For professionals working remotely, communities are all the rage. They are trusted inner circles that help them grow, connect, interact and upskill.
But what separates a thriving online community from the rest?
A variety of community events can play a huge role not only in engaging members but also in connecting professionals and building relationships.
To understand this from an insider’s perspective, we recently spoke to Asher Mathew, CEO & co-founder, Partnership Leaders. Asher runs a community that’s dedicated to providing a space for (yes, you guessed it) partnership professionals to come together, share and gain insights, upskill and grow.
Here are the four top takeaways from the conversation:
Have a game plan
For starters, you’ll need a marketing function to manage and run your community’s event needs. Once you have your marketing team in place, it helps to get the pulse of what your members are talking about or interested in learning.
Here’s how Asher describes his event strategy for Partnership Leaders:
“We would take the top conversations that are happening inside of PL and would say, okay I think people would want to listen to about this and so we would just run a webinar or event on the topic.”
From a quarterly perspective, Partnership Leaders’ event programs are typically broken into:
- Month one: Do a event that is crowdsourced
- Month two: Do another event that was crowdsourced
- Month three: we would do a much larger event and bring thought leaders from outside onto a virtual event to talk about the same two topics.
The best time to start running events is now
For those starting off with creating a community, is there a perfect time to consider hosting a webinar or virtual event?
Asher suggests the sooner the better, simply because of the power that events hold in getting people together.
“When you run an event, you can connect people on a panel, and then there's another relationship that those people form, so events really help you promote people's brands”, says Asher.
Co-creation is the way to go
To truly run events that make a difference to your community members or promise value to prospective members, it pays to understand what they want. This is where it can be a great idea to, let’s say, involve your members while you’re conceptualizing your topics and sessions and get real-time inputs as you put your event together.
Asher highly recommends this approach for anyone looking to engage and grow their community with events.
“Our upcoming conference, Catalyst, is being built with its attendees - so the 150 or so people that have bought tickets already are participating in building the content for the conference! it's just a very different way of building something and making sure that you ensure value because the people are on the journey with you.”
Measure event success from different angles
Any event’s success is tied to its goals. For communities, events are run to engage and nurture existing members as well as to acquire new ones. When we asked Asher how he measures the success of events at Partnership Leaders, he suggested looking at events as products.
“You really need to look at event as a product and say well what is the output of the event? Yes it is about attracting new prospects and converting them into customers but the customer success view of an event is to promote people's brands, connect them at a different level and help them tell their story so that they can be viewed as a human who has rich experiences.”
He then adds that you can gauge your event’s success from these angles:
- From a customer acquisition perspective, look at how much your database has increased in terms of new sign ups, post your event
- From a customer success perspective, track how many members attended your event, how many times have they attended your events in a year - this will help you with renewals.
So, go ahead and consider experimenting with four strategies outlined here. By running successful events, you’ll not only help grow your community but also deepen your relationship with your existing members.
Also, it doesn’t hurt to listen to your community's feedback and adjust your approach accordingly to ensure your events continue to meet their needs and expectations!