If you don’t have an online community associated with your event, you are missing out! Online communities are all the rage these days and are popping up all over the internet. You might even be part of one, or many for that matter.

But if not, an online community is a place for like-minded people to build relationships, share information, articles, resources and even glean advice from their peers in their industry.

Here are three big ways hosting an online community could benefit your event and attendees:

1. Drives deeper communication and relationships at your event.

Having an online community that people can join leading up to your event is a fantastic way to build relationships and start conversations before attending. This greatly increases the amount of conversations that will take place at your event because there is context for people to start conversations. They can also pick up where the conversation stopped online. People don’t have to go through the awkward get to know you small talk, because they generally know others attending.

2.Your attendees can meet your speakers

Use the online community to host AMA (ask me anything) sessions with your speakers leading up to your event. Your speakers can give teasers into what they’ll be speaking on.  The personal interview will build value for your attendees at your event.  They will feel more connected to the speaker since they have heard some of their backstory, which will translate to them paying attention just a bit more. It’s a win-win for everyone.

3.Gather invaluable information from the people in your community

Hosting a community allows you to feel the pulse by reading the conversations taking place in the channels.. See what topics people are interested in, what types of questions they are asking, what resources they are sharing, etc.  Even ask questions that you’d like to hear input or feedback on. This invaluable information can help to shape your future event topics, breakout session ideas, marketing and more!

Hosting an online community is definitely no cakewalk and requires a dedicated person to moderate, curate and monitor.  Stay tuned as we will be following this with a special guest post, Three Things to Consider Before Starting an Online Community.