In the realm of what I call distributed social business, where your community members are geographically dispersed, I think one of the best ways to increase participation and engagement is through conferences. In most social business or deep collaboration environments, the real world is still where the rubber meets the road in terms of actually pushing forward towards the group’s common goal. So it makes a lot of sense to fully leverage a conference where most or all of your online community members will be. Doing so can deepen bonds among fellow members, enhance the overall sense of community, and build solidarity around the community’s common goals and vision.
I just returned from a conference where nearly half of our online community key players were attending. The goals of the conference were similar to that of the online community’s, so it made a lot of sense to tie the community website to as many pieces of the live conference as possible. I’ll dig into 9 ways we leveraged the conference to foster higher levels of participation and engagement with our community website. (more…)