by Frank Kenny
Your chamber or association is probably holding in-person events again, or soon will be. These events will most likely be very well-attended, as people are eager to return to normalcy. You might think that everything is back to the usual engagement-wise, but now is not the time to sit back and relax.
Yes, people will turn out in droves for your first few in-person events, at least to see old friends again and reconnect. However, many people have developed new habits during a year of social distancing, such as avoiding crowds and working from home. Getting these people back to your events regularly will be a challenge.
Even during normal times, 80% of your members did not attend events. This percentage is projected to be higher once the initial excitement of being back to in-person wears off.
So how can you engage members if not through face-to-face events?
- Continue to hold strictly virtual networking events, such as Zoom happy hours, where your members can socialize with each other.
- Offer virtual business training that includes the opportunity to network in small groups or one-on-ones—checkout Remo and Blitzr as options for this.
- Host hybrid events so that your online audience can still participate in your in-person events; do not just stream the event.
- Host Spaces on Twitter on a weekly basis for audio discussions on hot topics in your community. People can contribute or just listen. Clubhouse is also an option for audio discussions.
- Regularly create Facebook live videos with community and chamber updates. Consumption of content, whether video, text, or audio, is engagement.
The quick adoption of virtual networking and engagement in the last year was a gift. Just because your organization can do in-person events again does not mean you should immediately walk away from the virtual opportunities.