6 tips for building a loyal event community

Plan on running recurring events? Cultivating a loyal event community is key to selling out every time. If you’re just starting out, though, the idea of building up an enthusiastic following for your events from scratch is probably a bit daunting. 

Daunting – sure. Impossible? No way. It’s really all about creating meaningful connections with the people who care about your events, and making sure they know how much you appreciate them. 

Here, we break down some top tips for building an event community that’s loyal, enthusiastic, and always on the lookout for your Next Big Thing. Let’s get started. 

How to attract more attendees to your events through building a loyal community

Read on to find out how to build a loyal event community with these six tips:

  1. Start out with free events or release free early-bird tickets

  2. Ask people what they actually want

  3. Keep up regular communication with your attendees

  4. Create a unique and authentic brand

  5. Be responsive on social media

  6. Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes

Consider starting out with free events

Getting attendees to come to your event when you’ve yet to build up a name for yourself can feel like a real catch-22. You need a good reputation to get attendees to come to your event… but you need attendees to come to your event to build that reputation in the first place, right?

Well, not necessarily. Even though it might be tempting to sell tickets at a profitable price to your first ever event, offering free entry could end up paying off in the long-run. This is because it lowers the perceived ‘risk’ level for attendees – if they’re getting free entry, they’ve got nothing to lose by giving your event a go. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that there are lots of ways you can make money from your events without charging for tickets. You can offer premium experiences, for example, where attendees can choose to pay for additional extras if they want to. Or you can even get sponsors for your event, put ads on your event website, and sell merchandise.

Although you might only break even, running a few free events in the early stages of setting up your business is a great way to start building that all-important following. If running fully free events isn’t feasible for you, try releasing a few free early bird tickets instead. Doing so can help create a buzzy atmosphere around your event, which could in turn boost ticket sales.

Ask people what they actually want

‘Market research’ can sound scary, but it doesn't have to be. You don’t need to run huge surveys and invest in expensive marketing tools to get an idea of what resonates with your audience. A quick poll on social media, for example, can give you a really good insight into what people actually want from an event like yours. As a starter for ten, try asking if they’d like to see a specific performer, or would prefer a certain location for your event. 

Asking potential attendees what matters to them is a great way to not only make your event more appealing, but to start fostering that sense of community too. By having a conversation with your attendees, you’re getting them to naturally engage with your brand. And you’re also sending a clear message that you want them to be actively involved with your event; to be a part of its community. 

Keep up regular communication 

Building a following for your event is all about starting up a long-lasting relationship with your attendees. That means making sure you’re putting yourself at the forefront of their minds on a regular basis, so they don’t forget all about you! As well as creating feel-good moments every time they engage with you. 

Sending regular emails with updates, news, and even fun, inspirational content can be a great way to do this. We've all seen big music festivals gradually release their line-up. And there's a reason for it. It builds excitement and anticipation – as well as an engaged audience that's hooked on every announcement.

Check out our article on how to write email subject lines for a higher open rate to get started.

(Don’t have a CRM system? No problem. If you use Ticket Tailor, you might also find this page useful: How to send email announcements to your ticket buyers.)

Using social media to engage your audience is also a great move. According to Sprout Social, there are over 3.96 billion social media users around the world. And the amount of time we're spending on social media is also increasing – at 95 minutes a day! So, naturally, it's a great place to start if you want to get more event attendees.

Wondering what to post on social media? A recent HubSpot report tells us, “short-form video is the most popular and effective social media format and will see significant growth in 2022”. The same report also reveals that posting content that’s funny, relatable, and which reflects your brand values is the best way to appeal to a millennial audience, while baby boomers prefer more educational content like interviews and podcasts. 

We have an article on how to engage attendees on social media before an event, which might be useful!

Create a unique and authentic event brand

Building a brand that your audience can relate to (and remember) is a key part of cultivating a loyal event community. This is all about creating a personality for your brand, so that attendees can genuinely connect with it. 

And don’t worry – you don’t need to be a branding expert to get successful results here. Consistency is the most important factor. You might create a recognisable aesthetic, for example, by using a certain typeface, selective colour palette or sticking to a specific type of imagery. Or you might choose to adopt a unique tone of voice that you use every time you engage with your audience. Even doing something as simple as regularly sharing a certain type of meme can help build a personality around your brand. The same goes for sharing other types of social media content, like videos, music, and art. 

Be responsive on social media 

If you see that people are engaging with your social media posts, you’ve got a golden opportunity to bring them into the fold of your event community. By responding to comments, likes, and shares, you’re making sure your followers feel heard. Ignoring them, on the other hand, can give the impression that the relationship is one-sided.

Of course, you might not be able to respond to every comment, but keeping an eye on things and replying as regularly as possible will go a long way towards generating a feeling of community around your brand.

If you’re getting a lot of traction on social media, it might be worth considering employing someone to manage things. And remember to keep your responses varied and personal – there's nothing worse than your audience thinking you're a bot!

Top tip: Try responding to some social media comments with a question directed back at the person who left the comment. This is a great way to open up a conversation and amp up that community vibe. 

Put yourself in your attendees’ shoes 

It’s important not to underestimate how much the smaller details of your event can make or break an attendee’s experience. Case in point: ever go to a festival with amazing artists but come away feeling totally underwhelmed because bar queues were an hour long and don’t-even-get-me-started-on-the-portaloos? You get the picture.

With this in mind, it’s a worthwhile exercise to put yourself in your attendees shoes when it comes to cultivating a happy, loyal event community. Think about the things that would irritate you about attending certain events, and strive to tackle these issues head-on when it comes to planning your own. It’s all about going the extra mile to make sure your attendees come away from your events feeling it was a really worthwhile experience. 

Cultivating a following for your event isn’t that complicated after all. It won’t necessarily happen overnight, but as long as you make the effort to engage with your attendees and listen to what they have to say, you’re in with a good chance of building the dedicated community your event deserves. Good luck!