As Doctor Seuss once said,
“It’s fun to have fun but you have to know how.”
Who knew that an author best known for his frankly slightly terrifying children’s books would come up with something that applies so well to event planning?
(Side note: I legitimately had nightmares about the Lorax as a child. Those fingers…shudder).
Anyway, part of what makes an event planner successful is your professional experience in knowing just how to pull off a good time. And that applies to your online presence, too. It may look like fun content being shared, but there’s a lot of hard work that goes into it!
With social media becoming no longer just an optional extra but a must-have, it’s crucial for event planners to stay on top of their game when it comes to the online world. The goal? To build a fantastic community of engaged users who interact and respond. This goes beyond just attendees. We’re talking about becoming a community curator.
But what is a community curator? Some of you may be wondering. That’s what we’re here to break down for you. We’ll start off with the basics and then move on to tips you can use to become a great one yourself! We hope you’ll see that while it does take some time and dedication, it is definitely something you can do. You’ve got this!
First things first: What is a community creator?
This is one of those rare times when a Google search may not help you! Why’s that? A search for “what is a community creator” takes you to information about the creator of the television programme Community (his name is Dan Harmon, and while he looks very nice this article is not about him. Sorry, Dan).
It just means someone who creates and manages communities online, generally through social media networks. They’ll create a voice and persona, often for a brand, then go out there and connect with their existing and potential customers. It’s a great way to spread the word about a brand and work on associating values and a personality with it. They can also chat to customers and share real-time information about a live event.
It doesn’t always have to be a brand, though. You can also build communities around a certain event or person. But the idea is still the same – connecting with a core audience and getting them involved online.
For an event planner, it’s the same sort of thing as trying to get people to participate in the events you plan. It can also directly benefit your projects, as having an engaged community will make it more likely that they’ll show up.
Now, let’s talk about how you can do that.
Tips for being an effective community creator
Be passionate and genuine about what you’re promoting
Inauthenticity is one of the quickest ways to sink a brand online. If you’re an event planner, you probably already love what you do (even when the going gets tough!). That’s a great place to start! Enthusiasm translates pretty well online.
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint
What often happens with online communities is this: you get really excited at the beginning and can’t stop finding cute, funny and interesting things to share. Then you realise that getting followers is slow going, never mind getting them to share and like your content. And shortly afterwards, you start running out of interesting things to post.
What you’ve got to do at this point is just keep going. You may want to think about other ways you can try to attract followers, but don’t stop!
Try out different things
One of the nice things about social media is that stuff generally doesn’t stick around for long. (Check out this post about social media “half life” times if you don’t believe me). Why is this nice? Well, if you post something that doesn’t work at all, you can try something else pretty quickly. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what works best.
Respond to interactions as quickly as possible
If somebody leaves a comment, reply to them! Even if it’s just to say “Thanks”, it’ll go a long way towards creating loyalty and a sense that their input matters (both excellent ways to form a community). They’ll feel like your on their side and that you care.
You can also do your bit by encouraging interactions. Ask people to comment, like and share your stuff. Though it seems obvious, and maybe even a bit redundant at times, this really does get people interacting more.
Know who you want to talk to
If everybody loved your events, wouldn’t that be great? It just wouldn’t be very realistic – though we are sure a lot of people do enjoy them! Anyway, part of success in creating a community is deciding who you want that community to be made up of. Are you going to connect with other event planners? People who are in a certain sector that you plan events for? The people who hire event planners?
Once you’ve got that figured out, it becomes easier to nail down what sort of stuff you should be sharing.
If this is too tricky at first, think about how you want to come across online. What sorts of things do you want people to feel or think about your brand?
A little bit of creativity can go a long way. Maybe you can encourage people to interact with your page by running a fun photo contest, or give them a great discount on tickets to your next event in exchange for tweeting something about your brand. The possibilities are endless!
Check out what other brands are getting right
There are lots of brands doing fantastic stuff out there on social media. Invest some time in seeing what they’re doing, and then think about how you can incorporate some of those tricks into your own community curation role.
Bringing it all back to Doctor Seuss, don’t forget to have fun. Social media is actually supposed to be fun. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself or take it too seriously. Have a serious go at it, but don’t forget what it’s all about in the end.
That wraps up our introduction to community curation for event planners. If you use the same skill set that helps you out for your events, you’ll be well on your way to building a great community online that will help your events become bigger and better, too!
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