Why Every Virtual Event Needs a Community Manager (by @LaurenEHarper) #cmgr


The following is a guest post by Lauren Harper.

Introduction

One of the main goals for every community manager is to help build and facilitate engagement. Virtual events are no different. There are many reasons for companies to host a virtual event. Whether trying to promote a product or service, generate leads, or simply showcasing thought leadership, virtual events prove to be an important strategy for businesses of all kinds.

It is important to have goals outlined ahead of time for each virtual event, and having a community manager on your virtual event can only help to attain those goals. Virtual events need community managers to generate excitement, facilitate engagement, grow the community, employ any and all social business initiatives and strengthen overall brand recognition.

The following are some important areas to focus on:

Engagement

Regardless of the reasons for hosting a virtual event, one of the main goals should always be to connect with all attendees. Community managers can help pave that path of collaboration by reaching out to attendees one-on-one.

They can also take charge of all social activity surrounding an event in order to help achieve goals of engagement and knowledge sharing before, during, and after the event. Depending upon what kind of platform is being used, community managers can also help inspire conversation among attendees by asking questions and replying to comments. Similarly, community managers can help direct people back to the actual company website to ask questions, or download relevant research.

Even if the goal isn’t to have the attendees interact with each other, it is still important that they engage with the topic, speaker, and the company as a whole, and community managers can help facilitate that. Also, having a community manager present offers a great chance to have a “face” for the company and help humanize the brand.

Platform Assistance

Virtual events have grown exponentially in popularity over the last few years. Due to the overwhelming demand for them, many event platform vendors have emerged. It’s important to have a community manager present to help visitors not only figure out how to log on, dial in, or sign in to the event, but to also help with any other difficulties that attendees may have.

By having the community manager troubleshoot simple issues, the event producers are able to focus on ensuring that the speakers have everything they need, and to sort out any technical issues they may have.

Collect Feedback

Allowing the community manager to engage with attendees creates an easy way to collect feedback that can be disseminated to the speakers and host company, post-event. Customer feedback is an essential element to a company’s success.

Having an actual human listen in to your community’s feedback and take note of any new or inventive ideas helps to make virtual events a more enjoyable experience for the participant. This will ultimately lead to better attendance rates for future events. It also helps the audience feel as though it is are being listened to and valued, again, leading to a better overall experience for the broader community.

Promotion

Community managers are also a great source of free promotion for your events. Virtual events present a great opportunity for them to promote any other upcoming live or virtual event that the company is hosting. They presumably know the community better than anyone and would know how best to promote an event to reach the target audience. Better yet, they could reach out to people individually and invite them to attend the event.

Community managers can help combine virtual events with their company’s social business initiatives by leveraging all the social media sites the company has a presence on. Posting to social media networks during events in real time can help to reach a broader audience, and boost brand recognition.

Distributing content from the event, e.g.: tweets with quotes, slide URLs, etc., will attract a lot of attention from the social sphere. Companies may find that people will join in mid-event to hear what the speakers have to say.

Conclusion

No matter what type of virtual event you host, there is a real need for a community manager. Community managers are invaluable for event promotion, feedback collection, user experience and audience engagement initiatives.

They also help to retain a consistent audience as companies continue to host events. Virtual events are a great tool to showcase a company’s vibrant community, which inevitably is the thing that will keep people coming back.

About The Author

Lauren Harper is the Sales and Marketing Community Manager at Focus.com. Follow Lauren on Twitter at @LaurenEHarper.

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3 Responses to Why Every Virtual Event Needs a Community Manager (by @LaurenEHarper) #cmgr

  1. Virtual events and communication are definitely among the best tools a Marketing manager may have at his side. However, given also my personal experience, I would stress the importance of these factors:

    A) Feedback is representative if it is given in large numbers, same as statistics
    B) As a direct consequence of point A), a reliable panel should contain all possible information on clusters of respondents, such as age, Country, lifestyle, etc. Such a classification would be extremely difficult to be traced with the current social media
    C) If you wish to collect valuable information during an event, the Host should be able to juggle between open and close kinds of question and keep them short and simple
    D) Be careful about the fact that social media inputs may backfire at you for every which reason. An example of this recently happened in Australia with Qantas Airlines. Here is a summary of the facts http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/qantas-makes-hash-of-tweet-campaign-20111122-1nsa4.html

    • Lauren Harper says:

      Hi Cesare,

      Thank you for your response, and thanks for sharing the link to the story about Qantas (very interesting!). I agree that companies need to be careful about what they put on social media- it’s important to have a strategy for how to best utilize social media channels surrounding your events.

      Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

  2. rgrove says:

    Thanks for the informative post. As a producer of a yearly virtual festival, your comments have helped me understand how our organization can make our event more appealing.

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