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How to Increase Community Engagement with Webinars and Meetings
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How to Increase Community Engagement with Webinars and Meetings

In 2020, we all experienced a dramatic shift. Suddenly, the face-to-face meetings and in-person connections that members crave were forced into the virtual space. For many associations, the transition was less-than-smooth. But in time, we all came to embrace the opportunities that online events create for networking and education. 

Today, the virtual events you host in your online community are key drivers of engagement, connecting members with learning content and with each other. They help you transform less frequent, ad-hoc interactions into regular, intentional experiences. From formal sessions that deliver education and resources to informal meet-ups that foster member-to-member connections, these events can help you increase engagement and achieve your membership and revenue goals.

As you work to adopt an experience-driven approach to membership growth, you know that you want to:

  • Provide unlimited opportunities for engagement, collaboration, and networking.
  • Increase retention with real-world flexibility that boosts the value of membership.
  • Showcase your adoption of cutting-edge technology and ability to deliver the dynamic experience members are looking for.

A thoughtful plan for hosting webinars and meetings in your online community platform  can help you meet these objectives. 

Making the Most of Online Community Events

 Savvy community leaders know that hosting online community events can help you boost engagement, drive retention, and uncover new opportunities for non-dues revenue. Consider the variety of use cases for webinars and meetings in your online community, including:

Facilitating onboarding. Onboarding is your association’s chance to make a first impression with new members. That means it needs to be memorable and live up to the promise. Use webinars and meetings  to:

  • Provide a guided tour that highlights community resources, walks through common tasks (like finding and enrolling in a course), and encourages new members to join in and complete those tasks themselves.
  • Host a virtual welcome event to put new members at ease and ensure they feel appreciated. Existing members can help with this, serving as ambassadors to bring new members up to speed in the community.

Consistently hosting events. Creating a steady stream of opportunities to engage is the best way to build a vibrant community of practice that keeps members coming back.  Host events of varying types, like:

  • Education sessions, courses, and master classes
  • Small group discussions
  • Office hours, Q&As, or AMAs
  • Member showcases, celebrations, and milestones 
  • Webinars, virtual summits, or conferences
  • “Always open” Zoom meeting rooms that help members get answers on-demand

Inspire increased engagement. Online community events give you a chance to extend your reach and make more frequent, live connections with members.  Inspire participation by:

  • Sending regular, repeated reminders of events so your members never miss an opportunity to connect and learn.
  • Sharing materials in advance of sessions so members feel prepared to participate (and excited about attending!). 
  • NOT recording certain events, which can entice members to join live and create an even more dynamic and exclusive experience.

The Benefits of Zoom Integration

Zoom integration on your community platform can evolve the way you manage and execute events, offering benefits that enhance both the organizer and attendee experiences.

Save time and avoid confusion. Making events easier to attend ensures more members participate. Zoom integration clearly identifies locations and descriptions, automatically adjusts to users’ time zones, and displays event information in both your community platform and the Zoom interface. 

Avoid context switching. Eliminating the need to switch apps saves time and lets members focus on connecting and engaging in your events. Zoom integration allows attendees to join events directly from the platform they’re already using for community interactions and activities. 

Manage all event-related tasks in one place. It can be a hassle to use multiple tools to manage your events. Zoom integration helps you schedule, send reminders, and manage registrant information—all in one place. Plus, Zoom offers a familiar interface that you and your members are most likely comfortable with. 

Taking Zoom Integration to the Next Level

Zoom integration on your online community platform helps you create a seamless experience that boosts member engagement and satisfaction. 

Some additional capabilities that empower you with valuable insights and opportunities to streamline your work include: 

Capture event attendance information. The ability to see who attends an event (not just who registers) can help you enhance follow-up communication and outreach. Tracking attendance over time can also help you determine the best days and times for events, the topics that draw the most attendees, and your most enthusiastic community members.

Distinguish between members and non-members. The ability to dig deeper into event attendance allows you see which events draw participants who are already members and those who have not yet joined. This can help you refine your outreach and marketing strategies for both current and potential members.

Share already-scheduled meetings where members gather. You likely have events scheduled months in advance. Now you’ll be able to include existing meetings, eliminating the need to schedule these events again. 

A Quick Start Guide to Online Community Events

We’ve heard a lot of clients express a need for Zoom integration to support their webinars and meetings on the Forj Platform. As you begin to use it more frequently , we want to inspire you to be thoughtful about creating an event strategy, and help you gain momentum quickly. 

Here are your key takeaways for hosting online community events:

    1. Start small. There are endless opportunities for webinars and meetings in your online community. Start small with a manageable plan and know you can expand in the future. The types of events you host will evolve over time to suit your members’ needs and interests.
    2. Engage members. Talk with your members about the types of events they want to attend. Seeking their input will help you tailor your virtual events to their interests and preferences, ensuring higher levels of participation and engagement.
    3. Experiment and evolve. Continuously experiment with new events. Hosting a variety of virtual events will help you keep the member experience fresh and engaging.

The Forj Community and Learning Platform helps association leaders cultivate a vibrant member experience, and our Zoom integration is a feature that supports your strategy to create a thriving community of practice. Learn more, or reach out to us to request a demo

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