The need to belong has been intrinsic to humankind since the beginning of our existence, when it was impossible to survive without being part of a group.
Developing this feeling of belonging within a certain audience has always been one of the main goals when planning events, whether they are sales conventions, congresses, or music festivals.
The truth is that holding events has always been the most common and effective way to build communities, even though we have had a hard time calculating the return on each dollar invested.
If making someone feel like part of a community was not a simple task in a scenario where face-to-face experiences were possible, reaching that goal has become even more challenging.
As the Dalai Lama once said, “when you lose, don't lose the lesson”. So, what can we learn from this and what can we do differently from now on?
The focus of this conversation is that both associations and corporate clients need to keep on engaging their communities with or without a pandemic.
The biggest lesson we can learn from it is the need to discuss how we are going to build communities in this VUCA world. And then, discuss event briefings. We all agree that face-to-face experiences are essential within a marketing strategy. It is time we understood that, whether face-to-face, virtual or hybrid, they are just one of the tools we will use to build and activate communities.
Building communities is essentially a brand presence strategy. In other words, the brand or product becomes the centre of a large network that includes content consumption, relationships, knowledge exchange, influence, lead generation and much more.
In order to get there, we need to know our audience's needs and expectations.
In the end, we will be able to build a loyal audience, reputation for our brands and sustainability for our businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic has clearly showed that there were two groups of companies.
The first group consisted of companies with well-structured plans on how to activate and relate to their audiences. Despite the pandemic and thanks to an efficient multichannel strategy, these companies kept managing their communities.
The second group consisted of companies that basically based their actions on face-to-face experiences. Obviously, companies from the second group opened a gap in the relationship with their target audience as well as opening doors to competitors.
You want to discover more about our services? Discover our services
The biggest lesson that our industry has learnt during this crisis is that we must develop community building strategies before we discuss event briefings.
So, here are 6 important tips for you to develop your community building and management strategy and keep winning with or without a pandemic:
1. Channel agnostic strategy
Define in advance which channels you will use to communicate and generate engagement. There is no right or wrong, each channel fulfils its objective, but remember that your content must reach your audience, not the other way round.
2. Content is King
Bill Gates' famous quote also applies to community building. There is no way you can be valued by the community without offering relevant and credible content.
3. Engagement is Queen
If content is the king, surely engagement is the queen. Keeping community members engaged will turn prospects into leads and ultimately leads into customers.
4. Be consistent
Communication must be frequent, relevant and a source of reliable information. Your audience will count on you to keep them up to date.
5. Know your audience
Ask questions, keep an active listening and watch people's behaviour carefully. Be curious and learn from the members of your community.
6. Define KPIs
Define indicators to measure the return based on the community members' engagement analysis. Net Promoter Scores and organic growth are two great indicators to start with.
Remember: a community is made up of people. Despite common interests, each one reacts differently to different triggers. It is essential to be where your audience is to identify which are the best platforms and strategies for your brand to be recognised, admired and to promote organic growth within your community.
Are you ready? Let’s get through this together! The world of activating audiences is evolving - and so are our audience engagement strategies. Whether in the virtual, physical or hybrid world, we can help you adapt and transform while still creating meaningful connections. You can learn more at divebymci.com.