If you’re considering planning community programs, like meetups, you have probably done most of the hard work building your community to this point. You’ve spent time seeding discussions, connecting with your members, and have seen the signs that your community wants more engagement with each other. Community meetups come to mind, and they seem to be the best option to start with.
Meetups can range from in person to remote to hybrid. They can be created by community managers, for their members, or even by members, for members. To give you a firm definition, “community meetings are any member-created or member-to-member event or program that encourages community and relationship building through discussions and bonding over certain topics or ideas”.
We will dive into types of meetups and why they are important, so hopefully you can use this to decide which meetup should be first.
Let’s check it out:
- Thought Leadership Driven
- Happy Hours
These are exactly as they sound. Your members want to meet the people behind their keyboards. They want to connect in person and build even more meaningful relationships. They want to bond over these shared experiences.
These networking meetups can be done virtually, in-person, and even hybrid (although hybrid may be a bit difficult, so make sure to plan!) Jen Serrat, Community Manager Coach at CoachHub, shared how networking meetups are “ a great way to make (y)our community smaller, especially with how dispersed we are becoming! I connected with a fellow CM from Nigeria and we are still in touch. “
Thought Leadership Driven Meetups
These meetups can be used as strategic operations for your company. Have a prospect account you need a little extra love on? Have them come speak at the community event. These thought leadership focused events are key to providing value.
If you’re a customer community, what are you doing to provide more value so your members come to you not only for support, but for the value your community brings in many areas of their lives? Thought Leadership meetups are commonly held as “salons” where your speaker talks for about 20-30 minutes, and your attendees are given questions to discuss in their small groups.
These events are commonly seen in person and online. “It's a great alternative to Sales or Marketing events, conferences, or webinars because it puts our members in the driver's seat and allows them to share ideas… It also elevates their profile not just within our Community but among their industry peers, boosting their visibility and thought leadership (especially if they're organizing the event or presenting)", shared Aaron White, Groups Program Manager at Anaplan.
Community Happy Hours
These programs can often be the most rewarding for our community members. There is often no set agenda other than maybe a “welcome” and a “thank you” to the attendees. These may require cost from your budget, but depending on your venue, they may cover one round of drinks and some appetizers in hopes your attendees will spend some money.
What we love most about these meetups is the casual-ness that these encourage. Members are more comfortable. They don’t have to dress up or feel like they need to impress with some intellectual discussion. Instead, they get to truly know their other community peers.
Tracking Community Meetups
You are probably wondering what makes these meetups successful. You can see where the value of them comes from. You know what options you have (of course, get creative). But now we need to show that these are valuable to the overall health of the community, and even your supporting company.
When you are tracking community meetup success, some things to consider are how often your members are returning. Are the same members coming over and over again? Are they bringing friends? If so, why? If not, why? These indicators will help you learn the value of these meetups to your members.
Then, start creating ways to track within your CRM so you can attribute a lower churn rate to your community meetups. For example, you will be able to see if members that routinely attend meetups have a lower churn rate, therefore showing that community meetups actually reduce churn and help to keep customers. Even better if you can show that the meetups are triggers for conversations about expanding into your accounts. Obviously, these past indicators will be more important for customer communities than evangelism.
Getting Started with Community Meetups
Spend some time creating a list of the meetups that you want to pursue, and bring it to the next article where we will discuss how to get the ball rolling on the meetups you are hoping to launch.
March 14, 2022
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