:
➢ Increase in participation in online community
➢ Increase in retention to product (monthly membership)
➢ Increase in WOM referrals to product
➢ Increase customer satisfaction
➢ Increase knowledge of our product
➢ Increase brand loyalty
➢ Additional value proposition for product

Attendee:
➢ A deeper understanding of our brand & products
➢ Real-life case studies to inspire their own strategies
➢ Networking with other marketers in their area
➢ Knowledge-sharing and troubleshooting
➢ Peer-to-peer support
➢ Increase in Sense of Community around our brand (Membership, Influence, Fulfillment of Needs, Shared Emotional Connection)

Organizer:
➢ Support and resources from our team
➢ More direct access to staff (namely, me)
➢ Building authority in their space
➢ Access to other organizers where they can discuss issues and share best practices
➢ Appreciation and esteem from a group of their peers
➢ Appreciation and esteem from our brand
➢ Pride in ownership of the live event experience

EVENT PACKS (for organizers)

  • Thank you note from our CEO
  • Branded name tags
  • Stickers
  • Tabletop signage (so newbies can find them easily)
  • Slide Decks for demos
  • Video training on best practices
  • Tech requirements
  • Organizers only swag (like a tshirt or backpack)

BRAND RISK MANAGEMENT

  • Anonymous post-meeting survey to attendees
  • Organizers must be vetted and sign Code of Conduct/Handbook
  • Firm exit strategy for organizers (if they miss 3 meetings, they’re out; three strikes from the post-meeting survey info)
  • Branding guidelines and resources available in an online Organizer’s Toolkit

Thats the gist of it. I still dont have anything on the insurance or how I’m actually going to FIND these organizers (I have some ideas there, though), but mainly wanted to give you guys some tips in case you have to write your own business case someday.

NOT included here:

Cost (I’m suggesting we reimburse a little each meeting to at least cover some drinks or pizza); cost also includes event pack development, content developement, staff salary, and a phone line so I can be contacted easily.

Audience Analysis - I broke down our client base by city (internationally… that was a lot of cities to go through) and found our top 10 US cities and top 10 International cities

Phases - I detailed how to roll this out in three phases: Austin first, then out to our top 10 US cities, then international.

I think that’s everything! I hope this helps someone and if anyone sees anything in this with a big red flag on it, please let me know :slight_smile:


(Katelyn MacKenzie) #12

This looks good!! And just as a tip for others looking to scale this is, the organizer does not have to be a subject expert. That you can have an organizer and have someone else speak for that topic within that month!