I have a confession. If you saw the number of online event communities that I’m currently an active member of, you might be a bit … overwhelmed. But hey, that’s the beauty of today’s modern world. The internet connects people without bounds, giving us access to a whole playground of knowledge, only a click away.
With so many options readily available online—both free and paid—it can be difficult for event professionals to see the real value behind joining and contributing to one of these groups. So that’s where I come in. As I’ve recently taken on the challenge of spearheading Swoogo’s organic online community, I‘ve devoted countless hours to extensive research on this topic. Here are my findings.
Why these groups?
In order to create a list that wasn’t subjective, but based on data, I looked at several factors for each group including:
The number of members
Moderated & spam-free
Something very important to note here—the number of active group members does not define the quality of a community. The quality of a community depends on the amount of valuable content being shared, the engagement of group members, and the overall general helpfulness. But it is a metric, and I noted it.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why so many event organizers are flocking to these online event communities.
Humans need to connect with other humans. It’s just the way we’re programmed. And since the pandemic, the need for online networking has grown increasingly important, especially in industries that have historically relied heavily on face-to-face interaction. Cue online event communities. These groups offer event professionals a great place to connect with other industry pros and expand their network online. (Which, in the meantime, is a suitable substitute for conference happy hours.)
A forum for industry advice
Have a question on how to negotiate vendor prices, or need advice on venue selections? Well, you’ve come to the right place. These online event communities are filled with thousands of knowledgeable industry pros that, for the most part, are quick to answer any questions you might have. Whether you’re looking for ideas, support, reassurance, or all of the above, these groups are a great place for event profs to call home.
Simply to stay in the know
Online event communities are essentially an evergreen resource for event professionals to use to gain inspiration, stay on top of industry trends, and simply stay in touch with what’s going on in the event world. Think of these communities as your very own news outlet for all things event related.
Ready to pick the right online event communities, tailor-made just for you? Let’s dive in.
Event Planning and Event Management (403,355+ members)
Event Planning and Event Management is currently the largest online event community for event professionals on LinkedIn. Here, event profs can network with fellow industry pros, get advice on meeting and event planning, connect with suppliers, share industry best practices, and stay ahead of trends.
Event Pros (166,832+ members)
Event Pros is the second largest online event community for event profs on LinkedIn. Discussions in this group cover best practices of the event management landscape, including a selection of the best event news, tips, and technology in the industry. They also periodically conduct event-related surveys and polls and feature the latest updates, trends, and innovations within the industry.
BizBash—Event Pros Gather (76,065+ members)
Similar to their online publications, BizBash’s LinkedIn group provides a constant flow of ideas, news, and resources for event and meeting professionals. Event profs of any caliber can look to this group for venue and supplier discovery, the latest event strategies and industry best practices, the newest event technology and tools for their next event, and much more.
Unconventional Events (1,500+ members)
Unconventional Events is a new Swoogo-owned LinkedIn community for event profs focused on bringing people together through events. Whether you’re a newbie in the industry looking to network and learn, or a seasoned event prof looking to stay in the know—this is a safe space for event profs to ask for advice, share knowledge, connect with fellow industry pros, and above all else, have a group to call home.
The Delegate Wranglers (21,500+ members)
The Delegate Wranglers is the largest and most engaged of the online event communities on Facebook, offering both free and paid membership plans. The group is widely known and respected in the industry, offering event profs the opportunity to connect, gain business, seek opportunities, find jobs, meet up for networking events, and ultimately, develop and increase their business network.
Event Professionals Marketplace (20,500+ members)
The Event Professionals Marketplace is a free Facebook forum for creatives (at every level) in events to showcase their talents, educate, and inspire industry peers. This group functions as a space for event profs to network and communicate, via posts, with other fellow industry pros, and is regularly monitored by its admins to ensure real, helpful content is being shared by its members.
#EventProfs Community (Private online group)
The #EventProfs Community is a private, online group created exclusively for people who plan events to exchange ideas, ask for help, and connect with other event profs online. To join this group, you must complete their online application and be accepted by the community admins. Similar to The Delegate Wranglers, this group comes with a price tag, meaning less spam for its users and more helpful content.
Event Smart (Slack group)
Event Smart is a real-time community Slack group designed for event professionals to showcase their work, network with other group members, receive feedback, and much more. If you’re an event prof who’s frequently communicating via Slack, and prefers the spontaneity of live conversation, then this group might be the right fit for you.
MeCo (Email group)
MeCo, otherwise known as Meetings Community is a unique online forum for event professionals that utilizes email as their main hub for communication. Once accepted into the group, members can exchange messages via email, and join in on conversations in relevant threads. The community moderators also send out daily updates and conversation starters to encourage thought-provoking discussions between members.
Join a moderated group
As you will quickly realize, some groups are unmoderated and littered with spam and self-promotion, while others (mainly those that are closely moderated) are more organically fed, and generally more helpful.
Avoid the rabbit hole
Implement a schedule that works for you, for contributing to and monitoring your online event communities. For example, checking group conversations once a day, either in the morning or at the end of your working day.
Posting vs. chat
This ultimately depends on the individual and their learning style. If you prefer live conversation and instant replies, chat might be a good fit for you. But if you don’t mind waiting for answers to your questions, and enjoy having more time to write out thoughtful responses, then posting is also a great format.
Be sure YOU are a considerate online event communities member
This one’s easy. Remember what Gran always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.