How to grow your community using events

Caitlin Vandewalle
Head of Marketing
event hosting

Marketing is more than posting Instagram or writing Facebook posts. To differentiate yourself from other workspaces, you need to show your audience that you’re really a vibrant community. Your initial marketing and promotional activities will most likely provide you with a skeleton community but will not be enough to ensure high occupancy rates. Have you ever tried hosting an event to raise your community occupancy?

Further effort is needed so that you can accomplish the three most important things

  1. Keep filling desks and offices as they become free
  2. Make sure you’re picking the right people to fill the free slots
  3. Facilitate strong community ties between current members

This looks like a lot of work, right? 

It is but, lucky for us all, there’s a way to get all of this done at once, and that’s by frequently organizing different types of events in your space! 

Start improving your workspace with event marketing

Events are the best way to bring flexible workspace members together and to create a sense of shared purpose between them. You’ll want to vary the types of events that you do so that there’s something for everyone. To increase attendance, let your members suggest and pick occasional event themes – a simple suggestion box will work for this – and then you can all vote and pick an event that gets the most votes. 

Events also allow you and other space managers and employees to socialize with current members and get to know them and their businesses better. Armed with this information, you can help people connect and collaborate, further tightening those community bonds. 

Here are some ideas you can try out but don’t limit yourself to them – there’s plenty you can do when it comes to events that will fit with the specificities of your space and your members. 

Member Events 

  • Business angel guest speakers – break right out of the box by connecting your members to business angels, venture capitalists, and other investors. While it’s sometimes very difficult to book a gig like this, it’s well worth the effort because an event that can bring financing to members is likely to be packed. Collaborate with the guest speaker on the topic that will interest your membership, and don’t forget to leave some time in the end for networking. 
  • Monthly game nights – it’s time to break out those board games! This event type lends itself perfectly to member suggestions – they can vote on the game they want to play, and you can even open it up for their family and friends. 
  • Leadership workshops – help your members learn how to lead agile teams by hosting leadership workshops. You get bonus points if you don’t have to hire a speaker/coach – if anyone from your team (or membership pool) has the necessary skills, try to get them to own this project.

Prospect Events 

  • Shadowing – invite prospects to shadow current members to learn about the benefits of doing business from a Flexible Workspace space. Also, have an application process in place that will allow your members to invite someone from their own circle of associates. 
  • Co-hosting with other flexible workspace facilities – don’t think of other flexible workspaces as competitors – think of them as resources that help you spread the word and educate about the shared workspace movement. Connect with other space owners and managers to plan co-hosted events and to visit each other’s premises – this will allow your members to meet potential new collaborators. 
  • Free pass days – once every quarter, open your space up to non-members so that they can experience the benefits of working inside a tight-knit diverse community. Encourage your current members to mingle but warn one-off visitors to be respectful of others and their work processes. Depending on the size of your space, you might want to do this on a slow day and open up your shared areas (such as lounges and conference rooms when they are not in use) to the newcomers.

Community Events

  • Gift (or blood) drives – ask your members to donate items such as toys or clothing to a local charity. You can even check how much traction a blood donation event would get. Both local charities and blood banks are usually willing to travel to your location. 
  • Community environmental cleanups – once every two months, pick a nature spot close by and organize a thorough cleanup. Your members will appreciate the opportunity to mingle outside on a nice day, and to do something good for the community and the environment.
  • Entrepreneur talks – ask around to see if any of your current entrepreneur members would be willing to share their stories with the community. Advertise the event and invite locals to learn more about the benefits (and the challenges) of entrepreneurship and shared offices.

Want to learn more on how to grow, measure and analyze your flexible workspace? We wrote an eBook ‘How hot is your flexible workspace’, that helps you raise your workspace to the next level.

Download it today and start improving.

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