A Beginner's Guide for Building an In-Person Community

A Beginner's Guide for Building an In-Person Community

You've heard the news: Community is becoming increasingly important in business. There are multiple reasons to have an in-person community, and depending on what the purpose of your community is, will determine how it functions, and how you can make it grow. Whether your community is for sales acquisition, an extension of your customer success team, or as a space for continued learning, you will find that your community will become integral to your company's success. But how does one build and scale an in person community? With a decade of experience, and numerous clients with strong and engaged in person community, Bevy is the thought leader in this space. Here is Bevy's Beginner Guide for Building an In Person Community.

Begin

Actually Host an Event
There's no better way to learn how to do something than to just do it. It's important for the HQ team to host an event in order to know exactly what goes into it - the challenges, the excitement, the axieties, the wins, etc. You need to be the expert on the matter, someone your group leaders can look up to, so you will need to have some experience under your belt.

The Playbook
Start a simple document that outlines every step you take pre-event, during, and post-event. Like the “Bevy Community Event Playbook.” Keep track of every email you send, the dates you send them on, the to do list you build, and best practices you learn along the way. Really, all you need in order to publish an event is three things: Content, Venue, Date. Once you have those, you can publish!

Download Bevy's Ultimate Event Check List to get started!

Build

Listen
It's important when hosting in person events for community, to listen to what the community wants. Was the content relevant, did people enjoy having a speaker, did they wish there was food, did they hate the venue - this is all valuble feedback you can receive from attendees. After your first event, reach out with an anonymous survey, a feedback form, or a quick call to chat about what they liked, didn't like, and what they hope to see next time.

and Learn
The more events you host, and the more feedback you receive (and actually listen to), the more you will establish the groundwork for an in person community. You are building an incredible playbook full of best practices, tips and tricks, and everything someone needs to host an event for your brand.

Scale

Recruit
A lot of in person communities are run almost entirely on the undeniable and incredible force of volunteers (with perks of course!). These people are the diesel in your engine, the wind beneath your wings, and without them your in person community would be impossible. It's important to choose the right people for this gig, and sometimes that means turning volunteers away. For more tips about finding the right people, read Local Brand Ambassadors: Attributes for Success.

The Application Process
The application process has to be a perfect balance. It must be difficult enough to filter out people who aren't serious, but easy enough that it won't deter people. It has to be thorough enough to truly learn who the candidate is and what their motivations are, while still being quick and efficient in order to better scale. Two important pieces to consider when designing the application process for your in person community leaders:

  1. A written component is easy to have applicants answer questions like "why do you want to be a group leader?" and "what experience do you have in community building?". Don't ask for an essay, but do ask for more than a few sentences. Keep in mind, if your community is international, english might be a second language for some of your candidates, so grammar and spelling shouldn't seal the deal.
  2. See them. Have them make a video of themselves answering specific and relevant questions. Ensure they stay within the guidelines (if asked for 2 minutes, do not accept 10 minutes). Schedule a call with them too, video if possible, and have a real time conversation.

Recognition
Ok, now you have a handful of ambassadors, eager to host events for your brand, and excited to get going. From the very beginning, it's important for the ambassadors to know what the expectations are. Then, when they reach those expectations or exceed them, it's time to recognize them. Private kudos are important of course, to personally commend your ambassadors for the good work they are doing, but public recognition can go a long way too. Recognizing and celebrating your super ambassadors, who are blowing your expectations out of the water, and sharing the news with your community, will give that ambassador the pride to continue, and perhaps inspire other ambassadors to up their game so they can be recognized too.

What to read next

Customer to customer (C2C) is the foundation upon which the community industry is built. More and more companies are realizing the importance of nurturing brand communities both online and IRL. Bevy is the thought leader in the in person community space. The best companies in the world are pioneering these programs, find out why.

About Author

Beth McIntyre

Community & Events Marketing Manager at Bevy! Passionate about building our community and connecting with members. When I'm not writing for the Bevy Blog, I'm writing about my global travels!

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