Discover the perfect link between BtoB communities and digital events!
Is there a real link between digital event production and community engagement? Find out in this article! 🤓
For months, webinars, conferences or lives were on all our screens. It's a fact: the Covid-19 crisis has led many B2B and B2C companies to multiply virtual events.
But while events were the focus of attention, another (yet complementary) approach was relegated to the background: community building. You know, this essential approach, which aims at building and animating a community of members pursuing common goals... All this, in the long term, and not (only) during a succession of digital events?
Today, many companies still consider events and communities as two distinct strategies. At MeltingSpot, we believe that these two concepts are much more related than you might think. Ready to find out our perspective? 👇
Reminder: definitions of an event and a community
Before the practical, a little theory is in order. To make the connection between communities and events, it is essential to know their respective definitions.
💡 An event is a moment of meeting and sharing. It is an appointment established over a limited period of time, which can take different forms: virtual event, physical event, hybrid event...
For example, events can concern trade shows, webinars, open days, round tables, team buildings... In B2B as well as in B2C, events are always excellent internal or external communication levers.
💡 A community represents a group of individuals gathered around common characteristics (values, objectives, culture, center of interest, etc.). In business, the most common communities are customer communities, employee communities, communities of future recruits, partner communities...
In short, communities unite and federate individuals over the long term... In particular thanks to a very powerful lever: events. But beware! Even if these two concepts do not have the same purpose, they feed each other. In 2021, choosing to focus only on one or the other is no longer enough.
Why is it no longer enough to focus solely on an event strategy?
By definition, an event is a one-time meeting moment. It usually lasts only an hour, a day or a week. And for companies and participants alike, the real opportunities to be gained from it do not always lie in the event itself.
Some studies have shown that 90% of leads are more often generated during the pre-event period. Furthermore, 50% of business opportunities occur post-event (Swapcard, 2021). So, if all these opportunities come to life outside of D-Day... Why not interweave events into a more holistic strategy, where each step is optimized? 👀
To improve networking, create new opportunities for meetings, reach more easily the goals of each guest... What if the solution was not only to gather these participants punctually, but to integrate them in the creation of an engaged community?
Think "communities" before thinking "events
If you think that organizing an event can be a starting point for creating a community... You're absolutely right. At MeltingSpot, we believe that communities and events are linked, to the point where you can bring a community to life after a successful event.
However, the most interesting approach is to reverse this process. What if before thinking about "what" to do, you thought about "who" to bring together, in order to achieve your company's goals?
Check out this brief video by Will Curran at the CLG Summit 2023, where he explains the significance and methods of connecting your community to your events.
You've got it: the "who" symbolizes the target, the community. The "what" is a means, like events. And we invite you to think "communities" before thinking "events".
So, the idea is no longer to organize virtual or phygital events by the bucketload, without thinking about the benefits (and consequences) of this strategy in the long term.
It is now crucial to reason beforehand through the lens of community, asking the following questions:
🚀 What are the groups of individuals that gravitate to my company (customers, partners, employees, suppliers, sponsors, future recruits, etc.)?
🚀 Do I already have an audience (for example, on internal or external social networks), which I can turn into a BtoB community?
🚀 If yes, is this audience already rather active (even proactive) or passive?
🚀 What are the common interests and goals of the members of a potential future community?
🚀 Are the future members of this community comfortable with digital channels? (Rest assured, not all communities are 100% virtual!)
🚀 Do you have any initial ideas for animation, content or events to organize, to grow your community in the long run?
All these questions should help you to first focus your efforts on creating a community (or several). The organization of recurring and relevant events will then follow naturally from this strategy, to animate your communities throughout the year.
3 steps to make the link between communities and events
You've understood: the Community Centric approach must precede the Event Centric approach within your company. To achieve this, here is a summary of the 3 steps to follow:
1. Create your community
This step is essential to gather a first core of individuals concerned by the same issues. For example, why not unite the forces of employees, partners or customers, within a group with the same ambition?
To create your BtoB community, we recommend you follow these 7 steps. Spoiler: it is not enough to gather a whole group of individuals to create a committed community... You also need to promote this community (internally or externally), and animate it over time! To achieve this, events will be your number one ally.
2. Develop a content strategy based on events
It is essential to bring strong added value to the members of your community. To achieve this, our advice is the following: focus on relevant and personalized content.
To satisfy and engage your community, you can use different content. For example, when a company decides to develop its community using the MeltingSpot marketing tool, members can download content such as guides or presentations, participate in exchanges on a news feed (like a social network), attend virtual events such as conferences or webinars... All of this on an all-in-one platform, which facilitates interactions 🤝
Finally, don't forget that events are content formats in their own right: they allow you to deliver and exchange a maximum amount of information in a cross-functional way. Whether they are hybrid, physical or virtual events, they allow you to strengthen the bond with your community.
3. Grow your community
A community is not a concept frozen in time. The idea is to make your community(ies) grow, from a qualitative or quantitative point of view, depending on your objectives.
For example, if you want to increase the size of your community or multiply the number of "Ambassador" members within it, certain actions will have to be implemented. Once again, the event is an exceptional promotional lever to make your community grow (see how these two concepts are linked?).
From a qualitative point of view, time will allow you to show continuous improvement. For example, we advise you to collect their feedbacks regularly, to propose animations 100% adapted to their expectations. The idea is to bring maximum value to each member of the community, while taking care of them, all year long.
The good news is that for this step (as for all the others), the MeltingSpot team is at your side. To create, animate and grow your community over time, you can count on our support... So, ready to take the plunge now? 👇