Online communities can complement in-person meetings and have definite advantages:
- They are easier to organise as they do not require travel time and can be done from home
- They are more cost-effective because they are shorter and there are no venue or catering costs
- They can bring more people together from across time zones and geographies, as well as speakers who previously might not see the benefits of giving their time
To build a digital community, there are several steps:
- Why do you want to build a community? A network focuses on getting something out of it, but a community focuses on giving something back. What can you give to your contacts?
- Who do you want to invite as participants or speakers? Given that it is online, you can dream big. Through our proprietary tools we can help identify who should be part of the community.
- When do you want to host the conversation? Since that people will be attending remotely, you can cover more time zones and host it when it suits you.
- Where will you host the conversation? For smaller groups and collaborative conversations we enjoy using Microsoft Teams with video. If your community is hosting a one-to-many conference, tools like Zoom enable participants to see the speaker, their slides or other material, raise their hands and ask questions publicly.
- What will the community address? In a smaller group, all participants need to be well informed and we always share the agenda, biographies and contact details of the participants as well as a pre-read. This ensures the conversation can start immediately after check-in and participants can contribute to a conversation with similar reference points.
- How will you continue to keep your community alive? We have seen regular calls hosted by the community and for the community on Teams, complemented by inspiring speakers joining over Zoom for a one-to-many talk and continuing the conversation and sharing content over closed or by invitation WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups or regular newsletters with news about and for the community, and recommended readings.
We can help you manage the process through our tried and tested methods and experience, as well as continuing to help the community organiser facilitate powerful conversations between key stakeholders.
Please contact us to find out more.