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How Your Online Community Can Make Your Conference a Success

Written by Paul Schneider on March 3, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Online Communities Make Successful Conferences

With conference attendance down in recent years, many groups have looked at their online community as a means of carrying through the networking and educational benefits that members used to enjoy from their conference. This has resulted in groups looking at the online community and the event as two separate entities.

However, this is a mistake. Many membership organizations are achieving significant results by treating the two ‘tools’ as complimentary services that can benefit each other. What are we seeing that is working? Here are a few examples:

Using Your Online Community Before the Conference to Drive Attendance

  • Showcase Your Event’s Value in Your Online Community Throughout the Year
  • Post a Justification Letter That Your Members Can Use
  • Get People Excited by Highlighting Twitter Feed and Hashtag Activity
  • Create a Conference Blog
  • Create an Attendee Forum Where Members Can Ask Questions About Conference
  • Provide Access to Presentation files

Using Your Online Community During the Conference

  • Update Your Members Through the Conference Blog
  • Use Mobile Technology to Enhance the Attendee Experience
  • Let Attendees be Attendees by Making Sure Your Technology Does Not Get in the Way of Their Conference Experience

Using Your Online Community After The Conference

  • Provide Attendees Access to Presentation Files
  • Extend the Content and Create Additional Revenue Through Webinars
  • Survey Attendees for Next Year
  • Increase Attendee Benefits and Member Engagement by Giving Access to All Presentations to Members Who Did Not Attend (months later)

As you can see, your online community can complement your events very effectively. While each offers unique advantages, when you focus them on one goal, your members, attendees and organization all benefit.

Nine low-cost member engagement strategies for associations.

(photo credit: markhillary)

Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Associations

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