Online Community supporting offline events

(Nick Emmett) #1

So we have two large scale events happening soon for our customers, one in the UK (London) and one in the US (Las Vegas). My question to you guys is how do you a) build momentum to those events in your communities and b) how do you be sure to maximise on the momentum you can build there and keep it moving and growing following the event? Our theme this year is around Brilliant Connections so PERFECT for Community.

(Sarah Hawk) #2

You should connect with @courtney_howell – she was tackling the same challenge.

I found this when I was looking for resources for her.

(Nick Emmett) #3

Nice, thanks @HAWK!

@courtney_howell - any tips on this - has your event run yet? If so how did it go, I’d love to hear how you used your community to build and sustain momentum.

If it hasn’t yet, what are you thinking of doing so far?

(Wouter Schrijvershof) #4

Without specifics it tricky to give tailor made advise but here are some global tips.

  • Make an online place where participants can meet before the event. If possible, make this exclusive for the visitors. A FB group seems to work well and can be used throughout the event.
  • Create content for this group. Think along the lines of exclusive sneak peeks and pictures of the preparations. Half of the fun of an event or party is talking about what to expect or what you are going to do. The pre-party.
  • If it is a recurring event, upload content from previous editions. Show the newcomers what is in store and what they have missed so far.
  • If it is a recurring event, include recurring visitors in the group. They will tell the rest their experiences, anecdotes or they will say hi to people they met the previous time.
  • Upload content during the event or even better let the visitors upload their own content during the event.

Hopes this helps a little.

(Nick Emmett) #5

Nice @WouterS - thanks for sharing, some great ideas here that I’ll definitely use.

(Courtney Howell) #6

Hi @Nick_Emmett!

We just launched a new group within our larger community that’s for this year’s conference attendees. Our conference in is June so we have a couple of months to build up anticipation. I’m working on some content calendars for myself, so many thanks to @WouterS for the inspiration on a couple more items I can add!

So bit of a backstory for you… I’m new to CMing and although our community is almost a year old, it hasn’t had a dedicated CM until me. So I’m definitely researching/experimenting and don’t have much internal data to back up my event strategy at the moment. But here’s my basic plan:

  1. Launch dedicated conference community (done!)
  2. Create and share content in the months leading up to conference [some of the things we’re doing are an “Ask the Expert” series featuring 10 of our speakers; seeding questions about the conference location like best coffee spot in Nashville, best happy hour spot in Nashville, what tourist spot do you most want to visit; and content that inspires people to get to know one another…struggling with this a bit. Our “Introduce Yourself” thread is doing okay, but people aren’t really jumping on their shared items of interest, so I’m brainstorming ways to seed content that will get them more excited about meeting one another.]
  3. Hosting a networking giveaway (we’re going to give away a couple gift cards to people who make plans to get together in Nashville)
  4. Develop post-conference content that will gather and implement attendee feedback

Our main goal with all of this is to enhance the pre-conference networking + get members more familiar with the Community. Already, we’re seeing people who don’t participate in our main forum dipping their toes in the event group. Since our members constantly say they love the networking opportunities at the conference, I’m trying to augment natural, spontaneous connections that will make it easier for them to reach out to one another in person once they’re in Nashville.

We’re also going to have a “Social Networking Lounge” at the actual conference. Our main goal here is to lure people in with fun games that are designed to inspire them to use the community.

Still coming up with my post-conference plan. Digging through the Internet for ideas. Hope this gives you some helpful ideas. Please keep me updated on what you decide to do!

(chiprodgers) #7

Hi @Nick_Emmett,

Coincidentally, I posted a blog last week that covers exactly your questions – how to engage and excite your community before, during, and after major events.

Community “IRL” — 4 Ways to Energize Your Online Community with Live Events

This was really important to us at SAP to the point that the online community and TechEd events were part of the same organization. We were trying to create in effect, an “always on” experience to build excitement ahead of events, and to keep the energy going long after events were over.

(BTW, if you’d like to talk more about it offline, I’d be happy to share some ideas.)


(Nick Emmett) #8

Great article @chiprodgers - thanks for sharing!

(Nick Emmett) #9

Thanks for the reply @courtney_howell - some great ideas in here. I have a month to go before our first event, in London, and two before our US event in Las Vegas, so I’m going to get some of these ideas in to the group we have set up today. I’m adding people to the group as they register.