Covid-19 has created a dramatic shift in everyone’s lives. People across the world are under orders to physically distance, and even as these orders are lifted, many are remaining cautious about meeting in groups. Certainty has become a scarce resource, a commodity. In the world of in-person community management, the future is uncertain, and this is a great time to prepare for whatever comes your way.
Through the shift to physical distancing, virtual events, and doing everything online, more people are beginning to see and understand the importance of building community. David Brooks talks about Covid-19’s impact on Community, saying “Twice as many Americans think we are more united than we were before. There has been a new sense of coming together.” With the sudden halt in travel and no commutes to the office, people’s lives are more contained to their local communities. What does this mean for you, as a community leader? It’s time to step up and lead the movement.
In the past few months, thousands of communities have made the challenging transition from in-person events to online and virtual gatherings. There is hope that we will go back to the way things were. However, some say we may never get there. Shortly, people all over the world will be able to gather in-person once again, but there is a strong possibility of a second wave that will send us back online not too long after. This uncertainty is why community builders need to be able to adapt to what the future has in store.
The demand for virtual events has increased dramatically since before the pandemic, as shown in the graphic above. Video-conferencing application Zoom has grown from ten million to three hundred million users since December. People around the world are craving connection and are actively looking for virtual events to connect them with others in their communities. On the business side, this need for connection is an opportunity for growth and innovation. Fostering meaningful relationships online ensures success for in-person events in the future.
Times of uncertainty call for resilience. C2C Marketing and Community events remain one of the best strategies for engaging with your customers and community members during times like this. Embracing virtual socializing is an opportunity to grow your community beyond the spatial boundaries that previously existed. It’s also a way to prepare you for a successful transition back to in-person events.
In the meantime, virtual events can help your customers create new relationships with each other. When in-person meetups are integrated back into your schedule, these connections can blossom. This is not a temporary situation; this is a true industry shift. The ability to transition between in-person and virtual events is the key to maintaining and scaling a community. Thriving during this time doesn’t have to be difficult, it just takes resilience.
Some companies have done a fantastic job pivoting from in-person to online over the past few months. For example, check out the many virtual events being hosted by CMX Connect Chapters around the world!
Attendees can still make meaningful connections virtually. Encourage your community members to turn on their cameras during events to create a sense of community. Start with something engaging that energizes the crowd! Ice breakers are a great and simple way to warm up. Check out this creative list of icebreakers to kick off any Zoom meet-up.
Make a concrete plan for what your first in-person event will look like, and share this with your community. They will be more than thrilled to have an event to look forward to! Sending out the invitation will let your community members know that you are thinking of them and can’t wait to get them.