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And we're back with our 5th Community Roundtable. Our roundtable discussion was led by 8 volunteer leaders from CommunityHood. So get ready to know some pro tips for planning virtual events from the community builders of Apna, BRANDfluenzers, Niche Marketers Community, and many more!
If you're in search of a platform for running a community, then check out LikeMinds now! Our platform offers great inbuilt features that make it super easy to manage members and moderate the community.
Before moving towards what goes behind planning a roundtable or any event at CommunityHood, I want to share a few things from the community industry report that we had created last year - The State Of Indian Community Management. Following are some of the stats from it:
78% of Indian community builders are hosting at least one event every month. So, hosting virtual events is becoming common and this is the data from last year. I'm sure that this has gone up from there.
76% of community builders state that their event participants are experiencing webinar fatigue. Because these events are increasing, you have to innovate a few things and make them something that people find value for.
Every event is a request for time. That is how we should generally look at it while conducting any event and the amount of time that everyone is spending in the event, they should take away something from the event.
One of the biggest challenges that people face in conducting these virtual events is retaining participants throughout the event, marked as a challenge 23 times. The report was created with the participation of 180 community builders.
The top three metrics for success that people had indicated in events were the participant interaction, the turnout and the returning participants in an event. This shows the belongingness, which is one of the biggest reasons why people want to host events.
The top three attractions for any event came out to be the event topic (28%), the event content (25%) and the speakers (22%). So, the event topic becomes the most important. At least that is what the other community builders have been talking about.
Stages Of Planning An Event
The first stage is research and goal setting - why you want to conduct an event and even before that, what is it that you want to achieve from an event from a broad company's strategic perspective. And then, for each event, there could be different objectives.
For example, whether the objective is to increase the new member acquisition rate, or to increase the engagement in the community. We at CommunityHood have different formats of events using this philosophy and now we don't need to work on these things every time we do an event.
For us, let's say if it's a roundtable event, then the main goal is to have deeper community engagement, more than member acquisition as the core business objective. So, we don't need to think of it every time now because the series of events are defined. This is where we generally start our journey for a defined event format now.
After that, we have to curate an event, do its branding, attract attendees, and then do a lot of coordination and planning. Lastly, we evaluate everything and try to look at it from different perspectives.
Define the event format & choose the platform (While defining the format, note the following points)
Number of speakers
Number of attendees
Attendees can speak, or participate in between or not
Any slides or videos needs to be presented
Need of interaction between the participants
Post-event follow-ups, doubts or materials to be circulated
Give a catchy name to your event
If possible, create a website or landing page
Market your event
Run paid campaigns, if needed
Social media promotions
Coordination And Planning
Documentation of checklists with deadlines
Define the responsibilities of the organising team
Choose the host and guest speakers
Finalise the time and date
Evaluating The Plan
Duration of the session
Trial/dry run before the event
Exploring the capabilities of the tool
Event Reminders/Calendar invites
If possible, please have someone to take the questions of the participants
Major Event Goof Ups
Some of the goof ups that happen in the events and their solutions are as follows:
The platform, device and internet glitches - Be sure that the platform, the device and the internet connection that you are using are well tested.
Low attendee turnout - A lot of times it happens and a way to make it stop is to figure out what percentage of people who RSVP as yes turn up eventually. We have seen that out of the number of people that RSVP as yes on our calendar invites, 70% of them actually turn up. This is how we have been fairly precise in predicting how many people are going to attend our event.
Low registrations - It is a big problem, especially if you don't have enough budget or enough social media clout. My recommendation is to not host events unless you have a guarantee of at least 20-30 people attending.
Last minute speaker cancellations - Always make sure to block their calendars in advance. Have multiple conversations with them about the event, keep them informed so that they also feel obligated and they do not make any other plans beforehand.
The audience is bored and is leaving - This was mentioned as one of the biggest challenges by the Indian community builders. Make sure that you don't talk about things that are not relevant or things that are not entertaining in your events. So, people join for learning or entertainment. Try and keep a healthy mix of both.
Time zone mismatch - Use tools which are timezone friendly by design. For example, Google Calendar is time zone sensitive. You don't need to customize anything, Google does it for you.