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Build event engagement through your online member community

by | May 20, 2021 | Online Community

The conversation doesn’t have to stop when your event is over.

Use your online member community to get members engaged with your event and keep them engaged long term.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager

By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Manager, Community Brands

 

This past year, association events have gone through a lot of changes. Your association might have typically focused on an annual in-person event to provide learning and networking activities for your members. Last year, you probably moved to webinars and other virtual events. Now you might be thinking about moving to hybrid events or even back to in-person events.

But no matter what type of events you’re running, here’s something to consider: The conversation doesn’t have to stop when the event is over. In fact, you can enhance and extend engagement before, during, and after your events through your online member community.

TIP: YourMembership AMS includes online community functionality. It’s built into YourMembership’s association management software to help you increase social and community collaboration.

Why use your online community to build event engagement?

Here are some reasons to take this approach:

  • Many of your members are already engaging in your online community. You can leverage that engagement to enhance engagement around your event.
  • You’re likely attracting members to your virtual or hybrid events who have not been able to attend in-person events in the past. Recent association industry research from Community Brands suggests that members who have become more involved with their organization have done so because their organization is offering more online resources. Your online community is a chance to keep those members engaged.
  • You already put a lot of work into your events. You can use the excitement and momentum from those events to get members more engaged long term.

Easy ways to build event engagement through your online member community

Putting your online member community to work for event engagement doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few simple ways to build event engagement through your community:

  • Promote your event by posting announcements about it in your online community.
  • Create a discussion group about the event for registered attendees, and then invite them to use the group to talk about the event and connect with each other ahead of time.
  • Post sneak peeks into upcoming event content, such as an outline of a session or short videos from session speakers that offer teasers of what topics will be covered. Then, invite members to comment and discuss by posting questions, such as:
    • What are you looking forward to learning from this session?
    • Why do you think about this session topic?
    • What has been your experience around this session topic?
  • Set up discussion groups in your online community that align with topics from your event session. After each session or event, point attendees to the corresponding online community group to discuss ideas from the session. Kick off the discussions by posting questions such as:
    • What was your biggest takeaway from the session or event?
    • What are your biggest challenges around [topic]?
    • What are your predictions for the future about [topic]?
  • Keep an eye on event-related discussions to find members who are most engaged and experienced on specific subjects, and then invite them to comment and offer insights when those discussion topics come up again on your online community. This is a great way to continue to boost member engagement far beyond the event.

Using these types of approaches, you can get members more connected with your events and keep members connected with your organization and with each other for years to come. Continuing these conversations in your online community has the added benefit of giving you insights into what your attendees find valuable and what you can improve on.

Learn more techniques for using your online community to increase member engagement. Read The Small Association’s Guide to Taking Your Online Member Community to the Next Level.

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