Four reasons community is a top event trend

2 min

Growing event engagement through community building

Event planners are moving towards a community model. One where attendees can interact all year round. And it’s changing the events industry for the better by offering attendees a unique value proposition.

What is a community model?

Starbucks, PlayStation, Peloton, Harley-Davidson, Lego, Oracle. What do all these brands have in common? Strong, global, engaged online communities ranging from a few thousand to millions of members.

Event brands can create communities by transforming their events into a 365-day experience. Planners need to start immersing attendees in a branded online world. One where they can get their fix of networking, content, human connection and news at the click of a button.

IMEX America first timers tour
IMEX America first timers tour

Research conducted by Swapcard among 461 virtual events shows that the pre-and post-event periods are golden opportunities for networking. And that very little business is closed during virtual events in comparison.

Data shows that, on average, over 90% of leads are generated pre-event, compared to as little as 6% during the event. Statistics also show that inbound messages and requests from attendees to exhibitors peak after a live trade show. Meaning that more than 50% of business opportunities fall into their laps once the event is over.

These statistics show that an event’s lifecycle needs to be extended beyond a few days. Engagement happens before and after the event and can therefore happen all year long.

Here are just some reasons why community is an important ingredient to successful and meaningful events.

1. Community increases reach and accessibility

Events have become more accessible than ever before. Thanks, in part, to the industry pandemic induced digital revolution. By erasing physical barriers, more people can attend. An online community is accessible to anyone who has a smartphone or computer. Geographical borders are removed, and the community is inclusive of disabled members.

Not only will your brand be more accessible, but you’ll also increase your reach. By growing a year-round community, you'll find a diverse audience for your events.

Your event platform needs to be versatile. Using social feeds, notifications, live streaming, and AI-powered networking is vital to your community.

2. Personalized journeys for community members

An all-in-one platform powered by Artificial Intelligence has the potential to elevate your members’ and attendees’ experiences. A true AI tool learns more the more it’s used. And constantly improves its algorithm to suggest accurate and more relevant recommendations.

Your community can benefit from a personalized journey from day one. Their profile data will become more sophisticated the more they browse and network on the platform. By the time the event rolls around, your community will be matched up with the perfect people. They can make connections that turn into lasting business relationships.

3. More event marketing opportunities

A poster ad in-person may have substantial effects on brand awareness. But it’s virtually impossible to measure. But when brands advertise on a virtual platform, measuring ROI is simple.

Two attendees reading the Navigation Guide

And with a year-round community, the opportunities for marketing increase tenfold. Newsletters, webinars, and networking are just a few instances throughout the year where ads can be displayed beyond the event.

4. Data availability with multiple touchpoints

The number of touchpoints you have with your attendees increases exponentially with a 365 community model. All those touchpoints on the community platform provide valuable data on what each member likes and responds to. This can guide you in your marketing investments.

Data can teach us how to improve experiences and the reward is unparalleled.

The future of the event industry is moving towards a 365-day community model. Up to 80% of year-round interactions take place online and the other 20% usually take place at the event. Most interactions are moving online, but that won't kill the value of in-person meetings. If anything, in-person events will be more meaningful.

Two attendees smiling at IMEX Frankfurt

We’re living in a world of interconnected communities and the events industry is no exception. Build those communities, create trust, and learn how to keep them engaged. Find those technology partners and turn your event into an immersive digital world.

This is a sponsored blog post from Swapcard.

The event industry is changing. Swapcard is the only end-to-end event and community platform for virtual and hybrid events. Powered by artificial intelligence.

Join the discussion on event trends at IMEX

About the author

Charley Murfitt is IMEX's Content Producer. She is a proud advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and the circular economy.

Charley Murfitt

Content Producer